What Is Inpatient Mental Health Treatment?

August 31, 2023

woman in therapy schizophrenia support groups

Inpatient mental health treatment (or residential mental health treatment) involves individuals staying at a specialized facility 24/7 to receive intensive care for severe mental health issues. Inpatient mental health care offers structured therapy, medication management, and support from a team of mental health professionals in a controlled environment.

Read on to discover more about the following issues:

  • What is inpatient mental health?
  • How do inpatient and outpatient mental health differ?
  • How can you connect with inpatient treatment for mental health in Southern California?

What is Mental Health Inpatient Treatment?

Inpatient mental health treatment is also known as inpatient psychiatric care or behavioral health inpatient treatment. Inpatient care for mental health is a comprehensive therapeutic approach for individuals experiencing severe and acute mental health challenges that cannot be adequately managed on an outpatient basis. This form of treatment requires patients to stay within a specialized inpatient mental health facility for a specified duration, typically ranging from a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the condition.

During inpatient treatment, individuals receive around-the-clock care and support from a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals, which may include psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, nurses, and social workers. The treatment plan is tailored to the specific needs of each patient and is designed to address their immediate crisis, stabilize their condition, and develop a foundation for ongoing recovery.

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Therapeutic interventions within an inpatient mental health setting typically include evidence-based approaches, such as individual therapy, group therapy, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), and medication management. The structured and controlled environment of an inpatient facility allows for close monitoring of medication responses, therapy progress, and any potential side effects.

The primary goals of inpatient mental health treatment include:

  • Crisis stabilization: Inpatient care provides immediate intervention and support during times of acute crisis, including severe depression, suicidal ideation, intense anxiety, psychotic episodes, and other severe mental health symptoms.
  • Safety: Patients struggling with intense emotional distress or impaired judgment are placed in a safe environment where they can be protected from harming themselves or others.
  • Intensive therapy: Inpatient treatment offers intensive and focused therapy sessions to address the underlying causes of the person’s mental health challenges and equip them with coping strategies and skills to manage their symptoms.
  • Medication management: Psychiatric professionals can closely monitor the effects of prescribed medications and make adjustments as needed to optimize treatment outcomes.
  • Structured routine: Inpatient programs often provide a structured daily routine that includes therapy sessions, group activities, meals, and downtime. This routine can help individuals regain a sense of normalcy and stability.
  • Transition to outpatient care: Inpatient treatment serves as a bridge between acute crisis and outpatient care, helping individuals transition to less intensive forms of treatment with a more stable foundation.
woman receiving inpatient mental health treatment.

Who is Inpatient Mental Health Treatment For?

Inpatient mental health treatment is designed for those who are experiencing severe and acute mental health crises that pose a risk to their safety and well-being, and that cannot be effectively managed on an outpatient basis. Inpatient mental health programs are generally recommended in the following scenarios:

Severe mental health symptoms

Individuals who are grappling with severe depression, intense anxiety, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, or other symptoms that significantly impair their ability to function or engage in daily life.

Safety concerns

Those who pose a risk to themselves or others due to their mental health symptoms, such as engaging in self-harm, substance abuse, or exhibiting aggressive behaviors.

Lack of outpatient progress

Individuals who have not responded well to outpatient therapy or medication management, or who require a more intensive intervention due to the severity of their condition.

Immediate crisis

Individuals facing an immediate mental health crisis, such as a recent trauma, loss, or sudden onset of severe symptoms, that requires immediate intervention and stabilization.

Inability to function

Those who are unable to meet their daily responsibilities, maintain relationships, or perform self-care due to the intensity of their mental health symptoms.

Co-occurring disorders

Individuals dealing with complex cases involving both mental health and substance use disorders that require integrated treatment in a controlled setting.

Lack of support at home

Individuals without a supportive and safe environment at home to manage their condition and receive ongoing care.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Mental Health Treatment

Inpatient and outpatient mental health treatments offer different levels of care and support to individuals based on the severity of their mental health challenges and their specific needs.

Inpatient mental health treatment

  • Intensity: Inpatient treatment provides intensive, 24/7 care within a specialized facility, suitable for individuals facing acute and severe mental health crises.
  • Duration: Typically, inpatient stays last from a few days to several weeks, focusing on crisis stabilization, safety, and immediate intervention.
  • Therapeutic environment: Inpatient facilities offer a structured and controlled environment where individuals can receive a wide range of therapies, medication management, and support from a multidisciplinary team of professionals.
  • Suitable for: Inpatient care is recommended for individuals with severe symptoms, acute crises, safety concerns, or lack of progress in outpatient treatment. It is especially useful when there is a risk of self-harm, harm to others, or an inability to function.

Outpatient mental health treatment

  • Flexibility: Outpatient treatment allows individuals to live at home and maintain their daily routines while attending scheduled therapy sessions and appointments.
  • Variety of services: Outpatient care includes individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, and various evidence-based interventions tailored to the individual’s needs.
  • Suitable for: Outpatient care is suitable for a wide range of mental health challenges, from mild to moderate severity, where individuals can effectively manage their symptoms without 24/7 supervision. It is ideal for those who can function independently and have a supportive environment.
  • Transition from inpatient: After inpatient treatment, individuals often transition to outpatient care as they become more stable, enabling them to continue their recovery with less intensive support.

Ultimately, the choice between inpatient and outpatient treatment depends on the severity of the individual’s condition, the level of care required, and their ability to function independently. Mental health professionals assess each person’s circumstances to determine the most appropriate treatment approach that will best support their recovery journey.

two people hugging representing inpatient mental health care

Get Inpatient Mental Health Treatment at Connections

At Connections Mental Health in Southern California, we deliver a variety of inpatient mental health treatment programs, providing those seeking stability and improved functioning with a nurturing beachside setting for recovery.

At Connections, our team of passionate experts blends science-backed and holistic treatments to deliver whole-body healing. We focus on treating the whole person rather than merely the symptoms of a mental health condition, promoting positive and lasting behavioral change.

Regardless of the type of mental health issue you are experiencing, you can connect with personalized treatment today. Learn more about us by calling 844-413-0009 any time.

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