PHIL: Freedom of Choice and Mental Illness

David A Musick (
Wed, 25 Feb 1998 23:39:18 -0500

den Otter wrote:

"Freedom of choice does not apply to the mentally ill, IMO, just like it
doesn't apply to small children."

I have bipolar disorder (a medical disease of the brain, which can
drastically affect moods, induce cycles of mania, depression and
psychosis, and is very treatable with medication), and am technically
considered mentally ill. I still have freedom of choice, just like
everyone else. Although, when I'm psychotically manic (which doesn't
happen very often), my personality(ies) gets extremely warped, and the
result chooses to do things I would not and often wish I did not when I
return to "normal". I have no problem with the idea of someone
restraining me when I am psychotic and ignoring "my" desire to make my
own choices. But I do have a problem with the idea of others
constraining my choices when I am capable of choosing rationally (which
is most of the time), simply because I am labeled "mentally ill". Just
because one is "mentally ill" doesn't mean they should be treated like
children are. Sometimes they should be, but each case is different and
must be evaluated separately.

David Musick (

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