Two days after her compulsory “5150” admittance to a Los Angeles hospital for psychiatric evaluation, Mischa Barton is probably exactly where she needs to be. Witnessed earlier this month (allegedly) under the influence of cocaine in a London nightclub, the 23 year-old actress – who’s suffered for years from issues with substance abuse and body image – Mischa will hopefully be on the road to recovery soon.

According to Dr Keith Ablow, a California psychiatrist and expert on the state’s “involuntary hold law,” Mischa’s current condition is no joke. “It’s a 24-hour standard for these statutes,” Ablow told Fox News today. “You have to ask yourself, ‘Would this person die in the next 24 hours?’ They have to be at the brink of complete disaster.”

Noting the law allows doctors to keep people in hospital custody for up to 72 hours if they present “a danger to themselves or others,” Ablow continues, “Every state has an involuntary statute and it is designed for people to be hospitalized who don’t wish to be and need to be. It’s not because [Mischa] is famous, and it’s not about keeping her safe from the paparazzi. These laws are about conveying someone to a psychiatric facility who can’t get there herself or who is unwilling to go.”

“If [Mischa] is involved in drugs or alcohol,” Ablow adds, “that could be the primary problem. She could’ve been bloated because she is using substances, or because she is taking meds for a mental disorder, and that’s a side effect. We really don’t know, of course.”

Those closest to Barton, meanwhile, have more cause for concern. Describing Mischa as lately “dealing with a lot of personal issues,” a friend (asking to remain anonymous) tells People.com, “She’s been on a destructive path for a while now. Her drug and alcohol [use] has gotten to a point where it drove people away. I don’t think she knows her limits.”

If Mischa’s condition doesn’t improve by tomorrow, doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center can request an additional 14-day hold. Stay tuned….