In general medicine, the standard for informed consent includes communicating the nature of the diagnoses, the purpose of a proposed treatment or procedure, the risks and benefits of the proposed treatment, and informing the patient of alternative treatments so he or she can make an informed, educated choice.
Psychiatrists often do not offer patients non-drug treatments, nor do they conduct thorough medical examinations to ensure that a person’s problem does not stem from an untreated medical condition. At times, they might fail to inform patients of the nature of the diagnoses, which would require informing the patient that psychiatric diagnoses based on behaviors with little scientific or medical validity (no X-rays, brain scans, chemical imbalance tests to prove anyone has a mental disorder).
All patients should have what is called a “differential diagnosis.” The doctor obtains a thorough history and conducts a complete physical exam, rules out all possible problems that might cause a set of symptoms, and explains any possible side effects of the recommended treatments.
There are numerous alternatives to psychiatric diagnoses and treatment, including standard medical care that does not require a psychiatric label or drug. Governments should endorse and fund non-drug treatments as alternatives to potentially ineffective and dangerous drugs. Limiting drug treatment can lead to the reduction of drug addiction.