Temporary treatment may be of several kinds for bipolars who need immediate, supervised care. Some authority or a psychiatrist may urge or insist on hospitalisation. Depending upon the condition of the patient, such confinement may be either voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary hospitalisation may be of a very short duration, or it may extend through several months of intense treatment depending upon a person's ability to regain stability. Some in-hospital stays occur at non-specialised institutions--meaning the hospital is a general service facility with a psychiatric suite as well. Others may entail confinement at a psychiatric hospital that deals exclusively with mental illnesses. These facilities may allow for much longer terms of treatment along with shorter termed interventions.
In addition to the hospitals, there are specialised treatment businesses in some countries, such as the US. These are generally to be avoided. On the other hand, there are halfway houses and group homes which do a very good job of acclimating the mentally fragile to the outside world and are particularly useful for bipolars coming from a long period of hospitalisation.
Where one ends up for treatment and how long one remains hospitalised depends greatly on one's state at the time the decision to treat is made. A bipolar on a manic tear who is out of touch with reality, or one suffering severe suicide ideation is likely to find themselves forcibly committed for treatment, while a lesser depression or hypomania will seldom warrant long term intervention.
Long term treatment can be of two sorts: inpatient or outpatient, and sometimes a combination of the two. Inpatient care involves extended stays in a psychiatric facility where supervision is constant and all activities are carefully monitored via extensive security measures. This kind of confinement is perhaps the rarest and yet the most feared treatment a bipolar can encounter. Feared, because the patient has no control and little choice concerning their treatment program. This is not to say such facilities don't have their place, but there is a long extant history of various kinds of abuse associated with some of the older institutions, and even the new ones are not exempt from irregularities. It behooves you as the patient to be careful before admission to an institution rather than after when it may be too late. You and your immediate family or advocate, (whether family, a friend or another designated person), should be prepared to ask some tough and penetrating questions about paperwork and procedures.
Outpatient care is another form of long term care that may consist of temporary residence in a half-way house of some sort. These facilities are generally rather small and are intended as safe places for assimilating the recovering patient back into the community. Working in conjunction with the halfway houses are various mental health professionals that have more or less influence on the patient. Generally, social workers and those not directly involved with delivering medical and therapeutic assistance will wean away from the patient. But, the psychiatrist and psychotherapist will normally be a mainstay in the bipolar person's life forevermore. It is because the doctor/patient relationship is so extended and enduring that it is vitally important you and your doctor have a strong, caring, working relationship.
No one can predict how a patient and a therapist or physician will get along, and most won't bother to mention that without that just-right meshing of respect and dignity no such relationship is worth the effort. If you find yourself in the care of a physician or therapist you simply can't feel comfortable about working with then for the god's sake get out!!! Nothing good will ever come of such a mismatch and it's not your fault if it doesn't. Find another doctor or therapist immediately! For more information about how to go about shopping for a physician you can work with go to Shop-A-Doc, just be sure ya come back here before moving on.