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Ask the Experts

Question:

My mother, now 52, is in denial of her bipolar disorder and refuses to be treated. She checked herself into a hospital at age 19 when she was having suicidal thoughts, and has been in and out of therapy all her life, but has never really been confronted with a diagnosis. She is severely manic right now, and has become a threat to herself and others around her. Is it appropriate to force her to go to the hospital at this point? And if so, how should I go about taking that sort of action?

Answered by: Maria Oquendo

If you are worried about safety there are two options, depending on urgency. One is to call your local hospital and ask about Mobile Crisis teams. Such teams can come to your mother's home and evaluate her to decide what the next step should be. If danger is imminent, then calling an ambulance/police is the safest strategy.