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What is a 5150 Hold?

Mental health disorders can be treated with a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Most of these cases can be successfully managed with a combination of psychotherapy and medications. Seeking help is a sign of strength.

Navigation: What is a 5150 Hold?, What is the Role of a Patients’ Rights Advocate?, How Do You Know If You Are in a Mental Health Crisis?, What are the Causes of Mental Illness?, What to Expect From a Treatment Facility for a Mental Illness, Rehab Is Your Best Chance


Mental health disorders, also known as mental illnesses, are conditions that affect a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior. They can significantly impair a person’s ability to function in daily life. These conditions can make you feel miserable, and can cause problems at work, school, or with your relationships.

Common examples of mental health disorders include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, trauma-related disorders, and substance use disorders.

These disorders can arise from a combination of genetic, environmental, and social factors, and can range from mild to severe.

Mental health disorders can be treated with a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Most of these cases can be successfully managed with a combination of psychotherapy and medications. Seeking help is a sign of strength.

However, some people have worse conditions in which they require intensive psychiatric treatment. Here we will talk about the 5150 hold: what it means, and what role it plays when it comes to mental health services.


What is a 5150 Hold?

A “5150 hold” refers to a code used in the State of California in the United States, which authorizes a qualified officer or clinician to involuntarily confine an individual for up to 72 hours due to their mental health condition. This code is named after Section 5150 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) on the “Detention of Mentally Disordered Persons for Evaluation and Treatment”.

Under this code, people with severe mental health conditions may be detained if they are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others, or if they are gravely disabled due to their condition.

The hold allows for a mental health evaluation to be conducted by a qualified professional to determine if further treatment is necessary. It’s worth noting that other states and countries have similar laws referring to involuntary treatment, but they may be referred to by different codes or terms.

In the media, the term 5150 hold has been used for celebrities like Britney Spears, Kanye West, David Hasselhoff, and more recently, Amanda Bynes, who have all struggled with their mental health and had to go through this involuntary mental health hospitalization.

Based on code 5150, a person with mental health issues who are deemed a danger to themselves or others may be held involuntarily in a psychiatric hospital for up to 72 hours. It is also known as a 72 hour hold. During this period, the person with a mental health disorder will go through psychiatric evaluation and crisis intervention. Mental health providers will assess whether the person requires involuntary hospitalization during this observation period.

According to the law, the patient needs to be treated in the “least restrictive setting possible” during their time in the facility.

Patients are informed that this is not a criminal arrest. They will be informed that they are being taken for an examination by mental health professionals.

If the patient no longer meets criteria for involuntary hospitalization, the law states that the medical team has to break the hold immediately. It is possible for the person to be released before the 72 hour hold is done. In some cases, the 5150 hold may be extended to a 14-day hold called a 5250.

The most recent example of a 5150 hold happening to a public figure is Amanda Bynes. The 36-year old All That star called the police after finding herself naked and alone, saying she had just come out of a psychotic episode. Recognizing the situation, she called the police officers herself and was taken to a nearby police station. She was then placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold after the mental health crisis team recognized her need of mental health assistance.

The former child star has been struggling with her mental health for a decade. She previously had run-ins with police among other disturbing events such as setting a fire in a stranger’s driveway. Afterwards, Bynes started getting treatment for her mental health while studying fashion design.

Bynes was reportedly doing fine living on her own and taking cosmetology classes until fairly recently, which is why the psychotic episode is being considered an anomaly.

Another star who went through a similar situation is Kanye West, who was placed on an involuntary psych hold in 2016 after suffering from “temporary psychosis”. His condition was apparently caused by sleep deprivation and dehydration. The rapper was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Britney Spears was placed on back-to-back involuntary psychiatric holds in 2008. The singer was going through a lot at the time, from divorce to postpartum depression, to problems with the paparazzi.

Similarly, David Hasselhoff was put on a psych hold back in 2013 and had to spend some time in a mental health facility.


What is the Role of a Patients’ Rights Advocate?

A patient’s rights advocate is someone who supports and promotes the rights of patients in the healthcare system. They may be trained professionals or volunteers who work to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and that their rights are respected.

The role of a patient’s rights advocate may vary depending on the specific context, but some common tasks include:

Educating patients about their rights and how to assert them

Helping patients navigate the healthcare system and access appropriate care

Advocating on behalf of patients to ensure that their voices are heard

Assisting patients in filing complaints or appeals when their rights have been violated

Providing emotional support and guidance to patients and their families

In the context of mental health treatment, a patients’ rights advocate needs to understand the legal implications and protections afforded to individuals who have been placed on a 5150 hold.

