The thought of going to a mental hospital can be frightening for some. I know the first time I went I felt very scared. Knowing that you need more help than you are currently able to provide for yourself and doing something about it by going to hospital is a step in the right direction to getting on top of your depression symptoms.
Remember, a mental hospital is there to help you, not harm you. They will help to take some of your stresses away as well as treat your symptoms. While in hospital you don’t need to worry about housework or catching up with friends. All you need to focus on is getting yourself to a better state of mind.
Signs You Need To Go To A Mental Hospital
There are many signs you may need to go to a mental hospital. Some of these are listed below:
If you are just not coping on a day to day basis
If you are at risk of harming yourself or others
If you are abusing alcohol or drugs in order to cope with your depression
If you no longer feel that you have control over your moods
If you are struggling to function at home with even the most basic tasks
How Long Can A Mental Hospital Keep You?
This will depend on where in the world you live. If you have been sectioned (your doctor has decided that you are not fit to make the decision yourself so they make the decision to put you in hospital) you may be required to stay for a minimum length of time. Usually if you have admitted yourself to hospital voluntarily then you can check yourself out at any time. Again, it all depends on where you live and what laws and regulations apply to the state that you live in.
Can You Leave A Mental Hospital Without Being Discharged?
Yes you can, but with the permission of your treating psychiatrist. They will assess the risk you pose to yourself and others when determining whether they will grant you temporary leave.
Where I live, the hospitals will generally give you escorted leave after a few days. This means you can leave the hospital for a set amount of time under the supervision of a family member or friend.
Depending on how your condition is, they may choose to give you unescorted leave at some point during your stay. This means you are able to leave the hospital on your own simply by signing out and signing back in again when you return. You will be expected to return by a particular time. Sometimes that might be just an hour, or in other cases you are permitted to leave until the time that everyone must be back, which is usually early in the evening. It all depends on what your doctor decides is best for you.
How Long Do You Stay In A Mental Hospital For Depression?
This will vary from person to person but it can be anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The shortest amount of time I spent in hospital was 2 weeks and the longest was 4 weeks. The 2 week stay would have been longer if it wasn’t for a partial roof collapse during a storm, so they had to send some patients home as their rooms were no longer safe. That 2 week stay for me would have otherwise been closer to 4 weeks.
With all of the other patients I met during my stays in hospital, the average length of stay would have been between 2 and 4 weeks. There weren’t many that stayed longer than 4 weeks.
My Advice On Being In Hospital For Depression
During my time fighting against depression and anxiety, I have been in 3 different hospitals for a total of 4 stays. The first time I was admitted, I was extremely frightened as I had no idea what to expect and only feared the worst. When I was checking in they took away my belt, my shoelaces and anything else that they considered to be potentially dangerous. The nurse spent a decent amount of time running me through all of the rules and expectations, and also showing me where everything is and giving me some idea on what to expect during my stay.
The thing that I found during all of my hospital stays was that you are surrounded by people who understand. So much of the time we spend outside of hospital is spent dealing with people who don’t understand what we are going through and we are often avoiding showing or telling how we feel because we fear that people just won’t get it. In hospital, you have the entire staff that understands mental illness, but on top of that you are also surrounded by other patients all who are battling their own mental illness who completely understand what it is like. I found that once you make a few friends or just get talking to people, you can relax and be yourself and talk about your struggles openly because the other person completely understands.
Another thing you should actively participate in while in hospital are the daily therapy sessions. You have plenty of spare time while in hospital, so you should make use of that time by participating in the group therapy. Some hospitals will run daily courses on coping strategies such as CBT (cognitive behavior therapy) and ACT (acceptance commitment therapy) as well as various other methods that can help you to get on top of your mental illness. They also run programs that are designed to help you adjust and cope with being back home again when the time comes to check out of hospital.
Your doctor will see you most days while you are in hospital, and the nursing staff will see you multiple times per day. This is a great opportunity to talk to a professional about your problems and struggles, and also get advice on adjusting to being in hospital.
All in all, in my experience, being in hospital was never a bad thing. When you reach the point where you need to be in hospital then you should not hesitate to check yourself in. Remember, the hospital and the staff are there to help you.