An Exceptional Psychiatric Unit in the PTA Area

Statistics indicate that the incidence of mental illness is on the increase in most western and first world countries and, unfortunately, South Africa is no exception. Many possible explanations have been proposed to account for this increase. There is little doubt, for instance, that stress brought on by financial worries in the light of dwindling employment opportunities, together with the trauma resulting from violence, both experienced and feared, have been major contributors to conditions such as anxiety and depression.

One of the more alarming aspects of this trend is the growing number of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This relatively new condition is now believed to be affecting as many as one in every twenty children worldwide. Alarming increases are also being seen in the number of those affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. No longer is this a condition confined to the killing fields of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. The victims of violent crime in the homes and on the streets of Johannesburg and Pretoria now feature, on a regular basis, among those patients who are admitted for treatment at psychiatric units in the PTA area.

Just a short drive from South Africa???s busy administrative capital and located on the outskirts of the picturesque town of Hartbeespoort, the Beethoven Recovery Centre is a haven of peace and tranquillity. Together with the beauty of the Magaliesberg Mountains that overlook the centre, well-tended gardens, comfortable and well-appointed rooms, and tasteful d??cor throughout, all serve to create the perfect environment in which to expedite the recovery of those who are experiencing a mental illness.

The centre is staffed by experienced psychiatrists and backed by a team of medical doctors, nurses and other specialists. Between them they conduct programmes of treatment that have been tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient, as identified during his or her preliminary evaluation. While a layperson might assume that the treatment at a psychiatric unit, such as this one in the PTA region, is limited to suitable medication and psychotherapy, nothing could be further from the truth.

In practice, the Beethoven Recovery Centre adopts an integrative approach to treatment. Although such a policy may include medicines to alleviate symptoms and counselling to gain insight, the purpose of these integrative treatments is to devote equal attention to a patient???s physical, social and spiritual needs. Often, these are found to have been contributory factors in a patient???s illness, while in other cases, they may have been among the consequences. In each case, identifying problems in these areas and treating them is widely accepted as an essential part of the mentally ill patient???s successful rehabilitation.

Social skills and confidence may be restored or developed through group counselling and shared activities, which may be educational, competitive or entertaining in nature. In parallel, medical care and individual counselling sessions serve to meet physical and spiritual needs. During a stay in this PTA psychiatric unit, each patient???s progress is continuously monitored. Based upon these observations, his or her treatment programme is then adjusted as indicated, in order to ensure the optimal outcome in the allotted time.