Hi Diane, The 72 hour hold is a chance for doctors and social workers to see whether the person needs a longer civil commitment. Where we live, the person can be committed for up to a year, but will only be hospitalized until stable, usually from ten days to six weeks. Then the committed person will be required to show up for outpatient appointments for a year from the date of commitment.
Every state is different with different laws and you can look up your state’s laws here: http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/component/content/article/183-in-a-crisis/1596-know-the-laws-in-your-state
It’s really good to find out as much as you can before you need to know. Hopefully, you won’t need to know, but just in case.