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Residential Treatment vs. Inpatient Treatment for Mental Health Disorders

It is important to understand the treatment programs available to you or your loved ones if you're looking for a suitable rehabilitation therapy program. The severity of your mental health condition also dictates what kind of treatment program is best for you.

In the following article, we are going to look at residential treatment vs. inpatient treatment for mental health disorders and the differences between them.

Although the phrases inpatient and residential rehab are frequently used interchangeably, these two types of programs are quite distinct.

What is residential treatment?

Residential treatment centers generally allow people to leave their homes and voluntarily live in a treatment facility while pursuing recovery and receiving therapy. As a result, individuals can receive a better degree of care at residential treatment programs than they might through individual, family, or group therapy alone.

Hospitals across the country struggle to treat mental health patients who appear in emergency rooms. Usually, patients will spend days in emergency departments without proper treatment due to a lack of available services and 24/7 treatment preventing them from receiving all the care and attention required. Due to the mental health crisis, most hospitals have increased ER waiting times for patients seeking urgent medical care.

This usually means that hospitals, police enforcement, insurance companies, and people seeking medical services have shouldered costly expenses and resources are used inefficiently. Crisis residential treatment is a cost-effective, proven modality of care that eliminates this load and delivers carefully targeted care.

How residential treatment can help:
  • Residential programs give a more home-like environment with all levels of comfort, which helps in facilitating a peaceful and inviting recovery environment.
  • Crisis residential treatment provides quality, professional, evidence-based treatment in a relaxed home-like setting.
  • Clients have access to cell phones and the ability to leave on therapeutic passes when appropriate.
  • There is a strong emphasis on helping the client reintegrate into the community.
  • Clients also participate in meal preparation and daily coping skills that improve the behavioral functioning of individuals with mental illness.
  • CRTs allow clients to address mental health problems in a comfortable non-institutionalized environment where clinicians are “recovery-based.”
  • Residential treatment enables clients to get 24-hour care while pursuing therapy to address mental health disorders.

What is inpatient treatment?

Inpatient treatment is sometimes required for patients suffering from mental health conditions and offers round-the-clock care and risk assessment. This can be critical when a patient poses a serious risk of injury to themselves or others. It may also be necessary if a patient has acute mood, behavior, or thinking disorders or requires a high dose of intense medication that may cause side effects. It is also an excellent option for those who need more assistance than outpatient or day treatment can provide.

Inpatient programs are commonly considered a short-term treatment strategy for addressing mental health disorders’ underlying causes and difficulties. They focus on medical intervention and the immediate crisis, and patient stability.

Some inpatient treatment settings are housed in hospitals, while others are independent. Despite this, most of these facilities are closed-door, making it impossible for patients to leave. As a result, patients in an inpatient situation are exposed to a limited variety of activities that can only be undertaken within the unit's bounds.

Inpatient care is especially critical if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Your symptoms are severe and substantially influence your capacity to operate in daily life.
  • If you are having suicidal thoughts and your safety is jeopardized.

When to use inpatient vs. residential treatment

A few key differences exist between inpatient and residential treatment. For starters, the length of time between inpatient and residential rehabilitation can vary substantially. In general, inpatient rehab lasts less time than residential rehab. Inpatient treatment is typically aimed at assisting individuals in achieving medical stability and one of its chief targets is to prevent the escalation of any potential dangers. In contrast, residential rehab aims primarily to restore the patient’s wellbeing and provide a nurturing environment that promotes recovery, with the longer aim of independent function and reintegration into the community.

Given those different aims, residential treatments happen to be less restrictive than inpatient therapy, and they generally last longer. Residential treatment can last anywhere between a couple weeks to several months. In addition, they intend to offer a more pleasant and less sterile treatment than inpatient care.

While both treatment methods are aimed at people in need of intensive therapeutic assistance, they focus on different aspects of treatment.

Inpatient treatment:
  • Provides a short-term remedy to problems, often lasting 1-3 months
  • It focuses on the present crisis and stabilizing the patient and works to correct symptoms rather than causes
  • A focus on medical intervention
Residential treatment:
  • A long-term treatment approach
  • Uses various therapeutic treatments to address the root causes of the crisis
  • Assists patients in preparing for life after treatment

Benefits of residential treatment in regards to mental health

There are several advantages to getting residential treatment for mental health, given their holistic approach to treatment that understands the need for a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to therapeutic care.

Traditional inpatient psychiatric units are traumatizing for patients who wind up there, and those utilizing residential services see a significant advantage of residential treatments. In addition, you will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities with serene settings at a residential treatment center, providing you with the highest chance of long-term mental health rehabilitation.

At Jackson House, we offer a unique service for mental health patients that does not always exist in most cities. Many select our residential mental health treatment not just for the atmosphere, but for the multiple other benefits it offers, including:

  • A safe setting with regular supervision for those requiring continual access to medical help.
  • We offer a variety of different forms of therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), stress management, and medication management.
  • Our smaller home-like facilities allow people to settle in quicker and thus facilitating a greater chance of improvement.
  • Those who go through residential treatment go through the program with other peers who can provide support during and after treatment. You will also benefit from being a member of a therapeutic community in residential treatment centers, where people in treatment support one another by offering encouragement to stay focused on recovery. This empathy and shared experience camaraderie are available around the clock anytime you need someone to talk to.
  • Our residential treatment also ensures that our clients do not lose their basic rights. For example, patients can still have access to their belongings and are not forced to refrain from using cell phones, having access to computers, etc.

Get help

Mental health disorders can be seriously debilitating and getting professional help can be vital for helping you get your life back on track. If you feel that mental illness is taking over your life, Jackson House can help you regain control. We treat depression, anxiety, mood disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and several other mental disorders. Jackson House offers evidence-based treatments in a caring and supportive environment with 24/7 support. Call or get in touch today to begin your road to recovery.

It's time to feel better

We are here to help and we are in-network with most insurance providers. Call us for a free and confidential consultation.

If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at (888) 255-9280. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.