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Involuntary Commitment for Teens Indicates a Need for Medical Assessment

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answered 09:48 PM EST, Tue April 17, 2012
What states allow involuntary teen rehab? I live in RI looking for help for a 17 year-old male son. Have insurance. Looking for a GOOD wilderness rehab, heard high success rates with wilderness camp settings... Thanks Mom, Nicole.

Delisted Expert Says...

Involuntary hospitalization is a legal procedure used to compel an individual to receive inpatient treatment for a mental health or substance abuse disorder against his or her will. Thirty-four states allow for some form of involuntary commitment. You are wise to consider laws governing involuntary commitment as every jurisdiction are different. Since you did not indicate the reason(s) you are considering involuntary commitment, I have to address this generally rather than specifically.

However, I would encourage you to contact treatment facilities in Rhode Island or any other state you are considering and ask them about their respective laws as they pertain to involuntary commitment for teenagers; particularly 17 year olds. I recognize that you are considering wilderness program(s) for your son and there are many excellent ones. Before making moves towards certain types of treatment or involuntary commitment, I would recommend that you obtain a formal assessment of your son and his particular issues. Since you have insurance, it should help you pay for a formal and comprehensive assessment, including treatment recommendations.

I commend you on recognizing that your son is faced with problems, but it would serve your son, your family, and you best if your son was offered a diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and an appropriate referral to a treatment facility based on your son’s unique cosmology.

If you need anything further from me, please do not hesitate to contact me. I wish you and your son the highest and future success.

John W. O’Neal, Ed.S, MSW, MA, LPC, NCC

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Page last updated Jul 22, 2016

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