Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What happens when I check myself into the hospital?

What are your days like?
How long do you stay?
Are there any rules?
Do you get your own room?
Hospital staff nice to you?
Can you just go home on when you want?

What happened when you took your loved one?

(I want to go to the hospital and get a more in-depth support and information. I need information on what my life is going to be like! I am freaking out!

This is a New diagnosis.

I feel weekly psychiatric visits are not going to cut it. Plus, I read my medical records a few days ago…and, some stuff they write down is not what I said. I guess they missed or misunderstood things when they are typing while you talk.

But, it was nice to hear my doctors compliment me. They thought I was very pretty and looked younger than my age! Hahahahah!)

All hospitals are different depending on where they are and who is running them and also what kind of insurance is paying the bill. The questions you are asking are best answered by someone working at the exact hospital you want to check yourself into.

People commonly go to a therapist or psychiatric doctor for more “in depth support and information” about their diagnosis. The hospital is usually reserved for patients who might be a danger to themselves or others or for patients being introduced to a new medicine or coming off of a medicine that needs careful monitoring.

Maybe whoever diagnosed you recently could give you some further direction and some more information. I wish you well.

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There are some interesting threads about this in the diagnosed forum. I suggest you visit this forum for a broader range and more recent descriptions.

As @Catherine says experiences vary. I think it’s often a totally different experience if you self-admit than if you go against your will. You often bring out of it what you bring in and your attitude will color the experience. It is indeed a mental hospital, because your experience there will be colored by the state of your mind.

I’ll answer your questions based on my experience from a week long visit 35 years ago. I have visited people in the hospital here and there over the years and things don’t seem to have changed much. The only difference is that at least in the US there are relatively few “mental hospitals” anymore. Now you go to a regular hospital and stay in a Psychiatric ward. Personally I think this is a good thing, because it destigmatizes things. There’s really no reason to distinguish between types of illness so much so that mental illness treatment requires a jail-like setting.

A typical day for me was comprised of breakfast in a cafeteria. I could have coffee along with standard breakfast fare. The rest of the day was comprised of group ‘activities’ which could be games, listening to music, arts and crafts, outdoor activities and so on. I played cards with a volunteer on my second day there and she was surprised that I’d only been there only one night. There was free time as well where you could socialize with fellow patients. I don’t recall any group therapy and contact with the psychiatrist was very minimal. I spoke more with a case manager/social worker than anyone else aside from the nurses and other staff.

We had day trips. I went to a mall and a local attraction with a group. I also had a pass to leave to grounds with my parents to see my psychologist.

You stay as long as is needed. At my hospital there was sort of a patient-run group meeting where they discussed people leaving the hospital. I think it was a bit of a rubber-stamp affair, but I think if you are admitted voluntarily and your insurance and the hospital was willing to give you a bed, you could stay as long or as little as you like.

There were rules. Generally, you need to follow staff requests and smoke in designated places, refrain from stealing and fighting from fellow patients and staff, there was also a no fraternization rule. People were generally punished by losing privileges and being put in isolation in time-out rooms.

I shared a dormitory-style room with another patient. The ward was separated by sex in two wings.

The staff are nice to you if you are nice to them. I was generally nice to staff and other patients and they were generally nice to me,. If you misbehaved people became more cross and stern with you, which is understandable. I never saw staff mistreat or berate patients, even though some patients often mistreated and berated them. You will be treated well if you behave well.

In similar threads on the DX forum the experience was compared to being at summer camp or on a cruise. It was very much not what I expected, and most of my fear and trepidation came from outdated misrepresentations in movies and other media.

The best representation I’ve seen lately of the experience is from a two-part House episode called “Broken 1 & 2” I say House rather than House MD, because Dr. House had his medical license suspended while he was hospitalized. While highly dramatized, the episodes do a good job of breaking stereotypes of outdated and inaccurate portrayals made in film-- especially One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton and Moana fame plays a bipolar patient in it.

You don’t say what country you are in, but I’ll include a few links to videos of this which may be blocked outside of the US.


I think this is a fear we as careivers also have. What does and what will happen when our loved one
has to go to the hospital?
After my sons 1st hosptial stay which was an emergancy situation, we knew we didnt like that hosptial. ( hindsight is 2020) so before he got discharged I looked around for a Partial Hostialization program at a hopstial that had good reviews from patients and staff and brought him there for 3 months. It gave us a chance to check out the facility and Drs. and to see that if he were to get sick again that would be the place to go.
“Hope for the best but prepare for the worst” so to speak.
We now have a hosptial that he knows and agrees to go to if needed.
It has elevated the worry and fear a little.


Such a great report, Maggotbrane! Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences.

Where I receive care they always tell me…I can check myself into the hospital if I feel I need it. It made me curious.

You are welcome @Clarissa. I think it helps to demystify these things if you can. I hear a NAMI chapter in a nearby city meets in a room in the Psych ward of a local hospital. You may ask your contacts if you could tour or visit or volunteer at your local hospital so you could see what it is like.

These kinds of fears are common, I have an old friend whose wife works at a mental hospital. They knew me before I was hospitalized at a different hospital. She doesn’t get to talk about her job much because people aren’t interested, and this just reinforces all the negative and misinformed opinions people have of these places. So when I see her, she sometimes corners me and we have long conversations about her job.

She confided in me that for the longest time she was afraid of the isolation room that they had in her hospital. She imagined it was this horrifying place. After a year or so of working there, she plucked up her courage and went inside. It was just an ordinary mundane room with a soft mattress on the floor and soft wall coverings. Her imagination was so much scarier than the reality.

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