BACKGROUND : Implementation of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The idea of human rights developed during the era of the Enlightenment. This idea has been publicly discussed since the French Revolution of 1789 and its specification has been demanded politically. Important steps in this process were the General Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN in 1948 and the CRPD from 2006, which was especially relevant for psychiatric actions. Meanwhile, the idea of human rights has influenced the legislation in many countries and has thus become normatively binding, e. g. in the Basic Law of Germany, in the regulations for patient care and in the professional rules for physicians. UNASSIGNED : To sensitize for reflection on one's own actions and to gain a critical distance from the general overall opinion. Then not only the global validity of the CRPD is frequently violated, as in crisis regions but also in the everyday routine when, for example, the workload prevents psychiatric personnel from taking time for essential conversations with psychiatric patients in order to support their self-determination. METHODS : These aspects are illustrated and explained with the aid of multifarious examples from the relevant literature and from own experience. CONCLUSIONS : Human rights are a regulative idea that provide a framework and direction for psychiatric actions; however, as an idea they compete with other ideas that try to control the trends of the day (the Zeitgeist) that determine daily practice. Not only the suppression of human rights from public consciousness, e. g. with the eugenics in the first third of the previous century but also their absolutization and poor implementation, as in the Italian psychiatry reform of 1978, damage psychiatric patients. Therefore, it appears necessary to sensitize psychiatrists to reflect on the Zeitgeist and its influence on their own actions and to recognize that their own opinions and actions can also influence the Zeitgeist.