What is Inpatient Psychiatric Care Like?
When a mental health condition has escalated to the point where a much higher level of care is necessitated, there are inpatient mental health facilities available that provide 24-hour care and oversight. These psychiatric inpatient facilities can be a stand-alone psychiatric hospital, a ward within a general hospital, or a residential mental health facility. The severity of the episode, and whether it is acute or chronic will help determine which venue is the most appropriate for your or a loved one’s particular situation.
When wondering what is inpatient psychiatric care like, you may conjure up memories of Hollywood depictions, such as in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Frances (the story of actress Frances Farmer), or Girl Interrupted. The startling scenes depicting life in a mental institution may have left a lifelong imprint on your memory, coloring your opinion about the safety of psychiatric facilities. In reality, however, inpatient mental health treatment is not at all like the depictions on the big screen. On the contrary, a facility for treating people with serious depression or anxiety, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder are centered on creating a calm, therapeutic environment that is conducive to healing the mind, body, and soul.
When is Inpatient Mental Health Treatment Necessary?
You may have been suffering from a mental health disorder for years, receiving ongoing treatment from your psychiatrist and therapist. These mental health providers have been able to manage the condition adequately, enough so you can function in life. But mood disorders can sometimes stop responding to medication, or the illness itself ratchets up to a more acute phase, having a serious impact on your ability to fulfill daily activities and obligations.
In the case of depression, sinking deeper into the abyss can even stir up suicide ideation. Severe anxiety can inhibit your freedoms, causing intense fear of even leaving the house. An individual battling addiction with a coexisting mental health disorder may reach a point in the addiction when their life is endangered. Someone with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia may experience a psychotic break, with hallucinations and delusional thoughts.
Any of these situations are good cause to seek out an inpatient mental health treatment program. A psychiatric emergency, such as when the individual becomes a danger to him or herself or others, warrants immediate intervention and the highest level of care. In fact, approximately 5 million adults in 2014 visited the emergency department of a hospital due to a mental health disorder, according to the CDC.
So, What is Inpatient Psychiatric Care Like?
Inpatient psychiatric treatment will vary based on the specific needs and mental state of the individual. In an emergency situation, it is likely that the patient will have very limited personal freedoms, even being on a locked hospital ward for a period of time. But these are the extreme cases. Most who need inpatient care will have more treatment options available to them.
For someone who needs more focused treatment than what their private doctors or an outpatient facility provides, having a safe, quiet place away from the stresses of life. An inpatient facility will do a thorough medical and psychiatric evaluation and prescribe changes in medications, targeted therapies, and individual cognitive therapy and group therapy sessions.
There are two basic options for inpatient mental health treatment, a hospital setting or a residential setting. These venues influence what is inpatient psychiatric care like:
The residential treatment setting is designed to feel more home-like, with a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere and more personal freedom. Residential programs are considered a step-down from an inpatient hospital program, and are a good option for treating mood disorders and those with a dual diagnosis. Residential programs may offer holistic therapies such as guided meditation and yoga to augment psychotherapy. There will also be access to an outdoor space for quiet time, such as reading or journaling.
Generally, a hospital setting is reserved for the more severe psychiatric cases, with the primary goal of stabilizing the patient. A hospital has a more regimented, sterile atmosphere and freedoms are restricted for the safety of the patient, staff, and other patients. The mental hospital environment offers 24-hour monitoring of the patient and a more intense level of treatment. The hospital setting is best suited for those who are on suicide watch or experiencing a psychotic break.
The Treatment Specialist Can Locate Residential Psychiatric Treatment
The Treatment Specialist is a team of caring experts in the fields of mental health and addiction disorders who provide free guidance toward appropriate care. The specialists will assess your or a loved one’s mental health situation through a free evaluation tool, and then match your specific needs with the best psychiatric treatment option. These compassionate specialists can give you an accurate picture of what is inpatient psychiatric care like. For more information about getting help, contact The Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.