What it’s like to be hospitalized for depression

What it’s like to be hospitalized for depression

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Sen. John Fetterman made headlines in mid-February when his spokesman announced that the Pennsylvania Democrat was being hospitalized for depression.

Adam Jenterson issued a statement on Twitter saying Fetterman admitted himself to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was being treated for clinical depression. “While John has experienced depression on and off throughout his life, it has only become severe in recent weeks,” the statement read. “After examining John, Walter Reed’s doctors informed us that John is receiving the care he needs and will be back to himself soon.”

The senator’s wife, Giselle Fetterman, also tweeted about her husband’s hospitalization, writing: “After what has happened over the past year, there is probably no one who wants to talk about his health more than John … and I am so proud of him for asking for help and getting the care he needs.”

Fetterman suffered a stroke last May and was elected in November. His office said in early February that he went to George Washington University Hospital after feeling dizzy. He was released from the hospital two days later.

But news of his treatment has raised a lot of questions — and confusion — about what it means to be hospitalized for depression. Patients who have undergone this treatment, as well as doctors, explained.

What is inpatient treatment for depression?

Dr. Thea Gallagher, a clinical assistant professor at NYU Langone Health and co-host of the “Mind Watch” podcast, said, “Mental health treatments typically fall into two camps: outpatients, and when you’re in their offices, you see When you go to a therapist, and inpatient, which is where you receive care in a facility, “inpatient care means you need a higher level of care than you would receive in an outpatient setting, which could be once a week or even less than that. “

People who enter hospital care generally do so because they feel they are in a crisis situation, not as stable as they think they are, a danger to themselves or others, or unable to carry out daily activities, Gallagher explained.

“In an inpatient setting, the nursing environment is much more intensive than outpatient treatment,” said Dr. Eric Chang, interim chief medical officer at UCLA Stewart and Lynda-Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital.

On a fundamental level, Elizabeth Shultz, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, “inpatient care usually means overnight stays in a psychiatric facility, more intensive treatment — assessment and testing , psychotherapy, medication management, providing a safe environment in times of mental health crisis, and a team to help coordinate planning and care outside of the hospital,” said Dr.

A person can be admitted to hospital voluntarily, that is, they decide to admit themselves, or they can be admitted involuntarily if they “think you are a danger to yourself or others,” “usually at the discretion of a medical professional,” Center for Anxiety and Women’s Emotional Health Clinical psychologist Hilary Armon.

What is inpatient treatment like?

It is mostly customized based on the patient’s needs, Zhang said. Because of this, everyone’s experience — every treatment center — is slightly different.

But in general, “there’s a combination and a range of group therapy,” he says. “Patients typically meet in small groups for different types of activities and rehabilitation, followed by one-on-one sessions with doctors, therapists and nurses.”

Patients are assigned to a treatment team that includes a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse, social workers, paramedics and other mental health professionals, Schultz said. In addition to individual and group therapy, “there may be educational sessions — about medication, nutrition, or physical activity,” she says. “There are often regular visiting hours and other opportunities for additional rest, reflection or relaxation throughout the day.”

The treatment team will meet with the patient to discuss ongoing evaluations, symptoms, treatment recommendations, readiness for discharge and next steps after hospitalization, Schultz said. “While medication is often prescribed or discussed, being committed to a mental hospital doesn’t automatically mean you have to take it,” she said. “For many people, medication may be beneficial due to the severity or cause of the symptoms leading to hospitalization. However, there are of course some individuals for whom medication is not part of their treatment plan.”

The length of hospital stay can vary depending on the patient’s needs, but Amon said it usually ranges from two to 14 days.

Everything around me is starting to crumble

Allison Krawiec-Thayer said she spent six days in hospital in 2018 for developing depression when she and her spouse moved to a new city. “One day, after weeks of growing anxiety and depression, everything started falling apart around me,” she says. “My mind turned to a darker place than before, and the sense of hopelessness was very deep. Even though I hadn’t planned or tried anything, I knew it was time to go to hospital.”

Kravitz-Taye said she was “definitely sad” in the first few days of her treatment. “I remember crying into my spouse’s chest in a Lyft on the way to the emergency room,” she said. “I call home every day to remind myself that I’m headed in the right direction.”

Her treatment is rooted in dialectical behavior therapy, a form of therapy designed for people experiencing intense emotions. “We have group sessions, from talk therapy to making music together,” she says. “There is free time outdoors in the casino on the roof of the building. I play cards and watch movies with other patients,” she said.

Krawiec-Thayer said she has had a visit from a therapy dog, had a tai chi group in the morning and was able to meet and pray with a priest. “I also meet with members of my medical team every day to discuss medication and how I’m feeling,” she said. “The nice thing about inpatient treatment is that I really have nothing else to worry about and can fully focus on my treatment.

I circle the food I want on the menu and it appears. I don’t have to do laundry or clean up. If I’m having a panic attack, I can ask the nurse to sit next to me. My phone isn’t there because it’s a constant distraction and external pull. I have the space to do what I need to do, so I can get back from the hospital Came out brand new.”
“Ultimately, I knew it was the right choice for me,” Krawiec-Thayer said.

What are the signs that someone may need hospital treatment?

The severity of a person’s symptoms matters, Gallagher said, including how much it affects their functioning. “If people are actively, severely suicidal, or their functioning is affected — they don’t go to work or school — an hour of therapy a week won’t have the same effect as hospitalization,” she said. “You need a higher dose of care.”

“Hospitalization may also be recommended when more rapid diagnosis, treatment, or coordinated services are required due to the severity of symptoms,” Schultz said.

Hospitalization should be normal, doctors stress

There’s a lot of stigma surrounding hospitalization for depression, and Fetterman’s recent decision shows that despite progress in the way Americans broadly view mental health, the stigma persists. On Twitter, people labeled him a “mentally unstable” and “psychologically disabled” patient, among other things.

People seeking inpatient care are often aware of the stigma. The novelist Wednesday-Lee-Friday told Yahoo Lifestyle that when she sought hospital treatment after a suicide attempt 26 years ago, she felt a “vague sense of shame that I should be able to handle this without being hospitalized.” “I eventually realized it was like telling a diabetic to control their blood sugar by thinking about it,” she says. “Illness needs treatment — full stop.”

It is important to normalize all treatment of depression, whether inpatient or outpatient, doctors say. “Depression is a very common disorder and diagnosis,”

Zhang said. “It’s part of the human body. If you have pneumonia and you need help to breathe, you go to the hospital. If you have a heart attack, you go to the hospital. The same goes for depression. If you have severe depression and you need help , you should seek medical treatment.”

Amon agrees with this. “Hospitalization is necessary for some people, whether it’s short-term care for stabilization or long-term treatment,” she said. “This higher level of care can save lives.”

Krawiec-Thayer said she has “growth and transformed” since her hospitalization. “It was also a more nurturing experience than I expected,” she said. “The media sometimes makes it stressful, but, to be honest, my experience was super peaceful and healing.”