Experts: What's Next for Britney?

Video courtesy NBC

updated 01/04/2008 at 11:50 AM EST

originally published 01/04/2008 12:05PM

Video courtesy NBC
Labeling the latest developments concerning Britney Spears a "very sad situation," a psychiatrist and an attorney appearing on Friday's Today show shared their opinions on what the pop star may face next – both medically and legally – given that her life, as was described on the program, has "spiraled out of control."

Spears, 26, could face tough measures, both experts speculated, especially given the extra issue of alleged substance abuse.

Spears, 26, was hospitalized shortly after midnight Friday after an hours-long standoff at her home in which police were called in because of Spears's refusal to turn her children over to her ex-husband, Kevin Federline. "While officers were on the scene, they observed Ms. Spears under the influence of an unknown substance," said a police spokesman.

After Today host Meredith Vieira noted that Spears had previously been in and out of rehab for an acknowledged abuse of drugs and alcohol, Dr. Janet Taylor, a Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry at Columbia University-Harlem Hospital, said that when it comes to a decision to stay clean, "There has to be a primary internal motivation" by the individual herself.

"Most substance-abuse treatment centers will not take people unless they voluntarily want to go. And that's the issue," said Taylor. (PHOTOS: Britney in the ambulance.)

Court Would Take a Dim View

Susan Filan, a former prosecutor and trial lawyer, as well as MSNBC's senior legal analyst, called Spears's rebuffing police when it was time to turn over her sons, Preston, 2, and Jayden, 1, "a very serious no-no in the world of courts."

As for the standoff that ensued, as well as, it has been assumed, arguments in front of the children by the parents, Filan said the courts are also likely to take a very dim view. She also said that this could pave the way for Federline to be in charge of determining all future decisions involving the boys.

"You've directly traumatized your children. You've directly interfered with their well-being and stability," she said, referring to Spears.

"Now that we got this added issue of substance abuse," Filan continued, "the court may very well have to intervene and cut off visitation, which is tough for a court , because a court doesn't want to deprive a child from its mom. This is really emotional stuff."

Concluded Filan: "These kids are now, I think, directly being harmed by the mother who … is spiraling out of control. I think she's just about done."

Taylor disagreed with Filan in at least one regard, and said that she did not think the court would cut off visitation completely, given the young age of the two children. But she did say that the potential next step would be court-supervised visitation.

Currently Spears is in a "5150 Hold," which indicates a person is considered a danger to themselves or others and being held for 72 hours or more to be evaluated and possibly treated.
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