Prevalence of involuntary commitment for alcohol dependence

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5 Scopus citations


Background: Alcohol dependence is a chronic relapsing illness. While some patients respond to treatment, others continue to drink alcohol and suffer serious health effects such as delirium tremens, liver failure, heart disease, and central nervous effects. One option society has used to force treatment and abstinence is the legal mechanism of "involuntary commitment." The goal of this study was to determine the utilization of "involuntary commitment" among the 72 counties in Wisconsin. Methods: A statewide survey was conducted using a mailed survey to assess the current use of this treatment option. Results: Forty-nine counties responded to the survey (68%); the mean number of commitments in the last year was 5 with a range of 0 to 30. Of the petitioners who participated in the commitment, 98% were family members, 62% were friends, 49% were physicians, and 26% were counselors. Over half of the respondents (53%) felt that the process was effective in helping people deal with their alcoholism. Discussion: The overall perception among those surveyed is that involuntary commitment for the treatment of alcohol dependence can help addicted persons, but its utilization varies by county in Wisconsin. Physicians may consider exploring the use of this legal process to assist patients struggling with alcoholism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-57
Number of pages3
JournalWisconsin Medical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 24 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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