Involuntary medication in psychiatric inpatient treatment

Eur Psychiatry. 2003 Oct;18(6):290-5. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2003.07.002.


The aim of this study was to examine involuntary medication in psychiatric inpatient treatment. A retrospective chart review of 1543 consecutive admissions of working aged civil patients from well-defined catchment areas to three psychiatric centres were evaluated regarding events of involuntary medication. 8.2% of the admissions included involuntary medication episode(s). Involuntary medication was associated with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, involuntary legal status and having previously been committed. One of the studied centres used less involuntary medication than the other two, even if patients with schizophrenia were over-represented in that centre. Although involuntary medication mainly takes places in the treatment of patients who are conceptualised most ill and perhaps resist treatment most, treatment culture obviously also plays a role. In future, it is important to study the aspects of treatment culture to fully understand the use of involuntary medication in psychiatry.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Commitment of Mentally Ill / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Advocacy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Patient Readmission / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Treatment Refusal / legislation & jurisprudence*


  • Antipsychotic Agents