Psychiatric hospital

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Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental hospitals, are hospitals specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders. Psychiatric hospitals vary widely in their goals and methods. Some hospitals may specialise only in short-term or outpatient therapy for low-risk patients. Others may specialise in the temporary or permanent care of residents who, as a result of a psychological disorder, require routine assistance, treatment, or a specialised and controlled environment. Patients are often admitted on a voluntary basis, but involuntary commitment is practiced when an individual may pose a significant danger to themselves or others.[citation needed]

Contents

History

Modern psychiatric hospitals evolved from, and eventually replaced the older lunatic asylums. The development of the modern psychiatric hospital is also the story of the rise of organised, institutional psychiatry. While there were earlier institutions that housed the 'insane' the arrival of institutionalisation as a solution to the problem of madness was very much an event of the nineteenth century. To illustrate this with one regional example, in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century there were, perhaps, a few thousand 'lunatics' housed in a variety of disparate institutions but by 1900 that figure had grown to about 100,000. That this growth coincided with the growth of alienism, later known as psychiatry, as a medical specialism is not coincidental.[1]

The treatment of inmates in lunatic asylums was often brutal,[citation needed] focused on containment and restraint.[citation needed] With successive waves of reform, and the introduction of effective evidence-based treatments,[citation needed] modern psychiatric hospitals provide a primary emphasis on treatment, and attempt where possible to help patients control their own lives in the outside world,[citation needed] with the use of a combination of psychiatric drugs and psychotherapy. These treatments can be involuntary and are questioned by the Anti-Psychiatric movement. Most psychiatric hospitals now restrict internet access and any device that can take photos.

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