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Posts Tagged ‘involuntary commitment’

From this report:

China could become the first country to classify internet addiction as a clinical disorder amid growing concern over compulsive Web use by millions of Chinese, state media said on Monday.

The health ministry is likely to adopt a new manual on Internet addiction next year drawn up by Chinese psychologists that recognises it as a condition similar to compulsive gambling or alcohol addiction, the China Dail reported.

Nothing wrong with mere classification. The trouble starts when that morphs into coercion. Citing mental illness is one of the favourite tools of governments worldwide to take away people’s rights. This law is just going to be one more way China can lock it’s citizens up.

Just so that my position is clear, I am not against psychiatry per se, nor do I think that mental illness is a myth. I think science can and should be used to cure people of their mental troubles; however any such step must be voluntary just as it is in the case of physical illness. As a moral principle, I am in all circumstances opposed to any form of forced treatment, involuntary commitment or involuntary conservatorship for any adult who retains the faculty to express his or her wishes and is not an imminent danger to other people.

(Hat Tip: Reason Hit and Run)

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I think this is a great idea.

If I hadn’t just escaped that dreadful accident, where would I be now? Would I rather be dead than depend on others to keep me alive?

A new card seeks to address that very question. Available in pubs, banks, libraries, GP surgeries, even some churches, the Advanced Decision to Refuse Treatment (ADRT) card sits snugly in a wallet or purse and instructs a doctor to withhold treatment should the carrier lose the capacity to make decisions, because of an accident or illness.

Dubbed the “right-to-die card”, it’s being seen by some as a short-cut to euthanasia.

But its backers say it is a practical way of implementing the Mental Capacity Act, which came into force in 2007.

The act allows adults to draw up “advance directives” stating what sort of treatment they don’t want should they lose capacity. They build on the principle of “living wills” but, crucially, mean that doctors are legally bound to abide by a patient’s wish to refuse life-sustaining treatment.

Personally, I’d love to see similar “Do not stop me from committing suicide” and “Do not put me under any form of involuntary commitment or conservatorship unless I am an imminent danger to others” cards/living wills come up. However, as a practical legal matter, you would probably want to also appoint a surrogate (usually a spouse or loved one) who would know your wishes and be trusted to act exactly as you’d want in such a circumstance.

(Link via Reason Hit and Run)

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Think twice before writing a violent story. Steven Barber, a student at the University of Virginia at Wise, was searched, involuntarily committed for three days, and finally expelled from the university, for … hold your breath … writing a story in which a character contemplates murder and suicide.

I don’t know which is more disturbing – the fact that the administration acted so viciously (and possibly unlawfully), or the fact that some people justify the administration’s action by pointing out parallels to the Virginia Tech massacre. Just a thought – if everyone who expresses disturbing thoughts or ideas is placed under a period of mandatory observation, our lives might be more secure, but would it be a life worth living? 

(Link via The Volokh Conspiracy)

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The local court adjucating on the Faisal Khan custody case passed its final judgement yesterday. The court held that Faisal need not be in anybody’s custody and can live anywhere he wants.

I have been following the Faisal case since the news broke- click here and here for my previous posts. This ruling is a cause of joy to me and all others who love individual freedom and believe that the state and the law have no business assuming a paternalistic role over our lives.

Related: Britney in Guantanamo.

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No, she has not gone on a cruise. Not yet, anyway. Her father is keeping a tight leash.

Mr. Eardley, an attorney who claims to represent Brit, says that her civil rights are being violated.

As he argues in the papers, Britney Spears is not being allowed to visit her friends, to use phones, or to hire an attorney of her own choosing. Michael Sands has compared this situation to the cases of suspected terrorists who were detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without benefit of counsel as facing similar civil rights violations.

To most, the idea of comparing Britney’s situation (kept an effective prisoner at home by her concerned parents) to those suffering at Guantanamo might seem a bit far-fetched. Yet at its heart, the fundamental issue is the same. The loss of all freedom and the deprivation of due process. There is nothing more humiliating, more painful. And may I add, more counter-productive.

There is no doubt Britney’s antics have been ridiculous. There is no doubt that her bizarre behavior has raised serious concerns about her mental well-being. There is no doubt that she has acted over the past several months in a manner that most of us agree is immature at best and self-destructive at worst.

Yet, Britney is well enough to perfectly understand the meaning of freedom, and consequently, to crave it. She might be a spoilt irrational girl, possibly even suffering from bipolar disorder, but by no means is she mentally incapacitated. She might be a bad driver, but she has not yet been ruled by her psychiatrist or the court to be a “danger to others”. She might be an irresponsible spendthrift, but hell, it is her money!

It is time we let others be. It is time we agree that there is no objective meaning to the phrase “best interests” beyond the individual’s wishes. It is time we realise that our concern at another adult behaving in a manner that seems self-destructive does not give us the right to take over her life without her present or (at the very least) prior consent.

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Aamir Khan’s brother wants freedom.

Freedom. It’s so hard to come by, isn’t it?

Also read my earlier post: The dad, the brother and schizophrenia

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Continuing on the topic of involuntary commitment, here is a good news story.

The decision ends by stating that the involuntarily hospitalization of a person is such a “massive curtailment of liberty,” it requires the state to meet a high burden of proof to hospitalize the person. The court found that the state did not meet that burden.

It seldom does. In this particular instance, the state actually appealed a lower court decision, so badly did it want to take away the liberty of a man who has not even committed a crime!

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