Psych ward vs mental hospital, people are often confused between the two. Are there any differences?
Although the phrases “psych ward” and “mental hospital” can be used interchangeably, there are some distinctions between the two. The term “psych ward,” short for “psychiatric ward,” often refers to a hospital department that treats patients with severe mental health problems.
In contrast, a mental hospital is a setting that focuses on the care of people with mental illnesses and frequently offers them long-term care. However, these terminologies might vary based on the settings and place. Hence, it is crucial to define each term in a specific circumstance.
In this blog, we will discuss the following topics to learn about psych ward vs mental hospital in detail:
What is a psych ward?
What is a mental hospital?
Difference between mental hospital vs psych ward
Why do people go to psych wards?
Why do people go to mental hospitals?
What is a Psych Ward?
Previously, the psych ward used to be a secluded area of the hospital, where people with severe mental illness stayed until their condition stabilized.
The psych ward is a step up from an offensive term, “Insane Asylum.” In the previous notion of society, the psych ward was a place referred to as a dark and gloomy space where people with mental illness were treated harshly and detained against their will. However, with the introduction of modernization and advanced medical sciences, the psych ward meaning and definition changed over time.
As time passed and the stigmatization of people with mental illness dropped drastically, now it is a place that provides 24×7 surveillance to ensure patient’s security and well-being. Patients receive the utmost medical attention and psychological care until the time their conditions have been stabilized. Afterward, they are referred to a mental hospital inpatient or outpatient facility.
After careful examination and assessment of the patients, the doctors devise a treatment plan that supports their physical and mental well-being. This is one of the major differences between a mental hospital vs psych ward.
Why do people go to psych wards? People with mental illness may suffer from a distorted sense of reality, and that is one of the challenges they face in terms of their mental health. These challenges include but are not limited to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, suicidal tendencies, depression, etc. Psych wards have around-the-clock medical and mental health professionals who are responsible for closely monitoring the patients being and mental health. After understanding what is a psych ward, let’s learn about another mental health care facility – a mental hospital.
What is a Mental Hospital?
People committed to mental hospitals are usually there for a longer period as opposed to the Psych wards. A mental hospital is an inpatient facility with a high level of psychiatric supervision by professional licensed staff. These mental hospitals may keep patients for 30 days or several months until their conditions improve and help them in their mental well-being to perform their day-to-day tasks.
Why do people go to mental hospitals? Well, these facilities offer different levels of care that may include residential hospitalization, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, etc. People seeking psychiatric medical attention commit themselves voluntarily and are ready for intensive mental health programs.
Compared to the psych wards, these mental hospital patients have some level of freedom. These facilities have larger campuses where patients can walk with guided supervision. These mental hospitals are welcoming and warm spaces where patients can relax and feel comfortable. They also offer outpatient care that does not take place in a hospital-like setting, in which the patients are not required to live in the facility throughout their treatment.
Mental Hospital vs. Pysch Wards: The Comparison
Both mental hospitals and psych wards offer intensive care to people dealing with mental health issues. They both have therapeutic services like group therapy sessions, individual counseling, and psychiatric medical care. They both focus on the well-being of the patients by providing 24×7 surveillance & security and ensuring that the patients do not harm themselves or others around them. Yet, they are different on one level or another.
Mental Hospital vs. Psych Wards: The Difference
Let’s go through a few of the key differences between the two:
The psych ward’s primary focus is on the rapid stabilization of the patient’s mental health rather than sustained improvement of their overall mental and medical health.
These psych wards, after the containment of the severe mental dysphoria, transfer the patients to the mental health facilities for prolonged treatment and sustainable improvement of the mental health.
Why Do People Go to Psych Wards?
The psych wards offer level 1 support in mitigating the severity of the mental disorders. Sometimes, people struggling with mental disorders are a danger to themselves as well as their loved ones.
These psych wards act as the first step towards the stabilization of the patients. The suicidal tendencies, violent behavior, and distorted reality with hallucinations, depression, and mania need immediate intervention.
Hence, people need to go to the psych wards for instant relief and stabilization of their mental condition.
These are the facilities that come after the first step of the stabilization. After the smooth transition from the psych wards, patients receive the next level of treatment for their progressive improvement.
The mental health professional then carefully examines the patient’s needs and curates a treatment plan. With a broader range of services such as EMDR therapy, patients witness long-term success in maintaining their mental health.
These mental health hospitals have only one focus – that is to help people with mental health disorders maintain their quality of life. It also helps them mitigate the disruptions mental illness causes in their day-to-day life.
Why Do People Go To Mental Hospital?
