What Is Psychiatric Abuse?

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  • Written By: Erik J.J. Goserud
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2019
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Psychiatric abuse refers to the physical or mental abuse that a psychiatrist or other related professional engages in toward a patient seeking treatment. This form of abuse can come in many forms, even resulting from a treatment plan itself. Psychiatric abuse is sometimes overlooked for many reasons. This very serious problem can dramatically affect those involved.

People may seek psychological help for numerous reasons. Sometimes, it can be something minor, and sometimes, more severe problems require the attention of mental experts. There are instances when a person may voluntarily seek the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist. Other times, someone may be recommended to seek care or even forced by a court or higher authority in some cases.

Regardless of the reason for therapy or method for treatment, one constant is that all people expect their psychological professional to provide effective and ethical care. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and psychiatric abuse is the result. Psychiatric abuse may happen in many ways and for many reasons, although it is somewhat baffling that professionals in a field geared to help people would abuse their power to cause suffering and trauma.


Psychiatrists have a lot of power. They differ from psychologists in that they reserve the ability to prescribe medications. This gives them the legal power to diagnose and treat through pharmaceutical measures in addition to other more conventional psychological treatments. This power, when harnessed properly, can be helpful to treat many sick individuals. All power comes with responsibility, and somehow for reasons not always understood, psychiatrists or supporting staff members choose to act in a manner that harms people.

Abuse, by definition, is the mistreatment of people, ranging from mild to severe. There have been reported cases of psychiatric abuse such as mental torture, purposeful prescription of wrong or experimental medications, and even sexual mistreatment. These can all severely damage an already vulnerable person. It is easy to see how there should be little tolerance for the psychological abuse of mentally compromised people by the individuals promising to help them.

Becoming a victim of psychological abuse can harm a person in many ways and cause him or her to lose trust in treatment of any kind. Thankfully, there are organizations and help lines set up to aid in the report, investigation, and treatment of individuals unfortunate enough to have to deal with psychiatric abuse. Anyone in this position should seek immediate help to ease the recovery process.


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Post 2

Yes, please list the organizations. Other than CCHR and the Civil Liberties Union, I know of none. The problem is that involuntary "treatment" (chemical torture) is legal and SOP, and is also intrinsically and inherently abusive. The mental health system has no avenue for those who have been traumatized, except perhaps more involuntary medication.

Post 1

Please list the organizations and help lines set up to aid in the report, investigation, and treatment of individuals unfortunate enough to have to deal with psychiatric abuse as you write about above.

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