Recollected experiences of first hospitalisation for acute psychosis among persons diagnosed with schizophrenia in South Africa

Y Zubi, P Connolly


First-time admission to a psychiatric hospital for acute psychosis has been reported to be extremely traumatic, and this has not been adequately researched in the South African context. This study approached persons diagnosed with schizophrenia and explores their recollected, subjective experiences of their first admission to a South African psychiatric hospital ward for acute psychosis. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with seven participants diagnosed with schizophrenia. These were analysed using thematic content analysis. While some participants had positive experiences, the majority reported frightening, distressing, emotionally painful or traumatic experiences during their first hospitalisation. The first hospital admission was also described as having serious long-term implications for the person’s wellbeing, particularly as the diagnosis of schizophrenia made them feel isolated and stigmatised, which further hinders them from recovering from their symptoms and reintegrating into society. This study therefore draws attention to aspects of the process of first admission to psychiatric wards in South Africa, which may benefit from proactive intervention and closer research attention.


Schizophrenia; Acute psychosis; First-time admission; Psychiatric hospital

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Submitted: 12 September 2012
Published: 30 August 2013

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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)