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OBSERVATIONS ON RESEARCH CONCERNING ASSISTED OUTPATIENT TREATMENT

A powerful new tool for advocates to use in making the case for assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) is now available in Current Psychiatry Reports, a journal that reviews “published papers of major importance” on “current and emerging approaches to the diagnosis, treatment, management and prevention of psychiatric disorders.”

Authored by Treatment Advocacy Center Policy Director Brian Stettin, the report takes direct aim at critics of court-ordered outpatient treatment who claim its effectiveness is unproven.

“In my work for the Treatment Advocacy Center promoting AOT across the United States, I am often puzzled by the wide gulf between the perceptions of AOT among dedicated mental health professionals and the findings of researchers on the effectiveness of AOT in improving treatment outcomes for the most challenging subset of psychiatric patients,” writes Stettin.

“The research is good enough to lead one to expect a near-universal embrace of AOT within the mental health field, and yet this is hardly the case. While 45 states and the District of Columbia have laws authorizing local mental health systems to practice AOT, implementation of these laws remains spotty in all but a few. Many professionals I encounter seem to have absorbed anti-AOT messages emanating from various mental-health consumer organizations who reflexively oppose any infringement on patient autonomy.

“Among these messages are patently false claims that the research on AOT is ’mixed or inconclusive,’ or that the research only suggests AOT might be worthwhile in an exceedingly well-funded system of community-based care,” he says.

In the article, Stettin sets the record straight “by summarizing the mountain of positive data, placing the purportedly inconclusive or negative findings in a more intellectually honest context, and putting to rest the pervasive myth that impressive results achieved in New York are rooted in anomalies of that state.”

“An advocate’s observations on research concerning assisted outpatient treatment” is available for a fee from Current Psychiatry Reports (2014) or upon request by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
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