Working in general psychiatry requires us to live with tensions. We have to live with the tension between the paternalism of compulsory admissions and advocating the autonomy and rights of people with a mental illness. A further tension is exacerbated by two movements of recent years, evidence-based medicine and user involvement. These are broadly to be welcomed, but will ultimately bring psychiatry further into the conflict between the ‘modern’ and ‘post-modern’ views of the world.
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