Health

Police Force Man To Take Medication (Video)

| by Michael Allen

The new documentary, "Crazy," follows a young man named Eric who is diagnosed with schizophrenia and forced to take psychiatric medication in Madison, Wisconsin (video below).

The film follows Eric's journey as he refuses to take his medication, is picked up by police and then locked in a psychiatric ward, where he is forced to take the drugs, notes the film's website.

In the film, Eric notices that his hands are tremoring, and worries about tardive dyskinesia, one of the side effects of his medication, notes The Huffington Post.

Eric and his dad, who is a doctor, want Eric's medication dosage to be lowered. However, a county psychologist and social worker believe forced treatment -- the medication -- is necessary.

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Even though Eric's dad is a doctor, he is not given the legal power to make medical decisions for his son.

Eric and his dad enlist the aid of a lawyer to fight for Eric's right to make his own medical decisions.

Eric fights a legal battle in court, hides in a hotel and is locked in a state mental hospital, but is ultimately able to regain some control over his life.

The producer and director of the film, Lise Zumwalt, told Cheddar TV in an interview posted online on Feb. 16: "I’ve always been interested in stories where there is a tension between social policy and law and individual rights, and mental illness is a great lens to look at that tension."

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Zumwalt said Eric took his medication compliantly for approximately eight years, but was worried the drug's side effects would be permanent.

According to Zumwalt, the state first got involved in Eric's life after he stood on a second-story balcony and talked to himself; people were afraid that he would jump.

Zumwalt said a police officer can make the determination if someone who is mentally ill may hurt themselves.

Zumwalt also recalled how her own opinion about psych meds changed while making the film:

When I started working on this film, I thought that if people, who were diagnosed with severe mental illness, would just take their meds, they'd be fine, and so would we. And that turned out to be wrong.

And one of the reasons that's wrong is that psych meds, like all medications, have risks and benefits. They work for some people really well, but they also don't work for other people at all.

Zumwalt said Eric was able to get his medication lowered, graduate from college, get married and find a job. She added that it is not unusual for people with schizophrenia to have a life with partners and jobs.

"Crazy" Trailer

Lisa Zumwalt nterview

Sources: Witness Documentary Films, Cheddar TV, The Huffington Post / Photo Credit: Dori/Wikimedia Commons

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