After the first level of containment is completed, these patients need aftercare. With holistic therapeutic approaches, group therapy sessions, etc., these people witness long-term betterment and improved quality of life.
These mental hospitals provide different levels of services. It can be decided by a trained licensed professional. Here are a few of the services that mental hospitals may provide to patients:
- Residential Treatment Program in which the people live in an inpatient facility throughout their treatment. They receive 24×7 supervision, all-day treatment regimes, healthy and nutritious meals, structured activities for managing stress levels, etc., every day.
- Partial Hospitalization Programs are a very popular program. In this, the patients only need to visit the facility when their treatment is in the session. They don’t need to be there for supervision 24×7. After the treatment cycle is over, the patients can go back to their homes or any supported residential facility.
- Intensive Outpatient Program is also a very popular program. The patients have extra freedom because after the treatment session is done for the day, they can go on with their lives. They can work, attend school/college, and be a part of their healthy social circle.
Benefits of the Mental Hospital
Recognizing the need to commit to a mental hospital is one of the most challenging tasks for a person, but it is crucial to understand the gravity of the situation. Here are some of the benefits of the mental hospital a person can expect during their treatment.
- Personalized Care
After carefully examining the needs and medical history of the patient, the mental health professional curates a personalized treatment plan. It is in accordance with the patient’s specific needs. These professionals change their course of action in terms of the treatment, for prolonged and long-term improvement of the patient’s mental health.
- Comprehensive Support
Comprehensive support or an informed treatment approach eases the patient’s stress levels. It helps the patients understand what is happening and how they benefit from the treatment that they are receiving.
- Scope of Service
A vast majority of mental healthcare facilities provide family, group, and individual therapy. Additionally, they deliver services that include bio-sound therapy, neurofeedback therapy, red light therapy, and Spravato treatment.
How Can I Tell I Need to Go to A Psych Ward?
One of the most important things we need to comprehend before checking ourselves into a psych ward is how to make a well-informed decision and recognize the seriousness of the problem. It’s not an easy choice, but one that needs to be made after giving it much thought. Simply said, the optimum moment to seek help is when it is interfering with your everyday life and endangering the welfare of your loved ones. The following symptoms could be some indications:
- Suicidal Tendencies or Self Harm: Losing loved ones is one of the most upsetting experiences anyone can have. Some of the most alarming signs that you need immediate help are plans or thoughts of suicide, efforts at self-harm, or even actual attempts at self-harm.
- Homicidal Thoughts or Actions: Feeling angry is normal, but feeling angry to the point that makes you lose control which results in homicidal behavior, says a lot about a person’s mental health. These are the times when you should seek immediate help.
- Severe Psychiatric Symptoms: Hallucinations, depression, delusion, etc., are some of the major indicators when you should know that you seek a professional mental health practitioner. It is enough to make your daily life a living hell.
- Inability to self-love or self-care: When times are hard, we often feel lost. Being unable to perform basic essential tasks like personal hygiene, eating, and skipping your medications are the key indicators of when you should commit to a mental health facility.
- Rapid deterioration: Keeping our living habits in mind, we all feel stressed out from time to time. It is normal to feel that way, but being unable to manage the stress levels and sudden decline in mental health is the time you should consider professional help.
What Happens Once I am Admitted to a Psych ward?
Once you are admitted to a psych ward, you will receive care and treatment according to your condition until you are stable enough to go back to your family and into the community. Usually, patients are required to stay in the ward for several days to weeks, based on their symptoms and progress.
Patients receive individualized care and treatment plans according to their condition because there are different types of psychiatric disorders. Patients receive treatments, including medications to family and group therapy sessions as per the disorder or condition they are suffering from.
So, once you are admitted to a psychiatric ward, you are assessed by a team of medical professionals. They will determine and diagnose the appropriate course of action as per your condition and symptoms. They can also run physical examinations and lab tests to identify any medical problems that may cause similar symptoms.
A psychiatrist will discuss your psychiatric history and the symptoms you are facing, in detail. After carefully evaluating your condition, they will prescribe medications and treatment to ease your symptoms and make you feel more comfortable.
We hope that after going through the information given above, you can understand the difference between a psych ward vs mental hospital and the care provided in both facilities. Taking care of your mental health is your utmost responsibility. Gone are the days when you have the fear of being a social outcast because nobody recognizes the importance of mental well-being.
Today, professionals are ready to help and lift you from the condition. Managing stress levels and understanding the severity of your condition is not hard in modern times. You don’t have to suffer alone because of the social stigmata, and talking about mental health is no more a taboo. We hope that after understanding the difference between a mental hospital vs a psych ward, you will be able to make an informed decision for yourself or your loved ones.