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Question About Involuntary Hospitalization


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I always hear it is better to go voluntarily to the hospital, but I am not really sure why that is. My pdoc told me to always come to him first if I was thinking of suicide or whatever because he would rather treat me outpatient than to have a family member commit me. I asked him why and he said something to the effect of "When you get committed involuntarily you automatically lose some civil rights for good."

So my question is, is this true? And if so, exactly what "rights" do you permanately lose?

NOTE: I am an American and talking of American law here.

Thanks

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Well, one biggie, is that if you are "adjudicated mentally ill" you cannot purchase a handgun for a period of 4 years under the Brady Act (it gets entered into NICS). That one almost kept me from going to the hospital the first time. But, apparently, voluntary commitments don't count.

Toomy

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Well, one biggie, is that if you are "adjudicated mentally ill" you cannot purchase a handgun for a period of 4 years under the Brady Act (it gets entered into NICS). That one almost kept me from going to the hospital the first time. But, apparently, voluntary commitments don't count.

Toomy

Thanks Tommy. I suspected that gun rights probably were involved here.

I guess what I really want to know is if once you are committed if your name is entered into some "big brother" database as being "adjudicated mentally ill" as you put it. In other words, is there some record of your "impairment" outside of the hospital responsible for housing you? Do they automatically share records with the govt? Could a govt agency do a background check and find out about the hospitalizations? I suspect hospitalizations (even if they are voluntary) are not really confidential as the hospital staff always assures us.

Later.

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Well first of all, the most important thing is getting treatment before you deteriorate to the point that you are no longer able to care for yourself and have to have the government commit you.

So, the key is learning to recognize your 'prodromes' or signs that indicate you are going into mania/mixed state or deep depression. You can then call your pdoc and get meds to stop things from escalating. Even if that doesnt' work, a planned voluntary stay, at the time our your choosing, with the support of your pdoc and family while stressful is still going to be preferable to having the police dragging you out of your house at 2 am raving and spending the next hours in restraint at the hospital awaiting a court hearing.

I think it is difficult to say what rights you may lose, since they vary by state. In my state you lose firearm ownership rights if you are judged incompetent or if you spend 30 days in a mental hospital regardless of whether its voluntary or involuntary. Maddy has mentioned that she no longer may vote in her state.

Again, don't let hypothetical maybes get in the way of seeking the care you need to stay alive and healthy.

a.m.

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I was involuntarily hospitalized after being arrested for marijuana possession. I'm schizoaffective, and I was totally psychotic at the time. I am also interested in this topic, because I'd like to know how my hospitalization affected me. I don't even know if I can own a gun or not.

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Well first of all, the most important thing is getting treatment before you deteriorate to the point that you are no longer able to care for yourself and have to have the government commit you.

So, the key is learning to recognize your 'prodromes' or signs that indicate you are going into mania/mixed state or deep depression. You can then call your pdoc and get meds to stop things from escalating. Even if that doesnt' work, a planned voluntary stay, at the time our your choosing, with the support of your pdoc and family while stressful is still going to be preferable to having the police dragging you out of your house at 2 am raving and spending the next hours in restraint at the hospital awaiting a court hearing.

I think it is difficult to say what rights you may lose, since they vary by state. In my state you lose firearm ownership rights if you are judged incompetent or if you spend 30 days in a mental hospital regardless of whether its voluntary or involuntary. Maddy has mentioned that she no longer may vote in her state.

Again, don't let hypothetical maybes get in the way of seeking the care you need to stay alive and healthy.

a.m.

That is scary, AM. The part about losing gun rights even if your stay in a hospital was voluntary. There are times, I am sure, when people with serious depression, for example, may be admitted for a month or so voluntarily. These people are no danger to anyone else and, imo, should not lose such a right. 25% of all Americans will experience clinical depression at some point in their lives.

Personally, I have no use for firearms (even though having a good pistol for home protection probably isn't a bad idea), but I feel that the mentally ill are still stigmatized unfairly as being somehow "dangerous" to society at large. Sure, some are, but the problem is that they lump all of us in one category. They lump someone who is simply depressed into the same category with criminals with a violent history or those who commit crimes while psychotic. This, of course, is unfair and unjust.

Losing the right to vote is even more concerning. People with depression and Bi-Polar disorder and Schizophrenia (etc...) are just as capable of making rational decisions as anyone else. I would bet that some of the leaders that we all vote for have mental health issues that they keep swept under the rug. In fact, I know this to be true in some cases.

The question is, to which individuals with mental health issues does the ridiculous and inflammatory term "mentally defective" apply to? Which individuals should society consider "outcasts?" The problem is, they still consider us all outcasts as evidenced by the language used in the Brady Bill as pointed out by another poster to this thread.

Keep posting, everyone. I would like to know more about this and would like to hear more individual experiences. What rights have any of you lost due to hospital stays?

It's a sad state of affairs in America when someone who has not even committed a crime loses the right to vote just because of some preconceived "mental status."

