Because judgment is compromised for people with schizophrenia, they often do not realize that they need treatment. In some cases, physicians admit people to hospitals against the patient's will. In fewer cases, physicians have to medicate people who refuse to be treated.

In these cases, the courts may intervene and mandate hospitalization or medication. Involuntary hospitalization and medication is more common in schizophrenia and psychotic disorders than in other mental health conditions.

A few criteria must apply to a resistant person before the courts get involved in the decision to hospitalize. Each state has its own criteria for involuntary treatment. Generally, the person must pose an imminent danger to society or to him- or herself.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Jan 2001

Last Modified: 02 Oct 2015