difficult child hospitalized/anyone have experience with this?


New Member
Per the recommendation of difficult child therapist, we voluntarily have him at a local inpatient Children's Center. It seems like a good program. A team of doctors works with him, including a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker and nurse. He will attend school at the center from 9-12 and be involved in planned activities during the afternoon. This is a short-term facility where the goal is diagnosis and medication.

difficult child has been taken off all of his medications and they are going to observe him/evaluate and determine what disorder(s) he has and if he is on the correct medications or not.

He actually loves being there, and surprisingly cuts our visits short so he can go back with the kids. That is not like him, but I attribute it to him "coming off" the medications and having fun...for now.


Well-Known Member
Yes, others have had their children in a Residential Treatment Facility (Residential Treatment Center (RTC)). It sounds like their goals are very reasonable. And if he is having fun, don't sweat it.
It would be much harder to have him there if he was begging you to come home all the time.

I hope they can figure out the diagnosis and find a good medication.
This is a good thing!



New Member
We did inpatient at two different hospitals and it was very much like you are describing. It sounds like a great place, and a great opportunity to figure out what is wrong and trial some medications. Good luck!!!

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
My difficult child was hospitalized twice. Both times to get him stable on medications. It sounds similar to what you describe. difficult child was very comfortable there-he too cut visits short so he wouldn't miss out on any fun. I hope they are able to figure out exactly what is going on and that whatever medication. combo they come up with helps. Hugs.


I wish we lived in New Hampshire, My difficult child II is in hospital right now and they keep switching medications all over the place. I wish they'd take him off and start from bare non


New Member
We recently had to hospitalize difficult child for a month (his 4th admit) and we too took him off all medications while he was in there. It was scary, but that was the safest place to do something so bold. Oddly enough, our difficult child had no adverse reaction to weaning off and staying off the medications he had been on for years. He is now down to one medication a day - home and doing well.

I know it's heartbreaking and scary, but try to keep reminding yourself you are doing the best thing for your difficult child that you can do right now.

by the way, our difficult child also was more comfortable with our visits being only about an hour long. The staff at psychiatric hospital keeps such a tight schedule - with many, many activities to keep the kids entertained - that I don't think it's strange that your difficult child wants to get right back to what the group is doing. Our difficult child always starts out that way - then when he is feeling better and the staff and we are talking about possible discharge (unknown to difficult child), he begins to start stating he is ready to come home.

Sending great hopes and good thoughts that this will be the beginning of you finding an answer.


New Member
My son, now 14, had four inpatient hospitalizations from 2002 to 2005, for anxiety disorder. The first few days of the first episode were just awful, he was tearful and begging us to take him back home (it was Christmas, too!), but after a few days the medication took the edge off, and he enjoyed the structure, the activities, being with the other kids. The staff was extremely compassionate and spoiled them with gifts Christmas morning ( I couldn't believe the list of stuff they all got!).

The trouble with hospitalizations, from my point of view, is that with insurance companies limiting the length of stay, it's very hard to get a kid stabilized on new medication and to really complete the diagnosis on only a 7 to 14 day stay. I think that is why we have have multiple hospitalizations, it often takes more than one to nail down what is the problem, and come up with a treatment plan that addresses it. The staff at the hospital "knew" we'd be back after the first one, and we were, 48 hours after discharge.

The other problem is that for children with ODD and anxiety, is that it's very difficult to duplicate at home the structure and consistency of a hospital setting, with all the staff and support they have. In our family's case, my husband and I were in the last throes of a disintegrating marriage, so it was really a mess.

But if your child is happy there, fantastic, it's much easier on your nervs than if he was sobbing and begging to come home.

Best of luck to you, and keep us posted.


member since 1999
thank you's first hospitalization was when he was 6. It didn't faze him a bit. He wasn't upset, didn't really miss us, and refused a couple of visits with us. He's been hospitalized 20+ times since and none of them bothered him. I think it's actually a pretty common reaction, especially with- younger kiddos. I'm not sure they really see it as a hospitalization, at least not like we do. It's a break in the routine and a *lot* of 1:1 attention for them(at least in our experience).

It was really hard to not take it personally (i.e. he likes it better at the hospital than at home with us) but it really isn't personal. We finally evolved to the point where we would show up for visits faithfully - he could refuse or not, but we were there.

Sounds like you've found an *excellent* program. Hope they are able to come up with- some solid strategies for your family.


New Member
In Jan and Feb of this year my 6 yr old was hospitalized 2x for a total of 24 days. I thought that was a lot of time before but now that I'm here, I see it is not that much at all. I felt very comfortable having my son there after the trauma (mine) of having a small child with a severe mental illness wore off. My son did miss me and cried every time I left. Part of his diagnosis was/is anxiety so I attribute the tears to the anxiety. The hospital that my son was in is a regional Children's Hospital with great staff, great programs etc. I do echo what the person above said though, it is hard to replicate the structure that the kids thrive of in the hospital once you get home. My son being the youngest there had his very own 1:1 staff when the other kids were like 6:1 depending on there needs. He loved the attention! I learned a lot there too with the parent classes. If your hospital offers those, I'd take them up on it AND pick the brain of any professional that has the time to sit with you and talk. I LOVED the Psychologist that we had, she made me feel very safe. Plus she had a wealth of info on kids with "special needs".