This article will take you into two parts: Hospitalization & Recovery. Here are some useful tips/guidelines go assist you in understanding what to expect into hospitalization, and the processes of recovery.
Despite your best efforts, break through mood episodes may land you in a hospital or psychiatric facility, perhaps against your will. Hospitalization may be traumatic, but it’s also the first step towards regaining both your mental health and your freedom from debilitating symptoms of bipolar disorder.
COMING TO TERMS WITH HOSPITALIZATION
Few people enjoy spending time in a hospital, but there is an upside. In addition to being a possible lifesaver, hospitalization gives you an opportunity to achieve some important goals. In a hospital letting, you have the opportunity to:
· Recover in a relatively safe place
· Escape from daily responsibilities, stressors, and triggers
· Focus your energy on getting healthier
· Stabilize your medications or switch to more effective medications
· Engage in therapy to develop better coping skills
· Find out about community-based services and supports that can help you after you’re released
· Give your loved ones time to space to seek help for themselves
KNOWING WHAT TO EXPECT
Knowing how a psychiatric facility operates before you’re admitted to one can help alleviate the anxiety that accompanies hospitalization, especially if you’re hospitalized against your will. In the follow, a description on what to expect is explained. Keep in mind every facility is different and every experience is unique.
· Seeing The Doctor- Waiting to see the doctor, especially when you’re first admitted and when you’re about to be released, is probably the most frustrating part of a hospital stay. Doctors normally make their rounds once every 24 hours, so if you enter the facility on Friday afternoon, you may have to wait until Saturday afternoon to see the doctor and a little longer before you start getting medications you need. That can seem like an eternity when you’re locked up, manic or depressed, and not thinking clearly.
· Adjusting your medications- The doctor’s first order of business is to evaluate your condition and prescribe medication. Because your symptoms were serious enough to land you in the hospital, you can expect to take a heavier-than-normal dose of first-line medications. If you’re taking medications that have a relatively poor track record for treatment acute mania or depression or that may be worsening your symptoms, the doctor may discontinue them and try something else.
· Engaging In Therapy- Most facilities provide individual and group therapy sessions that begin at about 9:00 am and continue into the early evening. In short, expect a fairly full schedule. Therapy sessions may include patient education, coping skills, reflection, spirituality, pet therapy, group or community sessions, mindfulness training, and other individual adjunctive therapies. Most facilities offer some form of family support, too, to help your loved ones better understand what’s going on and strengthen their communication and problem-solving skills.
· Looking Into Restraint Policies- Federal regulations (in the U.S.) mandate that hospitals use restrains only when “absolutely necessary” using the “least restrictive alternative.” Some facilities and personnel are better than others in using behavioral skills (such as listening closely to patients, responding to their concerns and needs, and staying calm while encouraging patients to use self-soothing strategies) to manage aggressive and violent behaviors without the use of restraint or seclusion, but when these efforts fail, facility staff may restrain a patient by using one or both the following means:
*Physical Restraints-Any method of restricting a person’s power of movement or activity
*Chemical Restraints-Sedating psychotropic medication that’s not part of the standard
treatment for the person’s condition
Hospitals should use restraints rarely and only as a last resort when all other interventions have failed.
· Exploring Variations In Visiting Hours- Visiting hours at psychiatric facilities vary considerably. At some facilities you can have visitors only on specific days. Other have daily visiting times that include one or more house in the evening. Some of the more liberal facilities have two visiting sessions – one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Visitation policies that allow visitors to drop in any time are rare.
· Knowing About How Long You’ll Stay- According to the American Psychiatric Association, the average stay for adults in psychiatric facilities in the U.S. is 12 days. For many adults, their stay last just a few days – just long enough to intervene in the crisis, give the medication time to take effect, and schedule outpatient treatment for the day following discharge. In short, the days of three-to-six month hospital stays are over.
This covers the portion on hospitalization. In part 2, we will cover the portion on Recovery (being released from the hospital), and what to expect.
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Source: Bipolar Disorder for Dummies