Hospitalization on a psychiatric ward can, for many people, be extremely traumatizing. This can be compounded by being admitted on an involuntary basis. In addition to the feelings of fear, helplessness, and powerlessness this can cause, many people with bipolar talk about the emotional pain of being treated as a child and of being talked down to by family and professionals.
Ways to regain a sense of control can include:
• Being clear with friends and family about what your preferences are should you have a relapse and require inpatient hospitalization
• Completing psychiatric advance directives
• Insist on being treated as an adult
• Familiarizing yourself with the hospital’s “Patient Rights and Responsibilities.” This is a piece of paper given to all patients at the point of admission. It clearly spells out what your legal rights are while you are in the hospital.
• Asking for clarification if something is not clear to you. This can include unfamiliar medications as well as concerns you might have about your treatment.