Another Study Finds No Benefits from Forced Outpatient Treatment

Rob Wipond

A team of Norwegian and UK researchers examined the results from the Oxford Community Treatment Order Evaluation Trial (OCTET), and found that programs forcing people to take psychiatric medications while they are living in the community “do not have benefit on any of the tested outcomes, or for any subgroup of patients.” The study was published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

The OCTET is a randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of community treatment orders — often called “assisted outpatient treatment” in the United States. Several hundred patients were followed for a year and “there was no significant difference at 12 months” between patients being subjected to forced treatment and those who were not. In light of the lack of benefits, the continued use of forced outpatient treatment, stated the researchers, “should be carefully reconsidered.”

(Abstract) Community treatment orders: clinical and social outcomes, and a subgroup analysis from the OCTET RCT (Rugkåsa, J et al. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. Published online before print December 11, 2014. DOI: 10.1111/acps.12373)


  1. I hope at some point soon, society will acknowledge the reality that a one size fits all prescription system is illogical. I, for one, became “psychotic” within two weeks of being put on an antipsychotic (with no prior personal or family history of such issues). The antipsychotics can CAUSE psychosis in at least a percentage of the population.

    But I do not claim the antipsychotics cannot help others, since I’ve spoken with people in online self help groups who say the antipsychotics do help them. The bottom line is the doctors need to listen to the patients, and stop coercing and forcing drugs on people.

    The fact that the antipsychotics do not universally help all patients, and actually cause psychosis in at leas a percentage of patients, and are harmful to all in the long run to all patients is why out patient commitment laws do not work, and are morally wrong. The system is broken, and needs to change.

  2. Yes, I don’t think prison very beneficial in any health sense, but the thing you’ve got to consider is that involuntary outpatient commitment developed from involuntary inpatient commitment. It’s that old thing about the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was erected in order to keep people from escaping East Berlin, not in order to prevent people from visiting East or West Berlin. People are not imprisoned for the sake of their own health, they are imprisoned for the sake of other people’s health as a threat is perceived in them, real or imagined. You know what I’m referring to, that “danger to self or others” business. People are not locked up in prisons they call hospitals because of their health. Read the commitment laws sometimes. People are locked up in prisons they call hospitals because of other people’s health. Is involuntary outpatient commitment beneficial to other people’s health? I don’t know. You tell me.

    • Well, since my family’s medical records show proof I was misdiagnosed and drugged so a pastor could cover up the abuse of my child, and my PCP could proactively prevent a potential, but non-existent, malpractice suit due to her husband’s “bad fix” on a broken bone of mine. And it’s been confessed to me that historically, and obviously still today, the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” is that psychiatrists are in the business of covering up easily recognized iatrogenesis for the incompetent doctors and sexual abuse of children for the religions. I’d say forced psychiatric treatment is beneficial for the unethical, greedy, paranoid, and incompetent “professionals,” but it’s not beneficial for society as a whole, or the unwitting victims of today’s insane and toxic psychiatric system.

      • True enough, but I’d say the main reason people are locked up has more to do with safeguarding the general public from a perceived threat than it does with any concerns about their own health despite “self-injurious”, “self-destructive”, or “suicidal” behaviors. The drugs are mainly a matter of chemical restraints, the chemical prison, so to speak, that extends the hold of the institutions of confinement beyond their walls. You, can translate “self-injurious”, “self-destructive”, and “suicidal” “sick”, but that entails this sort of conceptual detour of “self-control”. In other words, the view of the authorities runs like this, we have to control you with drugs because you are “sick” in so far as you “lack self-control”, our measure of “sickness”. This “lack of self-control” “sickness” allows the authorities to apply these ‘social control’ screws. ‘Beneficial” will always be a matter for contention. To the drug companies, for instance, a large profit margin could be seen as a ‘benefit”.