Constraints, Ethical Dilemmas and Precautions in Psychiatric Practice within Non-Contemporaneous Mental Health Laws: A Nigerian Experience with Involuntary Commitment

Nosa Igbinomwanhia, Oluyemi Akanni


Mental health laws play a major role in protecting the rights and privileges of mentally ill persons by providing a legal framework for their care, particularly in regards to involuntary commitment. Unfortunately, in many countries including Nigeria these laws are obsolete and therefore fail to meet current international best practices. Their inadequacy frequently leads to infringements on the rights of the mentally ill in the course of their treatment. Attempts at formulating new laws have been slow and psychiatrists have no option than to face constraints and ethical dilemmas posed by these obsolete laws in the care of the mentally ill in these countries. This paper highlights the unfortunate case of an individual treated against his wish without recourse to existing legal framework and his attempt to seek legal redress for perceived injustice. Difficulties frequently experienced by patients and psychiatrists alike are highlighted.The paper concludes by making suggestions on probable ways of offering appropriate and acceptable care to the mentally ill within extant mental health laws without necessarily breaching the rights of the mentally ill. There is a call for a speedy passage of an updated mental health law in Nigeria.

Keywords: Constraints Precautions Psychiatric Practice Nigeria

DOI: 10.7176/JLPG/87-03

Publication date:July 31st 2019

Full Text: PDF
Download the IISTE publication guideline!

To list your conference here. Please contact the administrator of this platform.

Paper submission email:

ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

Please add our address "" into your email contact list.

This journal follows ISO 9001 management standard and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Copyright ©