Should Medication be forced?

Subject: Law
Type: Argumentative Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 619
Topics: Human Rights, Health, Medical Ethics, Medicine

Mentally ill patients may lack the capacity to make decisions on their medication. The medical staff and their families are expected to grant the patients autonomy but should also ensure the patient’s well-being. Consequently, it is very controversial whether to force patients to take their medication. In my opinion, I believe that the condition the patient is in will determine if the patient should be forced to take medication. Therefore, this paper will discuss the reasons why I believe medicine should be forced depending on the patient’s situation.  

A patient should be forced to take medication if the behavior resulting from their condition endangers them and those around them. For instance, certain medical conditions may cause the patient to want to commit suicide. Such a patient has to be forced to take medication to protect them from harming themselves. Besides, patients who experience delusions may want to harm other people without intending to (Williams, 2015). In such situations, I think it is necessary to force patients to take their medications, as they do not recognize the impact it will have on them. However, in my opinion, patients with conditions that do not pose a threat should be given the freedom to decide for themselves on whether to take medication or not. 

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Patients can be forced to take medication if the doctors, counselors, the family, and law enforcement all find it is necessary for the patient to take medication. For all these authorities to come to an agreement that medicine is essential, then it means it has to be done in accordance to the medical requirement. Besides, if the patient cannot make their own decisions, then the above authorities have the right to force the patient to take medication (Wasser, & Trueblood, 2015). It is illegal for a patient to kill themselves or others. Doctors, counselors, and the family members have the responsibility of ensuring the patient does not harm himself or herself, especially those that are mentally challenged; hence, in my opinion, patients should be forced to take their medication.  

However, it is crucial for the patients to be informed the reasons why they are being forced to take medication. Involving them in the decision increases their willingness to cooperate with the treatment. In my view, treating the patients as if criminals or animals will make them feel vulnerable and unwanted, this will aggravate the condition (Radden, 2013). Patients who are forced may end up leaving their homes to live on the streets because they feel they have freedom there. Behavioral theories emphasize on the importance of reinforcement. According to the behavioral theories, once you force the patients to take medications and you show appreciation for their cooperation, there is a high chance they will cooperate in future. Therefore, it is essential to consider all the possible outcomes before forcing the patients to take medication.

In conclusion, I believe that patients should be forced to take medication depending on the severity of their condition. A patient who poses a danger to themselves and those around them should be forced to take medication. In addition, authorities in charge of the patient can decide for the patient to take medication. However, in the act of forcing them to take medication, they should be treated with respect and not like animals. 

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  1. Radden, J. (2013). Forced medication, patients’ rights, and values conflicts. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law10(1), 1-11.
  2. Wasser, T., & Trueblood, K. (2015). Forced Medication to Restore Competency. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online43(1), 112-114.
  3. Williams, J. B. (2015). Adjusting treatment for an inmate-patient receiving medication involuntarily. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online43(2), 223-229.
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