What is the treatment allowed and when is it applied?


The lawyer sits at the desk with a client explaining a court order

When mental health conditions contribute to violent or dangerous behavior, affect the way a person treats their children, or increase the risk of relapse, a court may order treatment. A court may also impose treatment if a person is considered a danger to himself or others. State laws governing the legalization of courts vary, as do programs that can be supplemented by a court order.

The investigation into the value of the court order is mixed. Compulsory treatment offers access to mental health care that a person may not otherwise have. Some studies suggest that people seeking a court order for treatment may be less motivated or less likely to be honest with clinicians. Because treatment is compulsory, however, judicial remedies improve treatment completion rates.

The benefits and risks of a court order depend on the type of treatment, the client's commitment to the treatment, the therapist's ability and many other factors.

The benefits and risks of a court order depend on the type of treatment, the client's commitment to the treatment, the therapist's ability and many other factors.

What is compulsory treatment?

Intensive care is a court order. A person may need to be treated for a specified period of time, receive approval from an approved mental health specialist, receive treatment at a specific facility, or agree to treatment as a condition of probation or prohibition. A person may also need to receive treatment before receiving or supervising their child.

Some examples of a treatment order include:

Emergency mental health applies

When a person is at risk for himself or for others, a therapist, physician or other clinician may make an emergency reservation. These emergencies require a person to seek evaluation at a mental health facility – usually a psychiatric hospital. In most cases, the shelf life is 72 hours. After the initial detention period, state laws vary. States generally have some form of judicial oversight, which means that a judge has to approve waiting after a certain period of time. A person can also fight a mental health hold, usually by filing an emergency report with the help of a lawyer. A person cannot be detained indefinitely against his will without a court ruling.

Treatment instead of imprisonment

In some states, a person who is not considered guilty of a mental illness or defect may be forced to remain in a psychiatric hospital. In this scenario, the person cannot leave until they have remained in court for a predetermined period or the establishment has determined that the person may be released.

Drug and Mental Health Courts

Many states now offer drug diversion and mental health court programs. These programs require a person to complete treatment and other requirements. Those who complete the program can avoid prison or jail time. In many of these programs, jail time is used as a way to challenge treatment compliance. For example, a drug court participant who does not appear for treatment or is charged with consumption may be forced to spend a weekend in prison before continuing the program.

Mental health treatment is a prerequisite for another benefit

Courts often make mental health a prerequisite for receiving another benefit. For example, a person who is released early from prison through consolation may need to seek treatment to avoid being re-imprisoned. Similarly, surveillance agreements that keep people out of prison sometimes require special treatment. In these scenarios, a person typically meets with a conditional or conditional employee on a regular basis to show that he or she meets the treatment requirements given by the court.

A person may also need treatment to get custody of their children. For example, if child protection services remove a child from a parent's home because of the parent's addiction, the parent may need to seek treatment and remain sober for some time before regaining custody.

The legal principles of consensual consent and documented denial mean that a person cannot be forced into treatment without a court order. Some states offer a short exemption for the 72-hour evaluation period. In this scenario, however, a mental health professional must believe that the individual is a threat to himself or others.

The therapist may not force a client to remain in treatment or ask a client to undergo treatment. Even when a person receives a court order, they retain basic rights, such as the right not to be physically abused. People who have been treated may want to consult a lawyer. A lawyer can advise you on the laws of your state as well as your special rights.

History of compulsory mental health treatment

Compulsory treatment allows clinicians, forensic systems and therapeutic facilities significant control over a client's life. Historically, the treatment required was full of abuse. People who are sent to mental health facilities can spend years at these facilities, receiving a wide range of unsupported and potentially traumatic treatments. Patients may have to undergo electrocardiotherapy, be restrained for hours or days, or be subjected to violent abuse.

State licensing boards now regulate mental health facilities and prosecute abuse. Abuse can and does continue to occur. In 2009, a report detailed numerous abuses at the Kings County Hospital psychiatric unit. New stories often feature stories of abuse in prison psychiatric facilities.

People undergoing mandatory treatment must reconsider all their options, especially if they are allowed to choose from many therapists or facilities. When the treatment required by the court requires a person to seek treatment from a particular person or organization, lawyers such as lawyers and family members can be decisive. Beloved and paid supporters should be educated about the reputation of the treatment facility and stay in touch with the person being treated.

Common grounds for treatment ordered by the court

Some of the most common reasons a court may order include:

  • The person has been convicted of sex crime. Some lists of sex offenders require involvement in the treatment of sexual misconduct.
  • The person has lost custody of their child due to abuse, neglect or addiction.
  • The person is involved in a child custody dispute, and the court holds that one or both parents need either a psychiatric evaluation or mental health treatment.
  • The person has mental health or addiction, and the court offers treatment as an alternative to prison or jail time.
  • The person is incarcerated, and the party offers treatment as a condition of early release.
  • The person is a threat to himself or to others. A person with severe suicidal ideation may be required to undergo psychiatric evaluation or be held in a mental health facility for a specified period of time. People with anthropogenic or violent thoughts may also be subjected to forced treatment.

Does Nursing Work?

Like any other treatment, the effectiveness of court-ordered treatment depends on several factors, such as the ability of the clinician and the client's willingness to participate actively in the treatment process. Court authorization can and does work.

Drug courts, for example, may reduce recidivism. One study found that, over a 2-year period, drug court attendance was associated with a decline in relapse from 40% to 12%.

Court-ordered treatment can also offer indirect benefits to mental health. Researchers have repeatedly documented the detrimental effects of imprisonment on mental health. When court-ordered treatment helps a person avoid prison or jail time, it can prevent his mental health from deteriorating.

Authorized programs also have some shortcomings. When customers sign confidentiality exemptions, they may be less likely to share openly with their providers. When a provider has the power to imprison a client by reporting non-compliance with the court, this can jeopardize the integrity of the therapeutic alliance.

Assisted therapy can feel frightening and intimidating, especially if you have never sought mental health treatment before. Mental health workers who provide treatment with legal authorization are authorized professionals like any other mental health worker. They have a duty to protect their clients and to provide compassionate care.

In many cases, a person who has to undergo mental health treatment may still choose their own clinical doctor. Click here for help finding the right mental health professional and here to find a treatment center near you.

Bibliographical references:

  1. Coviello, D.M., Zanis, D.A., Wesnoski, S.A., Palman, N., Gur, A., Lynch, K.G., & Mckay, J.R. (2013). Do the offenders responsible for the treatment improve completion rates? Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 44(4), 417-425. doi: 10.1016 / j.jsat.2012.10.003
  2. Do drug courts work? Findings from a drug court investigation. (2018, May 1). Retrieved from https://www.nij.gov/topics/courts/drug-courts/pages/work.aspx
  3. Hartocollis, A. (2009, February 06). The abuse is in a psychiatric unit run by the city. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/nyregion/06kings.html
  4. Hedman, L. C., Petrila, J., Fisher, W. H., Swanson, J. W., Dingman, D. A., & Burris, S. (2016). State legislation on emergency detention to stabilize mental health Psychiatric Services, 67(5), 529-535. Retrieved from https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ps.201500205
  5. Yasgur, B. (2018, May 29). Court-mandated substance abuse procedure: Exploring ethics and effectiveness. Retrieved from https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/topics/addiction/court-mandated-substance-abuse-treatment-exploring-the-ethics-and-fficacy




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