What is a psych ward vs a mental hospital? They have definite similarities as well as differences. Knowing which one you or someone you love may need can help you make important decisions about the care required. Some people need the temporary and emergency care a psych ward can provide. Other people need more long-term and goal-oriented care from a mental health hospital or outpatient facility. Either way, it’s important to understand what each type of program provides and when it’s beneficial to seek that type of care. 

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What Is a Psych Ward?

Psychiatric wards, often called psych wards, commonly refer to facilities or hospitals someone checks into for a short period of time. The individual is experiencing a mental health crisis and needs crisis management level care. The person may check in willingly or be committed involuntarily, often at the order of a court system or medical expert. This may be because they have become a danger to themselves or other people. 

Psych wards provide 24/7 security to ensure the person does not leave before they are cleared to do so. Each patient receives medical and psychological care around the clock. Some may be heavily sedated after they arrive in order to protect them or help them return to a more regulated state of mind. A full assessment is made of each patient in order to understand their current state of mind and history of mental illness. From there, a treatment plan can be devised both in terms of their stay in the psych ward and follow-up care once they leave. 

Someone committed to a psych ward may be dealing with several types of challenges to their mental health. These include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and suicidal feelings or attempts. They may also have experienced drug-induced episodes related to mental health disorders. 

What Is a Mental Hospital?

A mental hospital commonly refers to a place that treats people who are not experiencing a severe mental health crisis that puts themselves or others at risk. Mental hospitals usually treat patients for 30 days or more, depending on their needs. Some may reside in them for several months. Outpatient mental hospitals are often called treatment facilities if they do not take place in a medical-type hospital. They can offer intensive care that takes place in daily therapy sessions but does not require the person to live in the facility. People who seek treatment in mental hospitals do so voluntarily. 

Psych Ward vs. Mental Hospital: How Do They Compare?

Psych wards and mental hospitals both provide high levels of care for a variety of mental health disorders. including treatment for dual diagnosis disorders. The staff for each type of facility includes experienced psychological and medical experts who understand the challenges mental illness can cause. Options included in both places include medications, therapy services, and help planning for the next steps in treatment. 

However, there are some basic differences. Psych wards are often small in terms of the size of the facility, while mental hospitals tend to have more space. They also offer a wider range of services, including multiple types of therapy designed to improve mental health. Types of therapy commonly offered include individual, group, and family therapy. Many also offer options like holistic therapy and trauma-based therapy that expand beyond talk therapy.

Psych wards focus more on just stabilizing a person so that they are safe and ready to transition into a mental hospital, outpatient care, or another type of treatment. They provide the first step in stabilizing a person in crisis. Mental hospitals focus more on the long-term benefits of the treatments they provide. Effective and lasting results can be achieved over several weeks or months. Mental hospitals also offer more freedom, rather than the feeling of being in lockdown and the fears that may come with that. 

Treatments Available in Mental Hospitals 

Mental hospitals start off treatment for each patient by providing a full assessment. They diagnose any mental health disorders they have and take into account any previous history of treatment. A medical exam can also be done to help provide a full picture of each patient’s needs. From there, a treatment plan that fits their exact needs can be designed. This will include choosing which therapy programs will likely provide the best results.

Additionally, mental hospital clinicians can prescribe any needed medications to help control the symptoms of a mental illness. Furthermore, they can monitor the person’s usage of meds and any side effects they experience over a longer period of time. Adjustments in dosages and types of medications can be made. 

Find Professional Treatment for Mental Health in Atlanta, GA

One of the most precious things anyone can have is good mental health. When difficulties arise, you want to know what sort of help you need. Stereotypes and assumptions abound when it comes to a psych ward vs. a mental hospital. New View Wellness in Atlanta provides compassionate, expert care in our mental health facilities. Our outpatient programs offer modern, effective care designed to help you improve any challenging mental health disorders you may have.

If you would like more information about how our programs work, we are happy to answer any questions you have. Contact us now to see how we can help you achieve better mental health.