Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental hospitals, mental asylums or simply asylums, are hospitals or wards specializing in the treatment of serious mental illness, such as clinical depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Psychiatric hospitals vary widely in their size and grading. Some hospitals may specialize only in short-term or outpatient therapy for low-risk patients. Others may specialize in the temporary or permanent care of residents who, as a result of a psychological disorder, require routine assistance, treatment, or a specialized and controlled environment. Patients are often admitted on a voluntary basis, but people whom psychiatrists believe may pose a significant danger to themselves or others may be subject to involuntary commitment. Psychiatric hospitals may also be referred to as psychiatric wards (or "psych" wards) when they are a subunit of a regular hospital.
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