By Chris Bonine
When the hospital doors close behind you for the first time, it often feels more like the beginning of a prison stint than the start of a journey to recovery. The immediate deprivation of personal choice and the creature comforts of private life only seem to reinforce this perception. So do the round-the-clock surveillance and the long stretches with little more to do than watch television and speak with your peers.
Despite this, stays on acute psychiatric wards often occur at important crossroads in life — during periods of overwhelming stress or insurmountable grief, for instance. And while the psychiatric ward does a good job in securing the individual from harm to self or others, it can also provide them the time and space to improve other areas of life if they choose to do so.
Here are a few tips to help a patient make the most of a stay on an acute psychiatric ward, so that the “first day of the rest of your life” is a healthier one, as well.
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