Patients’ views of involuntary hospital admission after 1 and 3 months: prospective study in 11 European countries


In the different countries, between 39 and 71% felt the admission was right after 1 month, and between 46 and 86% after 3 months. Females, those living alone and those with a diagnosis of schizophrenia had more negative views. Adjusting for confounding factors, differences between countries were significant.


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If you’ve ever had an involuntary hospital admission - how do you view it now? Was it right? Was it Helpful?

I needed help — desperately — but I didn’t get the help I felt I needed.

(support networks, therapy, behavioral training, etc).

I was hospitalized several times at different hospitals and the only difference between them was the quality of food. Some involved involuntary drugging, art therapy and AA meetings. I wasn’t taught any coping mechanisms, the value of nutrition, I was given only a brief overview of my condition and what it meant for me.

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I’ve been involuntarily committed a number of times. I probably needed them all, I know I needed some of them. I was pretty bad off each time and always got back on track in the hospital.

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The hospital is for one thing only, crisis management. It keeps people safe and secure when they’re a risk to themselves or others. Therapy and education are for outpatient services. The groups you attend in the hospital are basically just to keep you busy throughout the day.

That invaluable time spent drawing and painting stick figures could have been spent on more meaningful pursuits.

I was hospitalized five times before I was diagnosed — I refused to discuss my symptoms because I was afraid — afraid of reprisal, being involuntarily held for longer periods of time, involuntary and unwanted treatments. For me, it wasn’t a safe and open place to discuss the issues I was going through. This is particularly important for paranoid schizophrenics. When I was finally diagnosed, I had no choice in my treatment options. The more I discussed what I was going through, the more they pushed for higher and higher doses — this is why I perceive so many drugs as akin to mental imprisonment — think, feel incorrectly and you’ll be locked in your own head. If I had been given the faintest chance of discussing my symptoms without fear of reprisal, I might have been able to work through my psychotic delusions.

The possibility of reaching sanity without resorting to forced treatment was never even considered. I might have a more favorable impression of psychiatry if doctors started treating patients like equal partners in treatment rather than sub-human, malfunctioning clocks.


I agree fear of reprisal is a major issue. I also did not want to discuss my symptoms when involuntarily hospitalized, out of worry I’d be forced to take antipsychotics against my will, held longer in the hospital, or put under conservatorship. The hospital was a prison to me, rather than a safe place.

I’ve been involuntary admitted a few times… three times was out of my families hands. I was brought in by the police or EMT’s and crisis team.

I was furious about it at the time. I was an endless pit of anger. I had no intention of telling any one anything.

But my family was trying to be supportive… I see that now.

I have seen my medical files and the police reports, if I was as agitated, and as out of it as the police reports say… I thank my lucky stars I was taken in to hospital and not shot by the cops… or hit by a truck… or fell off the Aurora Bridge.

Now I’m not nearly as angry about it… since I’ve tried to be more self- managing… my doc now treats me like a partner in my healing process. Plus… what good does it do me to hold on to that old anger?

It’s sort of like a poker game in my analogy… If I put in nothing… My doc is not going to see… or raise… he’s just going to hold.

But once I started putting something of myself on the center… then he would see that effort and raise. I hope that made sense.

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Almost all of my hospitalizations have been involuntary and even the few times I agreed to go for changed to holds. I have mixed feelings on it.

For some, I definitely see why they had no other options. Well, maybe except jailing me. For some, they had no other options because I was doing graphic things to myself so what else could they do? I’m not good with retaining “insight” and so forth and there’s no “talking me out of it” or “reasoning with me” and so, again, they either let me bleed out/jump or destroy property. In those instances I guess I’m less angry. Well, I do t like being interfered with but I understand they didn’t have many options.

The times they’ve taken me out of my house when I’ve been holed up I’m less forgiving. But I know I was called in and I know that it wasn’t done from malice.

And then there are times they’ve extended my stay once already in. Those are the ones I have the most animosity about, I’d say. And I have a lot of bitterness about being put on compulsory injections now that I’m not even in the hospital. But that’s a side resentment.

