Objectives Advance directives are documents stating treatment preferences in case of future lack of decision making capacity. In India, as in many other countries, legislators advocate Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs), while evidence on its use is limited. This study examined factors influencing PADs by gathering inpatients perspectives on PADs at discharge and investigating patient characteristics associated with the expression of treatment wishes in PADs. Methods We conducted a hospital based descriptive study in Bangalore. 200 patients were included. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview, CGI-S and CGI-I (Clinical Global Impression scales), the Insight Scale-2, and an Illness insight assessment were completed within 3 days of admission. We used the Bangalore Advance Directive Interview (BADI) to assess attitudes towards PADs. 182 subjects were reassessed within 3 days of discharge, along with an interview on their perspectives on PADs. Results 67% welcomed the need for PADs in India. 95.6% made their own PADs. 80% followed their doctors' advice in their PAD. Subjects lacking insight or remaining symptomatic at discharge opted significantly more often against ECT, antipsychotics, and inpatient care. Linear regression showed that low socio-economic status, unwillingness to stay in hospital, and having received ECT before were inversely associated with the expression of treatment wishes in PADs. Conclusions This study's findings are relevant for India and Western countries alike while generating legislation including patients' perspectives. A majority of patients favoured PADs. Absent insight, severe psychopathology and incomplete recovery may negatively influence the way PADs are completed. Therefore, clinicians must assess patient's capacity to formulate PADs carefully, as capacity may significantly influence patients' views. The timing of when to formulate one's PAD within the illness process may be essential.