What is voluntary hospitalization?

This simply refers to you being seen by a health care professional who then believes your care should be continued in the hospital. Most commonly, this situation arises when you are feeling hopeless, unable to function at work or at home, or sometimes when major changes in medication need to take place and such changes could not be accomplished at home as an outpatient safely and effectively.
Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine
Hospitalization of patients is necessary to protect them from themselves or to get them properly medicated. 

With voluntary hospitalization, the patient agrees to sign forms to be treated in the hospital. Someone who voluntarily agrees to treatment can voluntarily sign themselves out of the hospital. In fact, if someone who is hospitalized voluntarily wants to leave, the hospital must comply (depending on the laws of the state). Most psychiatric hospital stays are from 5 to 10 days. If someone wants to be released before that time and the hospital does not comply, the state's Protection and Advocacy agency may intervene.
Sometimes, people who have a severe mental health condition may need to be hospitalized for intensive treatment. This is usually done only when a person needs around-the-clock care to treat their condition and keep them safe. Voluntary hospitalization means the patient agrees to go and signs the appropriate consent forms to be treated in the hospital. People may stay in the hospital for days or weeks, depending on their needs. The patient may ask to leave early, but there may be a waiting period before the patient is discharged. 

Continue Learning about Living With Bipolar Disorder

How do I manage my bipolar disorder on a daily basis?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
It is essential for you to take all the medications your doctor has prescribed, as instructed. I...
More Answers
What are behavioral changes in people with bipolar disorder?
International Bipolar FoundationInternational Bipolar Foundation
Below are behavioral changes in people with bipolar disorder. Mania or a manic episode: Easil...
More Answers
How can bipolar disorder affect performance at school or work?
Ruth White, MPHRuth White, MPH
For those of us with bipolar disorder, work often gets disrupted as our lives and emotions get d...
More Answers
How can I stabilize my moods if I have bipolar disorder?
Ruth White, MPHRuth White, MPH
Recognizing triggers and tracking your moods are two of the most useful tools for stabilizing yo...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.