Laws governing involuntary psychiatric treatment exist in all EU member states and in other developed countries. Under these laws an increased risk to oneself and others provides the ethical and legal justification for detaining and treating people with mental-health problems without their consent. In the U.K. this often takes the form of coerced medication (CM) whereas in the rest of Europe seclusion and mechanical restraint are more likely to be used. Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry and City University (both London) analysed 14 papers about CM from seven different countries, published between 1987 and 2004. They found that patients receiving CM were more likely to be in their thirties with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or another psychotic disorder and most of them had been admitted to psychiatric care on an involuntary basis. Service users experienced a range of negative feelings when they received CM including fear, embarrassment, anger and helplessness, although in retrospect many said they agreed with the practice. The studies showed a lack of detailed exploration into the events leading up to CM and a complete absence of investigation into alternatives. The authors concluded that their review highlighted a lack of clinical evidence on which to base CM and point out that the practice may discourage people from seeking help from, or engaging with, mental-health services.
You can find out more about this study by clicking on the link in the title of this post.