Involuntary commitment for mental health patients is a scam [Letter]

December 31, 2013

Regarding John J. Boronow and Steven S. Sharfstein recent commentary, comparing every unwilling patient to the alleged 18-year-old who thinks she can fly is ridiculous ("Close the mental health revolving door, Dec. 29).

Moreover, "anasognosia," or re-branded "denial" with a fancy name, is a pretty convenient way to ensure a steady supply of customers.

How is it that people can languish in hospitals for years and never be helped, let alone cured? This is why the door was finally pried open. The "medications" forced upon people are nothing more than useless moneymakers with hideous side affects.

Has anyone ever seen someone drooling with their head wrenched to one side under the caring application of thorazine? Many other drugs with less extreme side affects are just as useless.

It shouldn't even be necessary to bring up the unbelievably weak protections against involuntary commitment. A small room at the facility, with an administrative judge, a clueless public defender who just met the client and no rules of evidence or anything resembling a real court invites miscarriages of justice.

As someone whose college career was disrupted several times by nothing more than the testimony of my addled mother, I can attest that getting away from the revolving door and the "care" is the only thing that allowed me to finish my education, find a career and have a family.

Let's not forget that in the past it was such "doctors" who brought us lobotomies, electric shock therapy as a treatment for depression and so-called "hospitals" where somehow no one ever gets better and goes home.

Virgil Moore, Catonsville

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