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Schizophrenia: When Hospital Care is Needed

People living with schizophrenia sometimes have to spend time in the hospital. This can be because severe symptoms are making it hard for them to take care of themselves. It can also happen because they are heading towards risky behaviors that could lead to injury or death.

You may have to go to the hospital if you:

  • Are having a psychotic episode (when you can't tell the difference between what is real and what is not real)

  • Talk about suicide or hurting yourself or others

  • Have severe medicine side effects that are best treated in a hospital setting

  • Need special tests

  • Need to change or adjust your medicines

  • Have problems with drug or alcohol abuse

  • Need a special medical procedure, such as electroconvulsive therapy

Healthcare providers will try to find the best way to get you back to your family and community as soon as possible.

How family members and friends can help

Sometimes there is conflict about receiving treatment in a hospital. In this case, you need to think about your loved one's legal rights. States have laws that protect people who have mental health problems from being forced to go to a hospital or get treatment. These laws are different in each state. Get to know the laws in your state.

Sometimes you and your loved one’s treatment team know that they need to be in the hospital for their own safety. In such cases, you may need to work with your loved one’s treatment team to have your loved one admitted to the hospital, even though they may not want to go. This is a very difficult thing to do. But in some cases, it might be the only thing you can do to keep your loved one safe from harm or from harming others. In the hospital, your loved one will get treatment to help relieve symptoms and ease the danger. 

Do you have thoughts about suicide?

If you or a loved one has thoughts about death or suicide, call 911 or the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) and press 1, or use other emergency services. Or you can chat with a trained counselor online at

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 3/1/2019
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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