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Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2011;32(5):274-8. doi: 10.3109/01612840.2011.552749.

Reflecting on forced medication.

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The University of Akron, College of Nursing, Akron, Ohio 44325-3701, USA.


There are multiple concerns regarding the practice of forced medication of clients with mental illness. Clients often report that side effects outweigh the benefits of psychotropic medication, while mental health clinicians often think the client may become dangerous without medication. Who should have the right to decide whether a client takes medication? Nursing plays an integral role in the decision making by considering alternative therapies and current research, addressing the diversity among our clients, and ensuring comprehensive assessments. This article presents circumstances that may lead to forced medication and explores beliefs of clients, mental health clinicians, and mental health advocacy groups.Building upon Johns' (2008) model for structured reflections of clinical experiences, this article reflects upon the experience of forced medication in psychiatric nursing practice. First, the process and consequences of forced medication are explored. Next, the factors influencing the thoughts and responses of psychiatric clinicians, clients, and advocacy groups is discussed. Finally, possible alternative actions are presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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