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Well, not specifically related to being hospitalized, but in my state, in order to get or renew a drivers license, if you are Bipolar, you are required to notify the MVA, and then submit psychiatric documentation for their Health and Mental Hygiene committee to review, and determine whether you will be granted a license!

I told my Pdoc, and she just rolled her eyes. Obviously she isn't reporting her patients to the MVA. So, I didn't check that box on my application. Screw 'em, none of their damn business.

a.m.

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I don't know anything about US laws, sorry.

I've been involuntary comitted once, for 24 hours before I agreed to stay. I had a mental worker following me. For 24 hours. To the toilet. I had to sleep with my door open so they could sit and watch me while I slept (and they actually did). It was all creepy. I wouldn't go down that road again.

I found that the nurses and doctors seemed to respect me more when I came there by free will. If you show you have some insight about your disorder and current state, they are generally more willing to discuss treatment with you.

Edit: I just realized this wasn't really the answer you were looking for, you were asking specifically about US laws. But I wanted to share another drawback.

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i've looked under different search terms, and i can't find one, but that doesn't mean someone can't come up with better search terms and find one. that would be a great resource, because i'd love to know what rights i lost when i was involuntarily committed about 2 years ago.

(it was so stupid because i was in the ER going on my own to the hospital, but because my suicide plan had involved a firearm, they invol-ed me. so stupid, because i was there already, telling them to admit me!)

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I'll chime in on the firearms thing too - in my state, you lose right to own a firearm if you're involuntarily committed. So it's much better to go voluntarily (as well as all the other reasons it's better to go voluntarily). You lose the right to concealed carry if you're diagnosed with any mental illness. I'm not sure how much reporting is actually done for either of those.

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this is interesting- i live in ohio, and we have a conceal and carry law. i never even considered before that my invol could possibly matter in getting a weapon or not.

i guess it probably does!

that's not fair for those of us who just want to protect ourselves. i can understand maybe 6 months after an invol, but 4 years? who wrote that law? how about maybe getting your pdoc's approval? it seems like i need his approval to even manage my own finances (under SSD), so why not guns too? just throw it all in there!

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AM has already covered this, but I thought I would throw my experiance in.

Right now I am going through my second DMV snafu. Mind you its not because I was commited involuntarily, but because I tried to kill myself. I am waiting to hear from then as to whether I can keep my license.

They basically put a restriction on my license for a year.

But I was talking to my act therapist and she said that some of the mental health workers are protesting such things because it such a violation of confidentiality. So theres that as well.

And I cant believe maddy cant vote! Thats just sick. And wrong.

Sick and Wrong.

Selene

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I followed the link given above (thanks addicted2it76) and I can't believe my eyes. In my state a person can lose their right to vote, enter into contractual agreements, and a bunch of other stuff that I can't remember right now. This is extremely unfair and goes against our constitutional rights. I have to wonder, will going in voluntarily make that much difference? I mean once they get you in there, whether voluntary or not, can't they determine that you're still mentally incompetent?

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Well, not specifically related to being hospitalized, but in my state, in order to get or renew a drivers license, if you are Bipolar, you are required to notify the MVA, and then submit psychiatric documentation for their Health and Mental Hygiene committee to review, and determine whether you will be granted a license!

I told my Pdoc, and she just rolled her eyes. Obviously she isn't reporting her patients to the MVA. So, I didn't check that box on my application. Screw 'em, none of their damn business.

a.m.

You've got to be kidding! "Health and Mental Hygiene Committee" - can we get any more Orwellian than this? God, is this America or Soviet Russia? What next? Are they going to send us BP's off to labor camps because of our lack of "mental hygiene?"

There is actually a box on a driver's license application for this sort of thing in your state? That's sad. Who knows, maybe we have the same problem in my state.

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You lose the right to concealed carry if you're diagnosed with any mental illness. I'm not sure how much reporting is actually done for either of those.

This was a major question mark for me. How exactly is mental illness "reported" to the "authorities" (whoever that may be). I mean the clinics and pdocs always swear it is confidential and no one outside of a court order has the right to view the records or know your diagnosis. Apparently this is not true, as you point out, resonance.

Later.

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AM has already covered this, but I thought I would throw my experiance in.

Right now I am going through my second DMV snafu. Mind you its not because I was commited involuntarily, but because I tried to kill myself. I am waiting to hear from then as to whether I can keep my license.

They basically put a restriction on my license for a year.

But I was talking to my act therapist and she said that some of the mental health workers are protesting such things because it such a violation of confidentiality. So theres that as well.

And I cant believe maddy cant vote! Thats just sick. And wrong.

Sick and Wrong.

Selene

Selene,

HOW did the DMV find out you tried to kill yourself? As I stated in my post right above this one, HOW do these state government bodies obtain such information? Do you happen to know how they got it in your case? Whatever happened to confidentiality that we are always assured of as patients?

Also, are there any lawyers in the house? We, as patients, need more info. It seems we are being duped by these confidentiality agreements that the hospitals and clinics assure us of.

As someone else in this thread said, I doubt there is any difference, legally, between an involuntary and a voluntary hospitalization. I am sure info, in both cases, is leaked to the "authorities."

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