What is Psychosocial Rehabilitation?

Psychosocial rehabilitation (also termed psychiatric rehabilitation or PSR) promotes individual recuperation, successful community integration and satisfactory quality of life for persons who have a mental illness or mental health concern.

Patients with psychotic and non-psychotic disorders are usually targeted by psychiatric rehabilitation. Nowadays all patients suffering from severe mental illness (SMI) require rehabilitation.

Symptom management

  • Medications

Depending on the nature of the symptoms, various medications are used. The mainstay treatment of serious and chronic mental illness is pharmacotherapy. Predictably the patient’s presenting symptoms determine the exact medication. Antipsychotic or neuroleptic agents are the primary medications of acute and chronic psychosis.

Antidepressants and anxiolytic or antianxiety medications are primary medications for depressive and anxiety symptoms

  • Psychoeducation

Of particular importance to medication management is family and patient psychoeducation. Nurses often are involved and gather crucial data, including assessing vital signs, drug toxicology screens, and chemistry profiles; performing a mental status examination; and obtaining an extensive substance abuse history that provides information about symptoms, duration, past treatment, and current medication.

  • Self-efficacy and management of illness

As patients transition from the acute symptom management stage, psychiatric nurses monitor their response to treatment and provide opportunities for success. As the nurse administers or prescribes neuroleptic agents patients are educated about schizophrenia or other serious mental disorders, reasons for medications, and potential side effects. This process facilitates insight into the patient’s symptoms and illness and promotes self-efficacy as the patient moves through the treatment continuum.

Understandably, psychiatric rehabilitation evolves during the acute stages of a psychiatric disorder and continues throughout the life span. Mental health services must parallel stages of symptoms across the treatment continuum and meet the patient’s holistic needs and foster competence and management of illness.