Friday, December 27, 2013

Assisted Outpatient Treatment?

Happy Holidays, everyone.  Blogging has been a little slow here at Shrink Rap as the Shrink Rappers overdose on cookies and get caught up in all the usual holiday stresses that get to everyone.
I've heard rumors that in the coming 2014 Legislative Session in Maryland a bill may be proposed to make Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) part of the landscape.  As it stands now, we are one of the few states that does not have AOT, or forced treatment, for outpatients, outside of the forensic system for those on conditional release after having committed a crime (often a violent crime).

Since Maryland doesn't have AOT, I have no experience with it.  Perhaps it's a good idea; I don't believe it's humane to leave people living in the filth and cold on the streets if they have a psychotic illness that could be treated.  But I'm also well aware that treatment has side effects for some, and limited efficacy for others, and I worry that forcing people to get care in an already strained system is not the same as forcing them to get thoughtful, individualized care, with a spectrum of treatments being offered.  

So I'm staying out of the discussion at this point, as all I can say is that I don't know what the right thing is to do. I do know that people have strong opinions.  

If you live in a state with Assisted Outpatient Treatment, and you've been a part of the program, then I"d love to hear your comments.  If you have a family member who gets AOT, or are a doctor involved with such treatment, then I'd love to hear your opinion as.  If you've never personally been involved with forced outpatient care, even if you've been involved with forced hospitalization, then I'd like to ask you to hold your opinions for now.  I really  would like to hear from the direct recipients of these treatments.

Thanks so much!