This is the 2007 version. Click here for the 2017 chapter 14 table of contents.

Psychiatric Rehabilitation

So far we have talked about "rehabilitation psychology" (rehabilitation counseling) not psychiatric rehabilitation. Note the distinction: rehabilitation psychology is used for medical problems of any type (lupus, head injuries, heart disease) while psychiatric rehabilitation is used with so-called "psychiatric patients" who are preparing to re-enter the world outside the hospital.

Under what circumstances is a person admitted to a neuropsychiatric ward of a hospital?

A person who seems to present a "clear and present danger" to others or to himself or herself, perhaps threatening suicide, may be committed to the neuropsychiatric ward of a hospital. The term neuropsychiatric shows the underlying assumption that mental disorders are, at root, problems with the nervous system. However, it is behaviors and inferred mental states that lead to psychiatric ward hospital admissions. A person with a diseased brain who coped well with living and presented no danger to self or others would not be found in a neuropsychiatric ward.

From the time a person is involuntarily committed to a neuropsychiatric ward to the time the person is discharged (a minimum of three days, in the United States) efforts are made to address the crisis. In that sense, the entire time spent in the hospital is devoted to psychiatric rehabilitation. Most hospital psychiatric wards do not regard themselves as long-term care facilities for severely deteriorated schizophrenics with no prospect for recovery. Most hospital psychiatric wards are acute care facilities, meaning they treat emergencies and short-term disorders. A person who fails to respond to treatment is likely to be discharged to a long-term care facility.


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