Can A Spouse Or Other Close Family Member Compel An Adult To Receive Treatment For Bipolar Disorder Against His Or Her Will?

Question: Can a spouse or other close family member compel an adult to receive treatment for bipolar disorder against his or her will?

Answer: Compelling people with bipolar disorder to receive medical and psychiatric help against their will is a complicated situation and the rules around the situation actually change from state to state -- but very broadly speaking it's often not the family members who can actually compel the person. What family members and friends should do is get the person medical help, get them to an emergency room, get them to a psychiatric hospital or get them to their treaters.

And in most states the people who make the decision to get the person some medical and psychiatric help are the treaters -- the physicians, mental health counselors, social workers, psychologists and the like.

In many states these decisions can be made by these mental health treaters, but in many states they also need actually approval from the legal system. So in Massachusetts for example treaters have to go in for a judge to get permission to compel somebody with bipolar disorder to receive treatment. So the details of who can do this under what circumstances changes from state to state and you should check with the treaters or emergency rooms or psychiatric facilities to understand what the rules are in your state.

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