Goals of inpatient treatment for psychiatric disorders

Steven S. Sharfstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The purpose of the psychiatric hospital changed dramatically during the twentieth century. Formerly the primary location for psychiatric treatment, the hospital now plays a more circumscribed role within a community-based system of care. Crisis stabilization, safety, and a focus on rapid discharge are the critical components of the acute inpatient stay. Subspecialized units focus on geriatrics, children, adolescents, dual diagnosis (substance abuse and mental illness), trauma disorders, eating disorders, and forensics. When integrated with the general medical system and a comprehensive base of community-delivered day treatment, residential sevices, and outpatient services, psychiatric hospitalization is a humane alternative to long-term institutional care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-403
Number of pages11
JournalAnnual review of medicine
StatePublished - Jul 24 2009


  • Crisis stabilization
  • Dangerousness
  • Psychopharmacology
  • System of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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