Friday, May 05, 2006

The case for outpatient commitment

In this week’s Psychiatric News, the thoughts of two distinguished physicians on outpatient commitment.

One may sympathize with the sensitivity of individuals with mental illness regarding AOT. But substance abuse disorder "recovereds," as part of their recovery process, have always recognized the usefulness of external coercion when necessary in the acute phase of their disorders. This acceptance that they are powerless and need help to recover often provides the "bottom" that counters denial and begins the recovery process. Andrew Goldstein had his freedom from involuntary care, but not freedom from his illness. If this had been reversed Goldstein would not have caused the death of Kendra Webdale.