3 Types of Mental Health Crisis

Mental Health Crisis

Alter Mental Health Is Here for You in Times of Crisis

Anyone can experience a mental health crisis which can range in severity. While some people may experience a mild one and be able to get themselves out of it, mental health crises can also be severe enough to render one incapable of caring for themselves or hurting themselves or others. Various types of mental health crisis can occur suddenly or slowly build over time. Life changes, traumatic events, and periods of stress can all lead to a mental health crisis.

Alter Mental Health is here to help you during times of crisis. Our crisis stabilization unit in San Diego can quickly get you admitted and provide comprehensive treatment programs to help you gain back control of your mental state and on the path towards recovery. Short-term mental health stabilization includes various behavioral health therapies, counseling, and medication management. Patients are able to reset and heal in our comfortable, calm mental health treatment facility which offers an alternative to inpatient hospitalization. Caring, knowledgeable staff are equipped to handle all types of mental health crises effectively.

Click here to contact Alter Mental Health San Diego at 866-986-1481 to learn about using our short-term crisis stabilization unit for individuals struggling with an acute mental health crisis.

What Causes a Mental Health Crisis?

Everyone handles stressors or unexpected events differently. One person may be able to handle a situation without effect while others may end up experiencing a mental health crisis. The ability to cope with stress also changes as we age. Also, individuals with underlying mental health conditions are more susceptible to a mental health crisis.

Many potential stressors or events may contribute to a crisis of mental health, including:

  • Traumatic events include a natural disaster, car accident, or sexual assault.
  • Divorce or breakup.
  • Loss of a loved one, pet, or material possession, such as money or a home.
  • The gradual buildup of stress from relationships, finances, or work.
  • Medical diagnosis.
  • Life changes such as puberty, retirement, menopause, or moving.
  • Poor coping skills or lack of social support during periods of stress.
  • Extreme isolation.
  • Substance abuse can worsen mental health disorders or cause drug-induced psychosis.
  • Switching or stopping mental health treatments, including medications.

3 Types of Mental Health Crisis

We often think of a crisis being one that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly; however, it can also slowly build over time. Several types of mental health crisis can range in severity.

Some types of mental health crises include:

  1. Developmental crisis: A developmental crisis results from a normal life event, such as puberty, pregnancy, switching jobs, retirement, etc., which causes stress and strain on an individual. These occur as a part of the process of growing and developing through various periods of life. Developmental crises can affect a person on various levels, including experiencing high-stress levels and questioning their beliefs and relationships. While this type of crisis is normal, they may need close monitoring to ensure the person returns to normal functioning. Mental health treatment during a developmental crisis can help the person transition more easily and avoid experiencing a mental health crisis.
  2. Situational crisis: These types of crises are sudden and unexpected, such as experiencing a natural disaster, sexual assault, a car accident, the loss of a loved one, or other traumatic experiences. Situational crises are one of the most seen in crisis intervention. Traumatic events can be overwhelming and sudden which impedes a person’s normal level of coping with stress. These types of crises may need immediate medical care as individuals can lose touch with reality or result in a catatonic state. Long-term mental health treatment is also necessary if the person experiences post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or has difficulty moving past the traumatic event. Without treatment, their mental health can worsen.
  3. Existential crisis: Inner conflicts such as life purpose, direction, and spirituality can lead to someone experiencing an existential crisis. Often, they are related to regretful situations, the belief that time has passed them by, or the realization that they may not reach set goals at a certain age.  Individuals can feel stuck and unsure how to respond to which way to go. If these feelings persist or worsen, they can substantially impact mental health, including symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, isolation, and decreased motivation. Seeking treatment may be necessary when these symptoms significantly impact mental health or well-being, if self-medicating with substance use, or have suicidal thoughts or tendencies.
Mental Health Crisis Treatment

How Is a Mental Health Crisis Diagnosed?

Every person will experience a mental health crisis differently. Severe indicators of a mental health crisis include the inability to take care of oneself or if there is risk of them harming themselves or others. However, similar to mental health disorders, mental health crises exist on a spectrum, ranging from mild to severe. In all cases, professional intervention may be necessary through either therapy or crisis stabilization. Mental health crisis diagnosis can only be done by a medical professional, such as a mental health specialist. There are certain signs a person may be experiencing a mental health crisis and need medical intervention, which include:

Inability to function with daily life, such as being unable to get out of bed, go to work, or feed themselves.

  • They no longer care for their hygiene, such as bathing, brushing their teeth, or changing clothes.
  • Out of control, risk-taking behavior.
  • Isolation or withdrawing from others.
  • Extreme agitation or anger or violence towards others.
  • Intense feelings of worry or fear that are impacting daily life.
  • Intense and sudden mood changes.
  •  Extreme sadness or depression.
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicidal tendencies.
  • Self-harming behaviors including self-medicating with substance abuse.
  • Psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and/or paranoia.

Click here to contact Alter Mental Health San Diego at 866-986-1481 to learn about using our short-term crisis stabilization unit for individuals struggling with an acute mental health crisis.

How Is a Mental Health Crisis Treated?

Some individuals experiencing a milder case of types of mental health crisis may be able to stabilize themselves using self-soothing techniques, talking to a counselor, or taking deep breaths. However, if the person cannot calm down or their symptoms worsen, they may need crisis stabilization. Inpatient crisis stabilization can offer the around-the-clock therapies and medications needed to get someone out of a crisis or mental health emergency. Short-term hospital stays or crisis stabilization units can provide the needed care to ensure the individual’s safety and the necessary treatment.

Effective mental health stabilization will include personalized treatment plans with evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and medication management. Every person will respond differently to treatment, so several types of therapies and services may be used to find what works best for them. Other forms of treatment include mental health group therapy, holistic therapies, and self-care techniques. A combination of medication and behavioral health therapies is often the best course of treatment, as medications can help stabilize agitated states immediately as they learn and acquire several coping skills in therapy. Long-term care will also be necessary after mental health has stabilized.

Get Help From Alter During a Mental Health Crisis

If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency, Alter Mental Health can help you stabilize any mental health crisis. Our inpatient treatment center in San Diego is available 24/7 to quickly admit you regain normal daily functioning and minimize self-harming risks. Treatment plans at Alter will include aftercare plans and referral resources which can support you as you return to home life.

Please call our confidential helpline today at 866-986-1481 to speak to one of our assessment counselors if you want more information about our programs or to start the admissions process.