What Are the Causes and Consequences of Forced Outpatient Treatment?

Mental health conditions often reach a point where a person is no longer capable of making rational decisions about their health and safety. Sadly, addiction can create chemical changes in your loved one’s brain that limits their ability to see how their behavior is harmful to themselves as well as the people around them. Forced outpatient treatment is an option that families and courts can use to make sure that someone receives the help they need to stay safe and overcome their mental health challenges. Although this option is typically a last resort, it may be the only way to get someone to begin to see that they can still change their life for the better. Learning about the causes and consequences of forced outpatient treatment can give you more insight into how this option could be the motivation that your loved one needs to finally get sober.

Forced outpatient treatment has fewer restrictions compared to mandated inpatient care. However, there are regulations in place to make sure that only people who truly need professional help are ever forced into outpatient treatment. Someone that you know and love could fit these requirements if these situations ring true.

  • they have a known or suspected mental illness
  • they may not be able to survive in their current situation
  • they have a history of not complying with treatment or legal judgments
  • they’ve made threats or attempts of suicide
  • their behavior places them at risk of physical harm such as a drug overdose
  • they could benefit from treatment

The majority of people who enter forced outpatient treatment due so because of legal troubles that are associated with their addiction. After someone is convicted of drug possession or driving under the influence, the courts may mandate outpatient treatment as a part of the sentencing. This is because it is viewed as preferable to treat the underlying reasons for a person’s criminal activity rather than having them sit out a jail sentence and return to their former behaviors. Now that addiction is viewed as a mental illness rather than just being someone’s bad choices, the opportunities for getting help are expanding. Family members may also be able to get their loved one into outpatient treatment by petitioning the court for intervention.

How Does Forced Outpatient Treatment Help People With Addiction?

Sending someone to outpatient treatment allows them some freedom to continue with their lives. Many people with addiction may still have jobs or family responsibilities that make it harder for them to comply with an inpatient stay. The benefits of mandated outpatient care begin early on in the process of requiring treatment. As part of the process of setting up this type of treatment, a person with an addiction is usually required to undergo a health assessment that can identify if they struggle with drug or alcohol misuse. An assessment may also help to reveal if a person needs additional counseling for underlying mental health issues. Figuring out the best ways to help someone in need allows the treatment team to provide services that target their true needs.

Family members often worry about the potential fallout that they could experience by starting the process of seeking mandated outpatient care for their loved one. Although people who are dealing with an addiction often get upset in the beginning, they tend to change their minds as they get sober. The same is true when someone is forced to attend treatment by a court order due to a DUI charge. Outpatient treatment programs are well aware that not everyone is there by choice. Using research-based treatment strategies, counselors work with people who are angry that they are there to get past their emotional barriers and begin to delve into their behavior patterns. For some people with an addiction, being forced to attend a court-mandated treatment program is a major wake up call. People who use drugs or are struggling with alcoholism are often in denial. Being pulled over and charged with a DUI or facing other criminal charges could be the first time that your loved one realizes that their life is out of control. If you are the person who is being required to attend treatment, then it is important to ask yourself why. It is sometimes necessary to trust the people around you to help you out when your drug or alcohol use may cloud your ability to think clearly.

No one wants to force someone to go to treatment, but the consequences of allowing someone to continue using drugs or alcohol could be far more serious than making someone upset at first. Are you worried about someone that you love? Give us a call today at 833-364-0736 to find out your options for getting them help.