International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care

Special Section: The Assessment of Psychiatry

Involuntary Commitment as a Psychiatric Technology

Virginia Aldigé Hidaya1

a1 North Carolina State University

In the process of involuntary commitment,1 the state makes available its coercive power for use as a psychiatric technology. This application of the state's power is based on the idea that mental illness can make a person not only sick but also unaware of the illness, and dangerous or unable to care for his/her basic needs; thus, coercion may have to be used to secure the mentally ill person's and/or the public's safety, and to give treatment until the illness abates.