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What Is Psychiatric Rehabilitation?

A. Reed
A. Reed

As of the year 2010, 450 million people suffer from mental disorders worldwide, many of them diagnosed with serious psychological illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. Serious mental disease has a significant effect on an individual's quality of life, which is the focal point of psychiatric rehabilitation. Preventing homelessness and social exile, independent living programs help the mentally disabled live functional lives within the community. Health professionals provide assessment and treatment through psychotherapy and managing psychotropic drug regimens.

The severely mentally ill often have difficulty with finding or maintaining employment and are frequently among the world's homeless population. Independent living refers to psychiatric rehabilitation aimed at helping those who are mentally ill participate in society and maintain their lives as they deal with their problems. Supportive services assist mentally ill individuals in such a way that their functional capacity increases. Living arrangements and program structure varies, as some residents live alone in individual apartments while others are in a group-home style setting. Staffing usually consists of a team of healthcare professionals including social workers and psychologists.

Psychiatric rehab can include talk therapy sessions with a therapist.
Psychiatric rehab can include talk therapy sessions with a therapist.

​Psychiatrists are medical doctors who assess, diagnose, and treat those with mental illnesses. While psychiatrists are qualified to provide psychotherapeutic services to patients, their focus of psychiatric rehabilitation is primarily concerned with pharmacological treatment. They prescribe, monitor, and make adjustments to medications, as well as order and interpret blood level test results. A psychiatrist is charged with overseeing the overall mental health care and treatment of their patients. Another duty of psychiatrists is that they frequently diagnose medical diseases occurring along with those that are psychological. Comorbidity is frequently encountered in patients with mental disease.

Recovery for a drug abuser includes psychiatric rehabilitation.
Recovery for a drug abuser includes psychiatric rehabilitation.

Not to be confused with the role of psychiatrists, mental health professionals referred to as psychologists have a similar but different function in psychiatric rehabilitation. Most of what a psychologist does is non-pharmacologic, as their focus is on the actual clinical treatment of clients. The psychologist working on a particular case typically provides psychotherapy, commonly referred to as talk therapy. These sessions help people to cope with mental health and personal or family problems. Some psychologists are qualified to prescribe medications, but they generally do not order laboratory tests or interpret them.

Psychiatric rehabilitation involves mental health crisis intervention, typically in the form of inpatient mental health settings where essential assessments and monitoring can be performed. The purpose of inpatient care is to provide important mental health services that cannot be dealt with on an outpatient basis. Sometimes mental health patients present with suicidal behavior or thoughts of harming themselves or others, making psychiatric rehabilitation services particularly significant for maintaining public safety.

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    • Psychiatric rehab can include talk therapy sessions with a therapist.
      By: emiliau
      Psychiatric rehab can include talk therapy sessions with a therapist.
    • Recovery for a drug abuser includes psychiatric rehabilitation.
      By: Creativa
      Recovery for a drug abuser includes psychiatric rehabilitation.