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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Political abuse of psychiatry refers to the misuse of psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, and detention for the purposes of obstructing the fundamental human rights of certain individuals and groups in a given society. The practice is common to but not exclusive to countries governed by totalitarian regimes. In this chapter the question is raised as to why, in spite of the fact that in most countries medical practice takes place according to internationally accepted guidelines, there is at the same time continued evidence of cases of incarcerating dissidents in mental institutions and of social activists and/or practitioners of various religions who are subjected to psychiatric treatment. In addition, the authors analyze why in particular in mental health the ethical borders have been corrupted and which measures can be put in place to combat these excesses.

Keywords: psychiatry, ethical borders, political abuse, totalitarian regimes, human rights

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