We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Acute Psychiatry?

Marjorie McAtee
By Marjorie McAtee
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Acute psychiatry is psychiatric intervention that typically occurs on an emergency basis. Patients who seek care from an acute psychiatry unit are usually suffering from sudden and severe psychiatric symptoms. Acute psychiatry usually seeks to ease patients' immediate symptoms and produce a treatment plan, whether the patient is released to return to their homes or committed into a long-term care facility for psychiatric illnesses.

Most psychiatric professionals believe that any sudden, extreme change in behavior may be grounds for emergency psychiatric intervention. These can include hallucinations, extreme feelings of anxiety, paranoia or depression, Patients who are suicidal, violent, or aggressive also need acute psychiatric care.

Mental illness and the consequences of substance abuse are among the most common reasons patients seek treatment in an acute psychiatry facility. Many people suffering mental illness manage to live normal lives most of the time, but may occasionally experience a severe relapse of their symptoms. Some types of mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety disorders, can occur in patients who were previously healthy. Substance abuse can also lead to the sudden appearance of psychiatric symptoms, especially after a binge on substances or after long-term, heavy substance abuse. Patients experiencing the sudden onset of severe psychiatric symptoms may need medication to relieve their symptoms, and supervision to ensure they don't harm themselves or others.

People who have experienced psychological trauma due to violence or a disaster of some type may often experience psychiatric symptoms after the event. Acute psychiatry professionals often try to be on hand immediately following natural disasters and other traumatic events. They seek to help the individuals involved to procure appropriate treatment for any psychological trauma as soon as possible. In a disaster setting where damage and injury have been widespread, medical professionals are usually obliged to focus on treating physical injuries first. Individuals who have been the victims of targeted violence are usually offered emergency psychiatric care, along with emergency medical care, in hospitals.

People with personality disorders may also benefit from the services of emergency psychiatric units. Personality disorders, like other mental illnesses, can cause bouts of extreme symptoms in between long periods of relative normalcy. While many of these people don't realize that their symptoms are psychological in origin, psychiatric treatment can help keep them and others safe.

Treatment in acute psychiatry units usually lasts for only a few days or weeks. Professionals use the time to relieve symptoms and assess psychiatric conditions. This is generally done through observation, medical and psychiatric exams, examination of medical and psychiatric history, and sometimes through limited psychotherapy. Professionals then typically form a treatment plan, which may include institutionalizing the patient if necessary, or sending the patient home to seek outpatient treatment if possible.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.