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If you or a loved one has experienced a mental health crisis, you know just how frightening it can be. When you are going through it, you may not know where to turn for help. You just assume a mental hospital is the only option, and reach for the phone to order a 5150. Read on to learn about the residential treatment program alternative to a mental hospital and a 5150.
Signs of a Mental Health Crisis
Sometimes the signs of a mental health crisis may appear without warning. Other times, though, they may be the result of a worsening mental illness. One thing is for sure, when these signs do appear they should not be ignored.
Here are some signs of a mental health crisis unfolding:
- Withdraw; stop communicating; detached.
- Become catatonic.
- Extreme mood swings.
- Odd body movements and positions.
- Insomnia, nightmares, night terrors.
- Lack of interest in life.
- Trouble thinking straight.
- Neglects hygiene.
- Unable to function at even basic daily tasks.
- Aggressive or violent behavior.
- Strange or inappropriate actions.
- Sudden and extreme weight loss or gain.
- Impulsive risky behaviors.
- Changes in personality.
- Psychotic symptoms, such as paranoia, hallucinations, or delusions.
- Increased substance abuse.
- Suicide threats or attempts.
What to Do In a Psychiatric Emergency
Sometimes, the mental health crisis is so severe that a 5150 72-hour hold is justified. A Code 5150 hold is a California psych hold for those who exhibit severe mental distress. The person is admitted to a hospital where they will be treated and observed for a three-day period.
However, many people in the midst of a mental health crisis are not in need of such an extreme response. These folks can receive acute stabilization and excellent care in a residential treatment center. When they enter a residential program, the person retains control over their life.
Benefits of Voluntary Admission to Mental Health Treatment
Yes, there are times when you must admit someone to treatment against their will. Someone who has severe psychosis or who is suicidal would benefit from a 5150 hold and being stabilized. This is also the case for someone whose mental state may pose a threat to others.
In all other cases, though, the benefits of voluntary admission far exceed sending a loved one without their consent. These include:
- More efficient. Choosing to enter a mental hospital or residential mental health program can be the most efficient option. This puts the patient in the driver’s seat and gets them the help they need quicker.
- Less stigma. There is reduced stigma attached to voluntary admission versus involuntary. Neighbors won’t witness you or a loved one being taken away against your will.
- More control. It is always better when the patient is in control of their desire and need for treatment. Being in control over their treatment decisions is empowering.
- More freedom. When someone admits themselves for treatment they are allowed to leave the facility at will. This is often not the case with a mental hospital.
- More engaged. The person will feel a sense of ownership about their treatment, leading to more engagement in their treatment. The more involved they are in treatment, the better the outcomes.
- Better outcomes. Patients who enter treatment of their own choice are more inclined to improve than those admitted against their will. This is because they want to get better, thus are more motivated and more cooperative.
- Shorter timeline. Voluntary admissions are often of shorter treatment duration than forced admissions.
- More cooperation. The relationship between the patient and the doctors assigned to them is less hostile with a voluntary admissions. The patient doesn’t see the doctors as their enemy keeping them there against their will.
The bottom line is that entering a residential treatment program by choice offers many benefits over forced admission.
Residential Mental Health Treatment For Psychiatric Crisis
Many people are not aware that mental health treatment is available in settings other than mental hospitals. While there are valid reasons for sending a loved one to a mental hospital, many could have other options. Consider a residential treatment program as an alternative to a mental hospital and 5150.
Residential mental health programs provide treatment for a full range of mental health disorders. These include:
- Anxiety disorders.
- Trauma disorder.
- Bipolar disorder.
- Personality disorders.
- Psychotic disorders.
- Dual diagnosis.
Residential mental health care includes the following treatment elements:
- Daily individual therapy sessions.
- Multiple group therapy sessions per week.
- Family therapy.
- EMDR for trauma therapy.
- Brain spotting.
- Recreational therapy.
- Nutritional counseling.
Transfer to Residential Mental Health Treatment Program From Hospital
There are those who indeed need treatment at a mental hospital during an acute phase of the mental health crisis. Someone that experiences an acute, brief mental health event may first require acute stabilization before entering a residential treatment program.
Acute stabilization services include:
- Assessment of presenting symptoms
- Evaluation of mental health history
- Physical exam
- Review current meds, and adjust meds as needed
- Around the clock supervision and psychiatric support
These patients can step down to a residential mental health program to complete their treatment. Residential programs provide a more comfortable, home-like setting for extended care needs, compared to a sterile hospital setting can be considered as an alternative to a mental hospital and 5150.
Residential Programs Offer Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Mental illness often co-occurs with substance use disorder, which is called a dual diagnosis. When someone has these co-occurring disorders, they will require a residential program that specializes in dual diagnosis treatment. It isn’t enough to only treat the psychiatric disorder, especially since some of the symptoms are triggered by the substance.
Mental Health Hope Can Guide You Toward Acute Stabilization Programs
Mental Health Hope is a free online resource that provides guidance for those seeking mental health support. Call us for a confidential telephone assessment for yourself or your loved one. Receive support and guidance on the proper level of care and inpatient mental health treatment options. Call (877) 967-9274.