The young adult men who end up being violent often “have others in their lives … who are trying desperately to get help before something bad happens. They can see it coming down the pike,” says Liza Gold, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. But caregivers “have run up against these commitment laws that are so restrictive – that come down so far on the side of civil liberties and privacy – that it is almost impossible to contain, hospitalize, treat someone with a chronic and escalating mental illness.”
On the other hand, forced treatment can also be emotionally wrenching for the patient and cause lingering anger, mental-health experts say.
“People who are forcibly treated so often feel traumatized by it,” says Robert Whitaker, author of “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.” “Women in particular will sometimes talk about it almost like a quasi-rape, because sometimes they are held down and injected,” he says.
For its part, Connecticut leans strongly toward supporting the civil liberties of individuals, making involuntary treatment difficult. It is one of six states that does not provide the option of "assisted outpatient treatment,” which allows qualifying individuals to receive court-ordered treatment in the community without being committed to a facility.