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Involuntary Medication and Involuntary Hospitalization

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Is It Ok?

All individuals have a right to consent to medication and or hospitalization unless they become unable to make that decision for themselves due to grave disability including an inability to make decisions on one’s own behalf. In some situations, a person with bipolar disorder might have a manic episode that is so extreme that the person experience vivid hallucinations, or is living in a delusional world that is so separate from reality that he does not where he or she is, or what he or she is doing. There are also situations where an individual’s life is in danger due to severe an extreme depression, and has not eaten for days or is expressing other life threatening behaviors such as being suicidal. Sometimes, when a person is expressing symptoms this extreme they may even refuse to be treated, and refuse to take medication.

When a person is in the middle of experiencing a full blown psychosis and is living in a delusional world, the individual probably truly believes that he/she does not need the medication and will adamantly refuse the medication. This makes sense to clinician’s, and often makes sense to the person who, after receiving the medication becomes “clear”. If your love one needs to be involuntarily medicated or hospitalized, do not lament. The good news is that often, people recovery from their episodes and is then able to work with their psychiatrists to explore the best medication combination for them, and go on to live quality and meaningful lives.

If you have a loved one that is experiencing this process, read my last three posts. This will help you, as a support person and caregiver to help your loved one who may be frightened by this process. And to help ease your own worries about the process, read the information in these websites below so that you are well informed.

Although as a clinician, I do not directly support organizations with a “cause “and I personally do not get involved in politics, I found the cited research on this issue by Mental Illness to be very interesting. Leaving out the debate of whether or not there is a violation of constitutional rights when a person is involuntarily medicated or hospitalized, it is my own experience that individuals who receive involuntary treatment are in agreement with the process and procedure afterward. Indeed, being “gravely disabled” need not be a permanent condition with the correct interventions. You might want to see this for yourself as it is food for thought and thought provoking:

Here at The Treatment Advocacy Center: Eliminating Barriers to the Treatment of Mental Illness you will find more intriguing studies. This site offers you a PDF of Backgrounder that you can print out. This includes their information with citations.

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Involuntary Medication and Involuntary Hospitalization

Dr. Barbara Bachmeier

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APA Reference
Bachmeier, D. (2015). Involuntary Medication and Involuntary Hospitalization. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 12 Jul 2015
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