Psychiatrists diagnose mental illness in patients against a climate of opinion in which the value of diagnosis is questioned and non-medical formulations of the problems of psychiatric patients are put forward. Nevertheless the classic diagnostic terminology shows no sign of disappearing. The patients may find that a psychiatric diagnostic label is a stigma and has bad consequences. They may also object to standard methods of treatment. Given this situation the right of the patient to a full explanation of the diagnosis and the rationale of the treatment offered seems to be incontrovertible. If this information were given to patients it would, in addition, help them to make sense out of their often puzzling experiences and indicate that fellow sufferers existed.
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