Why Did The Hospital Kick Me Out So Quickly?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have been in a psych hospital for the past 4 1/2 months, I had a CPA yesterday to decide when I should be discharged. I overdosed on sunday, I wanted to show them how serious I was. But instead they discharged with only 18 hours notice making feel even worse and suicidal, why did they do this? I’ve attempted suicide twice in the last week when I was in hospital, why would they kick me out at my worst?

A. I’m sorry you are experiencing so much distress. It is difficult to know why you were discharged from the hospital. The hospital staff may have felt that they were doing you a disservice by keeping you in the hospital. Currently, psychiatric inpatient stays are generally designed to stabilize individuals. Generally, stays are meant to be short.

Your discharge might also be related to insurance company guidelines. Four and one half months is much longer than the average stay in a psychiatric hospital. The average psychiatric hospitalization lasts a little over seven days.

The hospital staff released you but they may have a more effective treatment modality planned. Perhaps they thought you required treatment in a different setting. That may explain why they discharged you.

Treatments such as dialectical behavioral therapy, which is a treatment for borderline personality disorder, require that therapists have very clear boundaries. For instance, if during the course of treatment the client threatens suicide, the therapist may immediately call emergency services or begin involuntary commitment procedures. The rationale is to stop the client from dealing with their emotional pain through self-injurious behavior. Having clear rules and boundaries for therapy may seem harsh but they are often necessary to help clients develop new and more effective coping strategies.

You overdosed to “show how serious you were.” By keeping you in the hospital, the hospital staff may have believed that they were reinforcing undesirable behavior. Forcing you to leave might have been their way of reinforcing a very clear set of boundaries or rules for treatment.

My ideas about why the hospital staff discharged you are speculative. The fact of the matter is that I do not have enough information to know why you were discharged. I would encourage you to discuss this matter with the hospital staff or your therapist. If you would like to write back and add additional details, I may be able to give you a more specific answer. I hope you receive the help that you desire. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 May 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Why Did The Hospital Kick Me Out So Quickly?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 16, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/05/06/why-did-the-hospital-kick-me-out-so-quickly/