Assisted Outpatient Treatment For Criminals With Mental Disorders

941 words - 4 pages

“We have little control over our thoughts. We are the prisoners of ideas” (Emerson Essays 367). When faced with a lack of isolation between thought and reality, the question of medical power diverges rather finitely: medical choice should remain in the power of the patient, regardless of mental state or wherewithal, versus certain levels of diagnosed disconnect from reality necessitate a transfer in power of medical choice to medical professionals. Based on an understanding that involuntary treatment, or Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is aimed to treat persons suffering from severe mental and personality disorders which inhibit these persons from grasping the reality of their condition, post-treatment analysis of success rates have proven the efficacy of the system, and copious court cases have upheld the constitutionality of involuntary treatment, involuntary treatment in cases of criminals with severe psychological disorders is necessary.
To continue further, a general understanding of certain key concepts in the mental health world is imperative to a full understanding across this topic. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: Fourth Edition: Text Revision (DSM IV-TR) is the accepted manual put together by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) about all issues related to brain activity and malfunction. The DSM IV-TR categorizes mental disorders into six distinct classifications: ““Mental Disorders Due to a General Medical Condition, Substance-induced Disorders, Psychotic Disorders, Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, and Somatoform Disorders” (“DSM-IV Organizational Plan”). The DSM IV-TR discusses the psychotic disorders in the “Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders” as including “Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Delusional Disorder, Brief Psychotic Disorder, Shared Psychotic Disorder, Psychotic Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition, Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder, and Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.” It is explained that the preceding conditions were assembled together to assist the “differential diagnosis of disorders that include psychotic symptoms as a prominent aspect of their presentation” (“Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders” 297). Reality is defined as “the true situation that exists: the real situation; something that actually exists or happens: a real event, occurrence, situation, etc.” (Gove Webster's third new international dictionary of the English language).
The Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), founded in Arlington, Virginia, is a non-profit organization intent on refining treatment options in regards to psychiatric care. TAC asserts that AOT “allows the courts to order outpatient treatment for people with severe mental illnesses who are least able to help themselves or most likely to present a risk to others, giving family members and the mental health community a tool to help very sick people who cannot make their own...

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