Amici Curiae Brief in Support of Responsible Mental Health Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Amici Curiae Brief in Support of Responsible Mental Health Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Nearly eighty years ago, the first legitimate research into treatment of mental illness began, marking the emergence of a new era where an individual’s illnesses were identified not as an incurable, innate defect but instead identified as any other type of illness that could be overcome through treatment. Mental health research continues to play an important role in assisting the courts on important questions of law; however, a growing trend in potentially harmful treatments has emerged which raises many ethical questions for the field of mental health specifically regarding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Although real concerns regarding potentially harmful therapies (PHTs) for PTSD do exist, new therapeutic techniques such as exposure and cognitive therapy have been proven to be effective at helping victim’s recover of PTSD and go on to live healthy fulfilling lives. In the mental health field we have an ethical responsibility to only use therapies that have been shown to be effective. In the western world, it is a rite of passage for all physician’s to take the Hippocratic Oath which can be summed up with the phrase “Primum non Nocere” which means, “first, do no harm”. The purpose of such an oath is for doctors and psychiatrists to practice medicine honestly and ethically; however, with the emergence of physicians endorsing and using PHTs, physicians are straying from their code of ethics and putting the lives of thousands of people at risk. The use of PHTs has not spawned out of a desire to hurt clients but, instead, the lacks of discipline within the mental health field to allow treatments that have not been proven effective. This is exemplified through a lack of government oversight over treatment. In the medical field prescription medication must pass through a battery of tests before it can be cleared for the general public’s use;

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