“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.
Moreover, an individual needs to be dangerous before intervention is possible. The state’s standard does not take into consideration an individual’s past psychiatric history, such as repeated hospitalizations or symptoms of psychiatric deterioration that could culminate in violence.
“Connecticut's civil commitment laws are among the most restrictive in the nation when it comes to getting help for a loved one in psychiatric crisis,” said Kristina Ragosta, senior legislative and policy counsel for the Treatment Advocacy Center in Arlington, Va., which pushes to make it easier to commit people for treatment before they become dangerous.
Connecticut does have a law allowing for someone to be sent to the hospital for 72 hours for evaluation if he or she poses a danger to himself or others, says Kate Mattias, executive director of the Connecticut branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.