Serious mental health conditions can often render a person unable to make the right decisions for their health on their own. For this reason, Florida allows for people to be placed under the care of medical professionals for what many people refer to as a 72-hour psych hold. This temporary arrangement for involuntary hospitalization is meant to help identify whether or not a person needs further treatment. It may also be necessary to keep someone safe from harming themselves or others if they are unable to control their behavior due to psychological distress or drugs.
In Palm Beach and throughout Florida, there are two main ways that a person can be placed under this type of hold. The Baker Act applies to people who are struggling with a suspected mental health disorder. The Marchman Act is meant to help those who are struggling with substance abuse. In both cases, what happens during a 72-hour psych hold tends to follow a very specific set of guidelines that are all meant to stabilize the person and identify whether they need to stay in the treatment facility for longer.
What Are the Criteria for a 72-Hour Psych Hold?
A person may be placed in a treatment facility involuntarily by several specific types of people. A doctor or law enforcement officer has the ability to file a petition for a 72-hour hold. You might also be able to apply for a hold if you are a spouse, parent or close relative of someone who is in need of immediate help. Although it is harder, you might still be able to get a non-relative, such as a roommate, admitted to a drug rehab involuntarily if you can get two other people to support your claim that a person you care about is at risk for serious harm.
Since placing someone in a treatment facility involuntarily is a serious situation, it is only approved when a person meets a set of certain criteria. These include the following: •The person refuses to get an examination or is unable to make a rational decision about one •The person is at risk of harming themselves or experiencing negative effects from self-neglect •The person is at risk of harming someone else •The person is using substances that could cause them to harm someone else •The person cannot make a decision on their own to get help with an addiction
What Types of Assessments Are Performed Right Away?
Once a person enters the treatment facility, they should receive a physical examination within 24 hours. In most cases, this happens within minutes to an hour or two after they enter the facility to make sure that they are not in immediate physical distress. This physical exam may include drug tests and other types of assessments to help identify the person’s needs and uncover possible reasons for their behavior. Soon after, they will also receive a psychological exam. The results of these assessments are confidential. Once the information is gathered, the facility will then make a professional recommendation to the court regarding whether or not the hold may need to be extended.
Will a Person Receive Treatment During This Time?
People tend to ask about 72-hour holds when they are concerned about their loved one. If you have someone that you love who may need this form of care, then you may feel like it is your last hope for helping them to stop harming themselves. While your loved one’s experience during the first 72 hours may vary, it is common for a person to slowly come around to the idea that they need help.
At first, the types of treatment that your loved one will receive typically involves helping them to get stabilized and more comfortable in the facility. Some people may need to take medication temporarily to help them calm down or get some rest. If your loved one begins to experience withdrawal symptoms, then medication and natural therapeutic strategies may be offered to help them feel better. Many people begin to experience a marked turnaround in their thoughts and behavior as their body begins to clear drugs from their system. Around the 24-hour to 48-hour marks, your loved one might be ready to begin participating in different types of therapy.
At this point, counselors will begin talking to your loved one about what led them to be placed under the 72-hour hold while offering them hope and encouragement that choosing to continue their treatment will be their best way to start living a safer and healthier life. Although a court may order them to stay longer, this might not be necessary. Your loved one might decide to seek voluntary treatment once they are in a comfortable environment that helps them make clearer decisions. Knowing what happens during a 72-hour hold reassures you that your loved one will be safe and cared for the entire time. Do you have more questions about how to help someone who can’t help themselves? Call us at 833-497-3808 today!