How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Steve Your Own Question
Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. Steve is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a husband who is in advance stage of alkoholism. He

Customer Question

I have a husband who is in advance stage of alkoholism. He lost his job more then one month ago and refuses to go for detox (forget about treatment). Is it possible to call 911
and ask for detox for him (he absolutely lost ability to see how severe his disease is. He spends all days and nights laying in the bed. I know what you say, call 911, but here is a problem: I have an order of protection against him, if he is arrested, he will spend as felon at least one year in the jail (and that is ok with me), but as a result he will loose his green card, so he will never be in touch in kids again. He will be deported out of this country forever. We have 7 yr olf twins, and I know I have to protect them. If I don't have another option I will do this soon, but my question is if this man is not violent may I use an explanation calling 911 that he has suicidal thoughts, can he be taken for detox? More then anything he needs now detox and some treatment but in jail he will not get it. Advice, Ewa
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 7 years ago.

Hi ewa:

Great question. I like the way you think, as you are clearly looking for any means of getting your husband some help, even if just for the sake of your children. Here is the problem: If the police are contacted (and they will be accompanying the ambulance & probably fire dept if you tell them he is suicidal), they will have to actually either SEE that you husband is suicidal or they will have to hear from HIM that he is suicidal. In other words, in order to commit him against his will, the police will have to witness an example of the behavior you are reporting. If there is no real evidence and your husband protests you assertions that he is suicidal, then the scenario could turn against YOU, and you could be cited for filing a false police report.

Too, if the police show up and you & he are near each other, he will automatically be in violation of the protection order and they will be forced to honor the courts and arrest him.

If you are satisfied with the response, please hit "Accept." That is the only way I can receive credit for my answer. Thanks-

Dr. Steve

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

thank you for this warning, should I understand that I do not have an option? Last weekens he signed for me the power of attorney with shaking hands, that is why I want to cry but he now is completely isolated without contact with anybody, basically sleeping on the couch. Can you confirm, that only calling police is my only option? I can't understand how law allows to honor the wish of psychiatric patient, who lost tottaly sense of reality? this is so sad that I can't provide him help that he desperatelly needs. Tell me whether this is my ONLY option. Thanks, doctor.


Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 7 years ago.

Well, hold on... if you have power of attorney, then the rules may be different. You may wish to check with the legal section of JA and ask an attorney if you now have the right to make medical decisions for your hubby. And even if you cannot commit him against his will, you MAY be able to go before a judge and have hubby deemed as incompetant due to mental illness, at which time you will be appointed as the person who makes the medical decisions... and then you can have him detoxed, regardless of his wishes.

But look, if he already signed over POA to you, you may be able to eventually wear him down until he garees to take a few days to dry out in the hospital(?).

Dr. Steve

Dr. Steve and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I see that I started lenghty conversation, but in Power of Att. there is nothing about medical help, what can I do now? I don't understand your last sentence if you can clarify it to me , please. I mean I don't want to keep you online for long time, but tell me how I can use this document to get help for him.



Expert:  Dr. Steve replied 7 years ago.

Hello again:

Sorry... I had a bad typo in the last sentence, and that disrupted the meaning. I meant to say that your husband may eventually relent and agree to detox if you persist, given that he has already agreed to grant you power of attorney.

And as for your document, there is a such thing as a medical power of attorney, but this begins to move us outside of my field of expertise. I advise you to consult an attorney on JA or have a consult with the attorney who helped you secure the paperwork for your original POA.

I wish you well and wish I had the legal answers you require-

Dr. Steve