There was a collective huge sigh of relief at the news Amanda Bynes was placed on a 5150 hold Monday night after many months of ever increasingly bizarre and worrying behavior.
As OKMagazine.com previously reported, the 27-year-old was placed in the care of a Los Angeles area hospital psychiatric ward for mental health evaluation after she was seen allegedly starting a fire in an elderly stranger’s driveway.
Under the terms of a 5150 a person can be held at an approved facility—against their will—to undergo evaluation by professionals for a period of up to 72 hours.
So how did it all go down? What is happening to Amanda while she’s under the 5150? And what does the future hold for her after the 72 hours are up?
OKMagazine.com spoke to Dr. Adi Jaffe—who is not involved in this particular case and does not treat Amanda—but is a leading specialist in the field of addiction, biological psychology and behavioral neuroscience, and he weighed in on the procedure, its logistics, what will happen while Amanda is in hospital and what is likely to happen next.
“A person is sectioned under a 5150 when it is deemed they are a danger either to themselves or to another person,” Dr. Jaffe explains. “Police officers are given training in this field and they are authorized to make that judgement.
“It usually requires some pretty extreme and worrying behavior to be exhibited for the decision to be made and authorities are trained to recognize the difference between someone acting bizarrely because of say alcohol or drug use and those that appear to be displaying symptoms of mental ill health.
“After the decision is made the person will be taken immediately to a facility and they will be evaluated by a mental health specialist before they are admitted.
“Given the nature of the situation people can often be very agitated or aggressive—especially if they are being admitted against their will—and sometimes they will be sedated in order to calm them down.
“When a person is sectioned they are not arrested at that time for any alleged criminal acts they may have been involved in, they are not read their Miranda rights or treated as a criminal person. If the person is of adult age their parents or next of kin will not be informed of the situation, unless the sectioned person requests that happen, then facilities may do so.
“As to what Amanda’s day to day life will be like while under the 5150, that varies from facility to facility—each one is different.
“However, she will undergo rigorous evaluation by staff and will likely attend one-on-one therapy sessions in addition to group.
“Even though it is only a 72 hour hold, people can often undergo a great deal of change—if there is a mental condition and it is easily diagnosable, and if they are medicated correctly, people can often make startling progress even in that short period of time.
“It can actually be a great relief, as in many cases people have been living under a great deal of stress prior to the 5150—this can often be the case with celebrities, as their lives can prove to be very stressful—especially those that have been in the spotlight since a young age.
“During the 72 hour hold, the patient will be closely monitored and evaluated, if they do make progress and it is deemed they are no longer a danger to themselves or others they may be released at any time.
“If an underlying mental health issue is detected or suspected staff will usually encourage the patient to stay in treatment of their own choice—if they refuse to do so they will refer them to an outside specialist for treatment and if they believe the patient will benefit from medication, they will give them a prescription to be filled.
“When the patient is released police will then decide whether to press charges for any criminal activity they may have been engaged in at the time they were sectioned—though it seems unlikely that would be the case in this situation according to the reports of what happened.”
So, will Amanda—who has been estranged from her parents for some time now, tweeting in April, “I don’t speak to my parents anymore, they don’t talk to reporters on my behalf. Don’t believe anything you read about me unless I tweet it”— be back out in the world on her own once again when her hold is over?
“I don’t know what Amanda’s true situation is with regards to her family,” Dr. Jaffe says. “So, I can’t speak with any authority on that subject. But, I do know from past cases, that often families can reunite after situations like this.
“Many times the initial estrangement has been caused by the patient’s behavior or delusions and when stabilized they often reunite with their family or loved ones once again.”
However, the likelihood of a happy family reunion happening for Amanda isn’t looking good right now.
TMZ, who were first to report that Amanda had been sectioned, spoke to Bynes’ father—after the neighbor whose driveway the actress allegedly started a fire in said she thinks Amanda’s parents should pay for the damage caused by their daughter—and he said he has no intention of doing so.
“Amanda needs to pay for it,” Rick Bynes told TMZ.
Do you think Amanda needed to be placed on a 5150? Sound off in comments below and tweet us @OKMagazine