Reasons to Consider Utilizing Behavioral Hospitals

By: Christine Hammond, LMHC

Ever wondered if a behavioral hospital might be a good idea? These facilities are designed to help: an out of control addict, an unusually intense manic episode, a desire and means to commit suicide, a severely abused victim, a troubled teen who threatens to harm others, an intense anger rage, a person hallucinating, or a sudden on-set of confusion and disorganized speech. This following is a list of benefits from hospitalization. 

1. Highlights the dysfunction. A severely depressed person may not even realize just how depressed and dangerously close they are to the edge of suicidality. Placing them in a hospital reinforces the severity of the dysfunction. 

2. Safe from harming self or others. On a very practical level, the behavioral hospitals provide a locked environment where a person is monitored by professionals. It is very difficult to duplicate this level of safety at home. 

3. Supervised detox. In some cases, such as with alcohol withdraw, detoxing can cause death. This is not the time to take a chance that the addict is being honest with the amount they consume or even what they have taken. Allow professionals to observe the withdraw process and make any necessary medical decisions if needed. 

4. Informs family members. Depending on the nature of the family environment at home, some many not even take threats of self-harm seriously. This lack of attention may even escalate a person to act out inappropriately. Hospitalization enlightens the family that there is a problem in need of addressing. 

5. Break from environment. Whatever is causing the issue, stepping outside of the environment can provide a new perspective. This may bring to light an addiction, a dysfunctional marriage, a reoccurring mental disorder, or a lack of proper pharmaceutical medication. 

 6. Time to rest. Some behavioral hospitals are better at providing a restful environment than others. Those that do have a peaceful atmosphere allow a person to sleep and interact at their own pace. Adequate amounts of sleep can naturally reset several disorders. 

7. Group dynamics. Most facilities have group therapy as part of the daily activities. A new perspective can be gained from sharing and listening to other’s stories. Sometimes a person minimizes a large issue or magnifies a small one. Group sessions allow everyone to examine their distortion. 

 8. Accurate diagnosis. The hospitals are staffed with professionals who see the same types of disorders on a daily basis. This is a unique opportunity to have a person initially evaluated, diagnosed and then monitored to ensure the diagnosis is correct. A process which could take several months outside a facility can be done within days inside. 

9. Proper medication. With some medication, the side-effects can be seen immediately. Trying a new drug in a monitored environment is far safer than at home. Accurate quantities of medication can be very useful in the treatment of some disorders. 

 10. Rock-bottom moment. Some people view needing hospitalization as a rock-bottom moment. This is a very necessary step in the treatment of addiction for instance, because without it, a person is likely to return to the dysfunctional behavior. 

11. Treatment plan. When a person is discharged from the hospital, a treatment plan is provided to the patient. These action steps guide a person in what to do next, what type of professional to obtain ongoing help, and medication recommendations. 

12. Legal requirements. Depending on the state or country a person lives, there may be laws in place mandating hospitalization. Mental health professionals are frequently required to strictly follow these guidelines or risk the loss of their license. A good indication that person needs hospitalization is when the law sets this standard. 

Note: Not all behavioral hospitals are created the same. It is a good idea to visit a facility before sending a person there and reviewing the variety of options prior to needing it. Each hospital caters to a different clientele, so there is also a need for understanding the uniqueness each provides.

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