When Hospitalization Is Needed for Depression
What Are Your Rights Regarding Hospitalization for Depression? continued...
When in the hospital, you may face restrictions designed to keep you and other patients safe. Even if you are admitted to the hospital on a voluntary basis, you may not be able to leave whenever you want. The hospital may strictly control visits from family and friends and limit the items you can take in with you like cell phones or laptop computers. Sharp objects like razors that you may bring with you will usually be kept by staff in a safe place, and you may be asked to not wear shoe laces or belts. You may be on a locked ward for at least some of your stay. You may also be expected to follow a certain schedule. While the restrictions can be hard to accept, keep in mind that they are in place for the safety of you and the other patients.
Some health insurance policies will cover hospitalization for a limited amount of time. Others won't cover it at all. Before a person can be hospitalized, some insurers require that he or she be evaluated by an evaluator under contract with their company. Very few insurers will cover a hospital stay for depression that isn't an emergency.
While in the hospital you will usually be seen by one or more psychiatrists or a physician's assistant daily, although such one-on-one visits in the hospital tend to be brief. Formal individual psychotherapy generally doesn't occur while in the hospital, although various forms of group therapy are common, focusing on strategies such as stress management, coping with depression, and discussions about medications and their side effects.
Keep in mind that most hospital stays for depression are brief and voluntary. The goal of hospitalization is to get you on the right track by starting treatments that can be continued on an outpatient basis. When you leave the hospital you should be safe and stable and on the path to recovery.