Benjamin Tolchin, Dorothy W. Tolchin & Michael Ashley Stein, How Should Clinicians Minimize Harms and Maximize Benefits When Diagnosing and Treating Disorders Without Biomarkers?, 23 AMA J. Ethics E530 (2021).
Abstract: Ethical obligations to minimize harms and maximize benefits of diagnosis and treatment of disorders without biomarkers include navigating difficult-to-measure, perhaps clinically inexplicable, symptoms. Among potential harms are public stigma, self-stigma, label avoidance, and the negative influence these stigmas have on self-esteem, quality of life, employment, and housing. Among potential benefits are patients becoming active agents in managing their illnesses, social acceptance, and access to evidence-based treatments. Ethical complexities clinicians face when trying to develop treatment plans while heeding key details from patients’ narrative accounts prompt questions about how to best adhere to evidence in understudied domains of medicine.