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Forced Hospitalization Didn't Stick


My older sister is 27. She has 3 children, and is married to an abuser. He is both physically and mentally abusive. She has a long past of mental problems, including a suicide attempt 10 yrs ago. For the past year she has been drinking about 1 pint of liquor per day. (ranging from wild Irish rose, to Jack Daniels). Recently we have tried to pink slip her in to the psych ward, but to no avail. (sober she is not a danger to herself even though she stays in an abusive relationship, but she won’t stop the drinking) I’m lost at what to do anymore. Is there any way to gain power of attorney over her medical decisions? We live in Ohio and I have searched everywhere for answers and I’ve found nothing to help. Can you?

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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I’m not an expert in the law, but my best understanding is that patients that don’t meet the strict definitions necessary to hold someone against their will are free to, “die with their rights on” (to quote an old Psychiatrist mentor). To get the best answer, you’ll want to consult with a lawyer who is learned and experienced in involuntary commitment law for your state. You may also want to consult with a psychologist for tips on how to deal with such an overpoweringly helpless feeling situation.

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