Explains what psychiatric drugs are, what to know before taking them, and information on side effects and coming off medication.
In most cases, you cannot be forced to take medication. If you are offered medication, you usually have the right to refuse it and ask for an alternative treatment.
There are some circumstances in which it might be legal to give you medication, even if you haven’t agreed to take it. These include if you have been:
See our pages on consent to treatment for more information about this, including what steps you can take to challenge decisions.
Some of us may worry about being forced to take medication if we become very unwell in the future. Remember: it is not common to be forced to take medication.
But if you are concerned about this, it may help to plan for a future crisis while you are feeling well. This can help healthcare professionals know your wishes in advance, in case you lose capacity to make decisions about your own treatment.
There are several ways in which to outline your future wishes, including:
This information was published in March 2021. We will revise it in 2024.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.