Friday, December 17, 2010

What happened to Dan Choi?

Lt. Dan Choi (left) and Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach,
also fighting discharge under DADT.
Photo: Adam Bouska
Headline writers seem split as to whether anti-Don't Ask Don't Tell activist Lt. Dan Choi was hospitalized for "exhaustion" or for a "breakdown" although Choi, now in the psychiatric ward at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Brockton, Mass., said in an email that he had a "breakdown and anxiety attack."
     ABC News' Susan Donaldson James had this to say about Choi, who is supposed to be released today. (Or not.)
Choi claimed that he had been involuntarily committed, but a spokesman for the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services was not immediately able to comment.
     Dr. Una McCann, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and director of the anxiety disorder program, said hospital emergency rooms can legally hold a patient for 72 hours if they are deemed a danger to themselves, to others or are incompetent.
     After three days, only a judge can order a hospital stay without a patient's permission.
     "He either said, 'Yes, I want to be admitted, I really need the rest,' or he got to the [psychiatric] ward and didn't like it and wanted to leave," said McCann, who has not treated Choi.
     "The psychiatric team may have said, 'Not so fast,'" she said.
      A nervous breakdown is an umbrella term for a number of conditions: depression, psychosis, but most often anxiety disorders, according to McCann.
     "Some people develop such severe anxiety, they can't function," she said.

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