THE EFFECTS OF INVOLUNTARY MEDICATION ON INDIVIDUALS WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA AND MANIC-DEPRESSIVE ILLNESS
SUMMARY: Patients with psychiatric disorders refuse medications for a variety of reasons, including experience with, or fear of, side effects. In other cases, the refusal is based on lack of awareness of illness or on delusional beliefs. Many such patients must ultimately be medicated involuntarily. Studies suggest that the long-term effects of involuntary medication on individuals with schizophrenia and manic-depressive illness (bipolar disorder) are more positive than is commonly thought. In most studies, the majority of patients retrospectively agreed that involuntary medication had been in their best interest. Anecdotal claims by opponents of involuntary medication that involuntary treatment has widespread, devastating, and lasting effects are not supported by these studies.