Should I Check Into a Psychiatric Place?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

First off, let me tell you that I am Bipolar II, Anxiety, and Chronic Depression with a tad bit of OCD. I stopped self mutilating for 8 months, then had a relapse and now I am almost a month clean. I never usually think about suicide as an option ever.

Lately, I have been having terrible urges to self mutilate. I used to cut and now I’m trying to find any way to do it whether it be breaking a bone or…well anything. Also I have been having suicidal thoughts. I don’t believe I would ever act upon them but the fact that I am having the thoughts is scaring me. I can’t seem to fall asleep because of the images in my head and the voices (not literal voices but just my inner self) yelling at me to just cut or to just do something.

So my question is, should I check into a psychiatric place? Have an evaluation done? I currently do not have a therapist and I am not on any medications. I did have a psychiatrist in the past and she diagnosed me with the Bipolar and Chronic Depression. I have recently looked up the symptoms to Borderline Personality Disorder (I saw a book about it and I was interested in what it was). I realize that I have more of those symptoms (actually, all of them) than I do Bipolar.

Adding to the question, should I check in is, if I don’t want to alert my insurance company about it (Long story but the jist of it is I don’t want my Ex Husband to know because I fear that he will try to use it against me in Court and try to take my daughter from me). How much would it cost to ask for an evaluation and brief stay? Do they alert anyone that I’m there (such as lawyers or my Ex Husband). How do I go about getting into one? And also, anything else I should know.

I believe I am on the verge of a mental breakdown. My symptoms have never been so severe. Thanks for reading.

A. If you are on the verge of a mental breakdown then you should seek treatment. If you are having thoughts of suicide or wanting to harm yourself and you feel that you cannot protect yourself then you should go to the emergency room. If your life is not in imminent danger but your situation necessitates immediate attention, then make an appointment with a psychiatrist or therapist as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe you can hide mental health visits from your insurance company. I’m not sure precisely how insurance agencies operate but if they are sent a bill for service it will likely be recorded in your history. The only way around this may be to pay out-of-pocket for services. This would likely be an expensive alternative but it may keep unwanted information out of your custody hearing. I’m not certain that if you paid cash for treatment this information would be kept from your ex but it’s possible. You may want to call your insurance company and ask them specific questions with regard to your records. You may also want to consult an attorney and ask him or her these specific legal questions.

Logically, if an individual needs treatment and chooses not to get it, this seems more like an irrational act than the individual who recognizes they need help and decides to get it. When it comes to custody cases this type of logic may not win a case but from a mental health perspective, it makes perfect sense. People who need help should get it. You are in a “catch-22.” If you seek treatment it may harm your chances of regaining custody of your daughter. If you don’t, then you risk remaining emotionally and mentally unstable and this could harm your chances of regaining custody of your child.

Generally speaking, if you feel you are in danger of hurting yourself or others, it’s important you seek immediate emergency attention. I understand that you do not want this information recorded because it may hurt you in a custody battle but is unhealthy to deny yourself treatment when it is clearly needed. I hope you’re able to find the help you need. If you need to find a therapist in your area please search this directory. Thank you for your question and I wish you the best of luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Oct 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Should I Check Into a Psychiatric Place?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/10/16/should-i-check-into-a-psychiatric-place/