Since the closure and downsizing of most large state hospitals in the past few decades, inpatient hospitalizations have become increasingly brief (a few days to a few weeks)and crisis-focused. Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) place the average length of stay for a psychiatric admission between seven and ten days. But those numbers are a bit misleading, because they include people who’ve been admitted to state hospitals for extended periods (months to years). In reality, an admission could be as brief as a day to a few days.
The major reasons why someone will become hospitalized, either voluntarily or against their will, are because she is believed to be actively suicidal, homicidal, or so disabled as a result of her psychiatric condition that she cannot provide for her basic needs. If one of these conditions is not met, even if a person is willing to be voluntarily admitted for stabilization of active symptoms, insurers may argue that medical necessity has not been met and may refuse or question paying for the admission.