For people that live with psychological disorders, it is important to follow a specific routine that mitigates unexpected, stressful events. When an unpredictable, high stress situation does occur, it may stimulate a psychological episode. If the episode is severe, hospitalization is often necessary. Without the presence of mind to communicate the best course of treatment, the way the patient is cared for is left up to the medical professionals at the hospital.

A common problem in this situation is that certain medications or methods of treatment may be detrimental to the psychological progress the patient has made in dealing with their disorder. Psychological disorders are treated with very specific protocols, and introducing new medications or therapies at the hospital may cause dramatic setbacks for the patient. Some medications may cause patients to fall further out of touch with reality. While some therapies, such as electroshock therapy, may escalate the severity of the episode.

To alleviate the risk of having a negative hospital experience during a psychological episode, people with psychological disorders are opting to create psychiatric advance directives. The psychiatric advance directive, or PAD, is a legal document that outlines what methods of treatment the patient approves and prohibits while under hospital care. Hospitals keep these directives on file and will adhere to them as closely as possible when treating the patient. However, there are certain instances when doctors have the authority adapt treatment based on the situation and best interest of the patient.

When establishing a PAD, mental health patients can also designate family members to decide the best course of treatment when they don’t have the presence of mind to decide for themselves. Psychiatric directives allow patients to feel comfortable going to a hospital for help because they know they will be taken care of in a manner they approve of.

The goal of these directives is to create better outcomes for the patients and establish more tailored treatment from the hospital. For mental health patients, having a good hospital experience is key to keeping their disorder in check. Psychiatric advance directives are one way hospitals can offer good experiences and give patients the treatment they require.