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Compr Psychiatry. 1989 Jan-Feb;30(1):13-7.

Why must some schizophrenic patients be involuntarily committed? The role of insight.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, PA.


Twenty-four of 52 (46%) schizophrenic patients hospitalized because of acute psychotic episodes associated with preadmission medication noncompliance required involuntary commitment. Committed patients were rated as significantly more severely ill than voluntary patients and were significantly more likely to be transferred to extended treatment facilities after acute care. However, committed patients were significantly less likely than were voluntarily admitted patients to acknowledge that they were psychiatrically ill and in need of treatment, i.e., to demonstrate insight. Although psychopathology diminished significantly in both committed and voluntary patients over the course of hospitalization, only in voluntary patients did insight increase significantly. Over a 21/2 to 31/2 year follow-up, those patients who had been involuntarily committed at the index hospitalization were significantly more likely to require involuntary admissions than were the initially voluntary patients. Inability to see the self as ill seems to be a persistent trait in some schizophrenic patients.

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