When we are beset by a mental health challenge there may be an initial temptation to just ignore it hoping it will just disappear as swiftly as it had appeared. No one likes to think they need help for a psychological disorder. But in truth, caring for our mental health is just as important to overall wellbeing than our physical health. We cannot care for one aspect of our being while ignoring the other, as the two are intrinsically connected.
While we may hope that our condition will just fix itself, delaying getting the help we need only worsens the condition and overall treatment picture. Mental health disorders tend to deteriorate over time when ignored. By initiating the process, even starting with one’s general practitioner, we stand a better chance of attaining a satisfactory outcome than if we delay treatment.
The level of care needed for treating a mental health issue will depend on several factors, but generally speaking, psychiatric disorder treatment facilities fall into one of two camps: residential or outpatient treatment. Each of these settings offers its own set of benefits and disadvantages, so getting to know the difference between them is the first step in selecting the appropriate intensity of treatment.
Different Types of Psychiatric Disorder Treatment Facilities
Professional mental health treatment can be obtained in a variety of settings. Generally, psychiatric care is found in one of two types of settings, the outpatient format or the residential format. Included within those two settings is a wide array of treatment options:
Residential mental health treatment provides a higher level of care as compared with the outpatient treatment options. After a careful psychiatric evaluation, the individual will be provided with a tailored treatment plan that is aligned specifically to his or her own unique needs. The residential treatment environment offers an opportunity to delve deeply into identifying the factors that may be influencing the mental distress through a menu of therapeutic interventions. These include:
Individual psychotherapy sessions: Psychotherapy is the core treatment element of mental healthcare. Depending on the particular diagnosis and its specific features, a therapy modality, or modalities, is selected as the vehicle to help a patient elicit foundational changes in their thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. Some examples of these evidence-based therapies include psychodynamic therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy.
Group therapy: When patients come together in a small group setting it allows them to openly share about their own personal struggles and experiences. This can help the patients bond, while helping prevent feelings of isolation within the treatment settings.
Psychosocial interventions: These classes provide useful tools for patients as they begin the process of transitioning back to regular life. The psychosocial skills taught might include effective communication skills, anger management, conflict resolution techniques, and interpersonal relating skills.
Medication management: In most cases, someone who has entered into a residential mental health treatment program will be treated with medications that will help them manage the symptoms of the particular disorder. Medications include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety medications (sedatives), and anti-psychotic drugs.
Adjunctive therapies: Certain types of mental health challenges, such as trauma disorders, may be helped by adding a complementary therapy, such as eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR), to the treatment plan.
Holistic therapies: Mental wellness can be augmented through the addition of holistic or experiential activities. These types of therapies can aid in stress regulation, which then allows for a deeper engagement in other treatment elements. These might include art therapy, meditation, massage, yoga, or acupuncture.
Acute stabilization: The hospital setting versus a residential care facility, provides the highest level of care among psychiatric disorder treatment facilities. A psychiatric hospital, or the psychiatric ward of a standard hospital, will offer acute stabilization services and constant monitoring to ensure the safely of the patient and others.
Outpatient mental health treatment is provided through private practice services, such as those of a psychiatrist or psychotherapist, or a medical practitioner. These providers can also assign complementary activities to the treatment plan. There are also outpatient programs, such as day programs, that offer more intensive services. These might involve a patient participating in daily therapy sessions at an outpatient treatment center.
Which Mental Health Disorders Are Treated at Psychiatric Disorder Treatment Facilities?
Psychiatric facilities are staffed with trained professionals who are fully licensed mental health providers. These experts have the experience, education, and training to treat the full range of mental health disorders, including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Specific phobia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Social anxiety
- Depressive disorders
- Major depressive disorder
- Postpartum depression
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Seasonal affective disorder
- Mood disorders
- Bipolar disorder I
- Bipolar disorder II
- Cyclothymic disorder
- Bipolar disorder unspecified origin
- Personality disorders
- Borderline personality disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Psychotic disorders
- Schizoaffective disorder
- Schizophreniform disorder
- Delusional disorder
- Shared psychotic disorder
- Brief psychotic disorder
When Should You Consider Residential Mental Health Treatment?
One of the most important reasons for considering a psychiatric disorder treatment facility versus an outpatient provider is personal safety. It could be that the individual has been treated for a length of time through outpatient services, but the condition continues to deteriorate. Signs of a deteriorating mental health status include:
- Engaging in self-harming behaviors
- Exhibiting violent tendencies or physical attacks towards others
- Escalating substance abuse as a form of self-meditation
- Extreme and unpredictable mood swings
- Psychosis, such as experiencing audible or visual hallucinations or delusional thoughts
- Deteriorating health caused by the mental illness, disrupted sleep and eating habits
- Suicidal ideation or attempts
For those who are continuing to suffer due to a mental health disorder that has not been adequately treated in an outpatient setting, the residential setting or a psychiatric hospital may be a more appropriate level of care where a more intensive treatment approach can provide needed relief.