19 percent of adults in the US were treated for mental health disorders in 2019. Common ailments include anxiety, depression, bipolar, and mood disorders. There are several treatment options for mental health, including inpatient and outpatient options.
So, what are the differences? What can you expect with those types of treatment? What are the benefits of inpatient vs. outpatient mental health treatment?
Keep reading to understand the difference between the two options. And discover more about each treatment option.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Mental Health Treatments
Both inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment address mental health issues. But there is one key difference: inpatient treatment involves overnight stays in a facility. Both types of treatment have the same goal: to get your mental health in a better place.
Outpatient treatments encompass a lot of options. It’s a blanket term for any treatment given in an office, hospital, or clinical environment. Once someone completes outpatient services, the receiver returns home.
People can seek inpatient or outpatient treatment for several disorders, such as:
- Bipolar disorder
- Dissociative disorders
- Personality disorders
Treatment types vary on the severity of the mental health problem. Other factors include insurance coverage, doctor recommendations, and the level of support needed.
You may be wondering about the treatment options for inpatient and outpatient programs. Read more about inpatient and outpatient treatment below.
Inpatient Mental Health Treatment Options
Inpatient care in an intensive program with full-time, around-the-clock mental health care. This option is best for those suffering from issues that need constant monitoring in a facility. For example, those dealing with suicidal ideation, depression, or addiction.
Inpatient treatment centers around the following:
- Understanding mental illness
- Rapid stabilization
- Re-hospitalization avoidance
- Discharge planning
This option is a great way to learn coping skills without exposure to negative situations.
How Long Is Inpatient Treatment?
There are short-term and long-term treatment options. How long your stay is will depend on the treatment needed and the level of care required. Someone with co-existing mental disorders will probably need a longer stay than someone only struggling with one disorder.
Benefits of Inpatient Treatment
People are in a structured and safe environment 24/7. There is medical staff available at all times to assist them with whatever they may need. This intensive treatment plan can be very beneficial for those who are a harm to themselves or others.
Inpatient programs are highly structured. The entire program focuses on educating people about their mental health disorders and treating them. The immersive program teaches the skills needed for them to overcome their challenges.
Potential Disadvantages of Inpatient Treatment
Inpatient care removes people from their everyday lives. This could cause issues with jobs or parents could face childcare concerns. Additionally, people won’t be able to connect with loved ones often and that can increase depression symptoms.
The structure is rigid and managed by staff. A lot of people struggle with the loss of control and having someone telling them what to do throughout the day.
Inpatient costs tend to be much higher than outpatient treatment.
How to Prepare for Inpatient Treatment
Some people get to prepare for an inpatient stay while others do not. If you get to prepare, it’s important to find care for children or pets. And to have someone who can tend to bills, homes, etc. while you are gone.
Inpatient treatment can be a great way to treat common mental illnesses. It is also a big change and can be a lot to handle for some people. It’s important to remember if inpatient is the best option, it’s to get your mental health in a better place.
And remind yourself the decision is to make your future better.
Outpatient Mental Health Treatment Options
Outpatient treatment options are every other mental health treatment besides inpatient care. Outpatient care is tailored to each person’s individual needs, so treatment plans vary. What works for one person probably won’t work for another.
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Medication management
- Light therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Chemical dependency treatment
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation
- Family therapy
- Couples therapy
Outpatient care is more flexible than inpatient. There is also less structure, so this option is more suitable for those with less severe mental health or addiction issues. People attend outpatient treatments and then go home to apply the skills learned in a real-world setting.
How Long Is Outpatient Treatment?
The length of treatment varies for each person. Some outpatient options are just a one-hour therapy session while others are a six-hour session. Mental health professionals determine the duration of treatment based on the severity of issues and continued progress.
Most outpatient treatments are at one to three times a week for about an hour each session. Plans can last from a few weeks to years.
Benefits of Outpatient Treatment
Outpatient treatment is much less disruptive to your everyday life. People can still have a strong connection to their support people, which can go a long way in a successful treatment plan.
Outpatient also allows people to still go to work and to try new skills in their daily settings. This treatment option is also much less expensive than inpatient.
Treatment sessions are much more flexible with outpatient care. Sometimes sessions are even offered at night to enable a regular work schedule.
There are also several different types of programs people can complete with this treatment option. This offers more variety and a more personalized experience.
Outpatient treatments can also treat co-existing conditions. So, if a person has both anxiety and depression, they can be addressed with one treatment plan.
