Objective: Involuntary hospitalizations are commonly applied in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. These practices have been controversial since they may pose morally questionable situations. This study aimed to reveal the clinical characteristics of patients who were involuntarily admitted to the psychiatry clinic as well as the reasons behind the involuntary admission decision and to examine the findings from an ethical point of view.
Materials and Methods: Socio-demographic and clinical records of patients who had been involuntarily admitted to a university hospital between January-2013 and January-2019 were collected retrospectively. These data were compared with the variables of the voluntarily admitted patients who were matched with the involuntarily admitted study group in terms of admission year, sex, and age.
Results: There was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of socio-demographic characteristics. The frequency of involuntary hospitalization was found to be higher in patients with psychotic disorders. These patients had a longer duration of hospitalization and were given long-acting antipsychotics more frequently. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of risk of doing harm to oneself/others and treatment needs.
Conclusion: Involuntary hospitalizations would contradict further with the principle of respect for patients autonomy in comparison with those done due to the risk of doing harm to oneself/others. Prolonged hospitalization and long-acting drug choices in the absence of the risk of giving harm to oneself/others may contradict basic ethical principles, such as the right to choose ones treatment. Caution should be taken against potential ethical issues while considering involuntary hospitalization.