Ethics of Diagnosis and Classification in Psychiatry

  • Juan José López-Ibor
  • Maria-Inès López-Ibor
  • Hanfried Helmchen
Part of the International Library of Ethics, Law, and the New Medicine book series (LIME, volume 45)


The ethical obligation of the psychiatrist includes acting in the best interest of the patient, doing no harm, and observing justice, i.e. acting with regard to the limited resources of the community. The psychiatrist can perform this best if he is sensitive on the one hand to the consequences of his determination that an illness value is a disorder, i.e. if he considers not only the medical but also the psychic and social consequences of his diagnosis, and, on the other hand, if he has the diagnostic competence not only to apply the standardised diagnostic algorithms for assessing the illness of the patient but also for the patient’s personal experience of ill being. Furthermore, the moral valuation of our language (and of our scientific instruments expressed in language) should be recognized and its influence should be reflected in the diagnostic assessment of a disorder; it should be considered particularly in assessing the individuality of the patient as a sick person and should be used in dealing with him and optimizing his treatment.


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Psychiatric Diagnosis Moral Evaluation Moral Valuation Psychiatric Classification 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Diasgnosis Related Groups


Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (of Mental Disorders), 4th Revision (American Psychiatric Association)


International Classification of Diseases (World Health Organisation)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan José López-Ibor
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maria-Inès López-Ibor
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hanfried Helmchen
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Psychiatry and Mental Health, San Carlos Hospital, Complutense UniversityMadridSpain
  2. 2.CIBERSAM (Spanish Network for Research on Mental Health)Complutense UniversityMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Medical PsychologyComplutense UniversityMadridSpain
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, CBFCharitè – University Medicine BerlinBerlinGermany

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