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Understanding the Different Levels of Mental Health Care
When your mental health has not improved with outpatient care, there may be a need for a higher level of care. An inpatient mental health program can provide 24-hour care and support.
There are different types of inpatient programs. These include stand-alone psychiatric hospitals, a ward within a hospital, or a residential mental health program. The right choice is based on how serious the episode is, and whether it is acute or chronic in nature.
People remember the way mental health centers are shown in the movies, and that is not very realistic. In reality, inpatient mental health treatment is not at all like the scary scenes on the big screen.
Facilities for treating people with serious depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are quiet places of healing. They are focused on creating a calm, peaceful environment that is helpful for healing the mind, body, and soul.
When is Inpatient Mental Health Treatment Needed?
You may have been suffering from a mental health disorder for years. In most cases, people receive treatment for these conditions by a psychiatrist or therapist. These mental health providers may have been able to manage the condition well, enough so you can function in life.
But mood disorders can sometimes stop responding to medication, or the illness itself gets worse. This can make it harder to fulfill daily tasks or to function at work.
Someone battling addiction and a coexisting mental health disorder may find their life at risk by the dual disorders. Someone with bipolar disorder or a psychotic disorder may experience hallucinations and delusional thoughts. Any of these cases offer good cause to seek out an inpatient mental health treatment program.
A psychiatric emergency occurs when the person becomes a danger to him or herself or others. This would warrant the highest level of care. In fact, about 5 million adults visited the emergency room due to a mental health disorder in 2014. With suicide rates much higher now, this number is sure to have risen by 2020.
What Is Inpatient Psychiatric Care Like?
Inpatient psychiatric treatment will vary based on the unique needs and mental state of the individual. In case of an emergency, it is likely that the patient will have very limited personal freedoms. They may even be in a locked hospital ward or restrained for a while. But these are the extreme cases. Most who need inpatient care will have more treatment options available to them.
For someone who needs more focused treatment than what their private doctors or an outpatient facility provides, having a safe, quiet place away from the stresses of life. An inpatient facility will do a thorough medical and psychiatric evaluation and prescribe changes in medications, targeted therapies, and individual and group therapy sessions.
There are two basic options for inpatient mental health treatment, a hospital setting or a residential setting. These venues influence what to expect in an inpatient psychiatric care setting:
The residential treatment setting is designed to feel more home-like, with a relaxed feel and more personal freedom. Residential programs are a step-down in level of care from an inpatient hospital program. These are a good option for treating mood disorders and those with a dual diagnosis. Residential programs may offer holistic therapies such as guided meditation, art therapy, and yoga to enhance therapy. There will also be access to an outdoor space for quiet time, such as for reading or journaling.
The hospital setting is reserved for the more severe psychiatric cases. The main goal is to stabilize the patient. A hospital has a stricter, more sterile feel, and freedoms are restricted. This is for the safety of the patient, staff, and other patients. The mental hospital setting offers 24-hour monitoring of the patient and a more intense level of treatment. The hospital setting is best suited for those who are on suicide watch or experiencing a break from reality.
The Treatment Specialist Can Locate Residential Psychiatric Treatment
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