As an advocate, their role is to ensure that the individual’s rights are protected and that they are receiving appropriate care. They do this by advocating for the individual’s needs and preferences to be considered in the treatment plan. The patients rights advocate also ensures that the patient is informed of their rights and options.

They will also advocate for the patient’s release if it is determined that they no longer meet the criteria for a 5150 hold. Additionally, the patients rights advocate may work with legal professionals to advocate for the individual’s rights in court if necessary.

How Do You Know If You Are in a Mental Health Crisis?

The signs and symptoms of mental illness may vary depending on the person’s condition and specific situation. However, here are some common symptoms you need to watch out for: excessive worry, irritability, anger, oversleeping, difficulty sleeping, changes in weight or appetite, trouble concentrating, difficulty in making decisions, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse. The person may also lose interest in things they used to enjoy.

If you are experiencing symptoms that are affecting your daily life, relationships, work or school performance, it may be a sign that you need treatment for a mental illness. Mental illnesses can manifest in many different ways, and symptoms can vary depending on the condition.

You must also watch out for the signs of a mental health crisis. Here are some common ones:

Intense emotions: You may be experiencing intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, anger, or hopelessness that are difficult to manage.

Disrupted sleep: Your sleep patterns may be disrupted. You may have difficulty falling or staying asleep. You may also experience nightmares.

Changes in appetite: You may be experiencing a change in your appetite, such as eating too much or too little, or losing weight without intending to.

Physical symptoms: You may be experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, or fatigue that have no clear medical explanation.

Self-harm: You may be engaging in self-harming behaviors, such as cutting, burning, or hitting yourself.

Substance abuse: You may be using drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with your emotions or mental state.

Social withdrawal: You may be withdrawing from social activities and avoiding contact with friends and family.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional or a crisis hotline as soon as possible. A mental health professional can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.

Remember, seeking treatment is a sign of strength, and it can help you improve your overall quality of life.

What are the Causes of Mental Illness?

There is no single cause of mental illness, as it is a complex and multifactorial condition. Mental illnesses can be influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.

Genetic factors may play a role in some mental illnesses. For example, studies have shown that certain genes may be associated with an increased risk of developing conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. If you have family members who have dealt with mental illnesses, you may be at risk of developing one yourself.

Environmental factors can also contribute to the development of mental illness. Trauma, stress, abuse, neglect, and chronic illness can all impact mental health. Additionally, exposure to toxins and substances, such as drugs or alcohol, can also contribute to the development of mental illness.

Some people experience work-related stress because of poor time management skills or simply taking on too much. Other people are in highly stressful professions, which put them in a continuous state of stress or anxiety. First responders are especially vulnerable to this.

Lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and sleep patterns can also play a role in mental health. Poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep can all contribute to the development of mental illness.

It is important to note that mental illness is a complex and individualized condition, and its causes may vary widely from person to person. It is often a combination of factors that lead to the development of mental illness, and treatment typically involves a multifaceted approach that addresses all contributing factors.

What to Expect From a Treatment Facility for a Mental Illness

The exact treatment approach will vary from one facility to another. However, the best treatment programs use a personalized approach to help patients dealing with mental illness.

Before starting any treatment program, an assessment of the individual’s mental health needs will be conducted. This assessment may include a physical exam, a psychological evaluation, and a review of the individual’s medical and mental health history.

This will give the healthcare providers a decent idea of what the patient is going through and what treatment approach they need going forward.

Based on the assessment, a treatment plan will be developed that is tailored to the individual’s specific needs. This plan may include medication, therapy, and other interventions as appropriate.

If medication is prescribed, the treatment facility will provide medication management to ensure that the individual is taking the medication as prescribed and that any side effects are monitored and addressed.

Alongside medications, therapy is a key component for the treatment of mental illnesses. Most treatment facilities will provide individual and group therapy sessions. Therapy may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, or other evidence-based approaches.

These evidence-based approaches are often supported by holistic approaches and alternative treatments such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness training, etc.

Treatment facilities may also offer support services such as case management, vocational rehabilitation, and peer support groups.

After completing a treatment program, the individual may be referred to follow-up care such as outpatient therapy or support groups to help maintain their progress and prevent relapse.

Depending on the patient’s condition, they may be better suited for outpatient treatment, which allows them to work on their mental health while keeping up with their responsibilities outside the treatment facility.

No matter what type of mental illness you or your loved one is suffering from, you need to look for a treatment facility near you and learn more about your treatment options. Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Your road to recovery starts today.

Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.



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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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