While Wikipedia doesn’t always contain the most accurate explanations and definitions, in the case of Involuntary Outpatient Treatment the online encyclopedia provides a fairly accurate overview of the law:
“Outpatient commitment—also called Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) or a Community Treatment Order (CTO)—refers to a civil court procedure wherein a judge orders an individual diagnosed with severe a mental disorder who is experiencing a psychiatric crisis that requires intervention to adhere to an outpatient treatment plan designed to prevent further deterioration that is harmful to themselves or others.
This form of involuntary treatment is distinct from involuntary commitment in that the individual subject to the court order continues to live in their home community rather than being detained in hospital or incarcerated. The individual may be subject to rapid recall to hospital, including medication over objection, if the conditions of the order are broken, and the person’s mental health deteriorates. This generally means taking psychiatric medication as directed and may also include attending appointments with a mental health professional, and sometimes even not to take non-prescribed illicit drugs and not associate with certain people or in certain places deemed to have been linked to a deterioration in mental health in that individual.
Criteria for outpatient commitment are established by law, which vary among nations and, in the U.S. and Canada, among states or provinces. Some jurisdictions require court hearings and others require that treating psychiatrists comply with a set of requirements before compulsory treatment is instituted. When a court process is not required, there is usually a form of appeal to the courts or appeal to or scrutiny by tribunals set up for that purpose. Community treatment laws have generally followed the worldwide trend of community treatment.”