Did I always come out better than I went in? I always come out more defeated. But I’m a lot less psychotic. So I’d say it’s a trade off. I think those around me have a very different perspective on my involuntary commissions/being sectioned. I think it’s better for others, but I can’t say they’ve all been better for me. Their point, I think, is that I come out alive. My point is that mere existence, that’s inadequate.

Being in the hospital is time lost never to be regained and, when added up, so many years of my life have been spent there, involuntary stays feel like theft of time, the worst sort of theft of my life.

I saw you said demographics and time since are indicated in playing a role in perspective. I’m female and my last stay was July/August. I haven’t gone six full months without hospitalization in over a decade, but I might if I can get to February. Dare to dream.

My son’s have all been involuntary. Except for maybe the one Sept 2013 he hasn’t considered any of them helpful or necessary. His memory of why he was admitted tends to change or morph out the psychosis part as he becomes stable again.

i’ve been accused of that by my family. that my memory omits or changes relevant things about why i was hauled in. we don’t talk about it at all as a result because i get offended.

I have only had one involuntary hospitalization and this was when I was age 14. It was in the psychiatric unit of a local hospital though not an actual psych hospital. It was I’d have to say rather traumatic at first, the orderlies roughed me up when restraining me (I did not resist) and being strapped down to a stretcher and wheeled upstairs where I was locked in a small white room bleeding from my face was…well that was traumatic too. I cried for an hour until a nurse appeared in the little window of the door.

I was only on the unit for four days or so before my family with the help of their church were able to spring me. My actual time on the unit was okay other than a roommate who defecated in the shower. Was it all necessary? Probably not. I was struggling at the time in an emotionally abusive relationship and not with Bi-Polar Disorder as was suspected.

I’ve since reviewed the psych doc’s notes from this “visit” and he missed the point entirely, had no clue after all my openly talking with him, what I was going through at the time.

But, I’m not against involuntary hospitalizations when absolutely necessary, I just believe in this case it probably just could have been approached a radically different way than it was.

I have mixed feelings about my involuntary hospitalization. At first, I was really angry. The worst part was that they wouldn’t let my family see me. They said I didn’t want to see them. I don’t remember even being told my family was there. It was a state run hospital for those without insurance, which is now closed. I don’t think they had the best practices.

However, it brought me out of sever psychosis in 8 days. So it was probably a good thing. Although I relapsed a month later. Yeah mixed feelings.

My notes have a tick for compulsory admission but I’m struggling to recall a time when I was compulsorily admitted into hospital.
The only vague possibilities are in 1978 when it was go in voluntarily or be sectioned-I went in voluntarily , and when I was already an inpatient and put on a section for a few days for cutting my ■■■■■
Neither of them to my mind fit the criteria for a compulsory admission from home into hospital.
I do know that in 1978 it was a long admission because my parents didn’t want me home. However eventually after 9 months the pdoc decided there weren’t grounds to keep me in hospital any longer.

It should be noted the study is from Europe, for European hospitals. From what I’ve read in The Center Cannot Hold, European hospitals are more liberal in their treatment of the mentally ill. That might explain the dichotomy between our experiences and the experiences of the study participants.

**The hospitals tend to do their own diagnosing on meds ( the doctors ) regardless of what the patient is already on. Separate case managers.
Inpatient and outpatient should be co-ordinated so that everyone concerned has the same info. on meds, doctors, activities, services, etc…
In the case of mental illness, holes are allowed to form-so that no one knows what the heck is going on. Parents are left in the dark ( I don’t care about HIPPA! )

It would be great just to have a hospital that dealt with nothing BUT mental illness. The big hospitals here are doing nothing but improving their looks-while attaching THE MAYO CLINIC to their name.
Services for mental illness are spread out, not connected to each other. Very hard for someone to have to travel to several different places for different services.
The Hippa law…the caretakers are not allowed any information on the person we take care of?

Yeah-it’s just a dream…all we need is money
That`s my rant for the day.**

My son was never voluntarily committed, he doesn`t talk about it.