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First, this Article traces the extension of the right to refuse treatment to the psychiatric realm. Next, the Article addresses advance directives for health care and their utility for mental health issues. Then, the Article examines state statutory and judicial responses to mental health advance directives. Finally, the Article analyzes why the right to control future psychiatric treatment, including the right to refuse treatment, has been slow to gain acceptance. Although mental health advance directives present real challenges, legally and otherwise, this Article concludes that they are firmly rooted in the law and their rejection is, more often than not, based on illegitimate grounds.


Originally published by Kentucky Law Journal in 2000-2001.