Potential Disadvantages of Outpatient Treatment
People are not in a secluded and safe environment at all times. This can make learning necessary coping skills more difficult. Personal triggers and negative factors are still in your everyday activities.
The person attending therapy also is responsible for going. When suffering from some mental health disorders, this can become a problem.
If a person needs medication management, the facility they are working with may or may not offer this option. This can be a deterrence in the treatment plan and discouraging to many people.
How to Prepare for Outpatient Treatment
Whether you are dealing with anxiety in the workplace or need a little help pulling out of a depressive episode, it’s important you are ready to discuss what is going on.
The first step of outpatient treatment is a thorough psychiatric evaluation by a mental health provider. This will help them to craft a treatment plan that best benefits your individual needs.
You will also need to be mentally prepared to discuss trauma, sensitive situations, etc. to get to the root of the issues. This can be difficult for many people.
What Is Structured Outpatient Treatment?
Structured outpatient treatment is a more complex, immersive treatment plan. With this treatment option, people attend therapeutic sessions almost every day of the week. Each day lasts for several hours for a more hands-on experience.
There are two main types of structured outpatient treatment: intensive outpatient (IOP) and partial hospitalization (PHP). The determination of each treatment is based on hours in therapy each week.
For intensive outpatient, children have six hours of therapy weekly while adults have nine. Partial hospitalization is at least 20 hours a week, but it’s common to be much more.
This type of treatment is common after an inpatient treatment program. It’s also used to prevent the need for an inpatient placement.
Which Option Is Best For You?
Learning about treatment options is great, but to determine the best course of action, you have to speak to a mental health professional. A licensed professional can help you find a facility. They can also determine your treatment plan and find additional resources.
What Types of Therapies Can You Expect?
Both treatment plans offer several types of therapies to treat mental health disorders. These sessions can be individual, with your family, or in a group. Learn more about different types of therapies below.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
CBT identifies negative thought patterns in a person. And then teaches them how to shift those thoughts and stop destructive behaviors.
CBT focuses on current situations. People who needed to heal from past traumas wouldn’t benefit from this until those were addressed.
This type of therapy is usually a short-term treatment. It can be used in family, group, or individual sessions.
DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)
DBT focuses on teaching people how to use new techniques or coping skills to help regulate emotions. This type of therapy is to improve a person’s quality of life through emotional regulation and mindfulness.
DBT is often used to help those with emotionally distressing disorders. There are four stages to DBT that are followed throughout a treatment plan.
Family therapy is when you and your family members, usually immediate family, meet for a group session. This session will discuss past traumas or how to help manage certain mental health disorders.
This approach focuses on strengthening relationships with those close to the person receiving treatment. You may complete exercises or activities to foster better communication skills. Or conduct activities to strengthen your bond.
Family therapy can improve communication between you and your loved ones. It can also help you to address sensitive or complicated situations in a safe environment.
This type of therapy offers solutions to better manage anger, stress, and frustration more effectively. Many times, everyone in attendance can benefit from the coping skills learned. Family therapy is an option for anyone who struggles with close relationships or needs extra support with family dynamics.
Group therapy is when a licensed mental health professional works with several individuals at one time. This type of therapy is often used in inpatient or community settings.
Group therapy often connects people suffering from the same or similar mental health disorders. This can help others to not feel so alone. And can offer new perspectives.
Group therapy can offer more support and encouragement to someone. Many people also find role models in this type of therapy.
Many mental health issues are covered in group therapy sessions. These include anxiety, depression, and panic disorders.
Individual therapy often called talk therapy, is when you receive personalized counseling from a licensed professional. This type of therapy is confidential and focuses on current life challenges.
Individual therapy is patient-driven, meaning sessions center around what you need at that moment. The goal of individual therapy is to improve a person’s quality of life or inspire change.
Mental health issues often cause physical issues. Seeking individual counseling help improve mental health, stress, and overall physical condition. It can also help you learn coping skills that will help you in your everyday life.
People with all sorts of mental health disorders seek individual counseling. If you suffer from a personality disorder, depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, or dissociative disorder, individual therapy could be beneficial to you.
Get Started With Mental Health Treatment Today
Now that you understand the difference between inpatient vs. outpatient mental health treatment options, you can speak to your provider about which option is best for you. Both options offer the same types of treatments, the intensity of care is just different.
Whether you feel inpatient or outpatient would be a better option, there is help out there for you. It can be scary to ask for help but know that we are here for you and ready to help.
If you want to speak to someone or verify our program accepts your insurance, reach out today.