Living with a mental health challenge can be depleting. Each day the struggle to function normally becomes more difficult as a mental health disorder worsens. Outpatient care through a private practice mental health profession may have been sufficient in managing the complex symptoms for a while, but over time these interventions have possibly become less effective.
Elevation Behavioral Health offers a intimate, home-like atmosphere in which individuals can spend quality time addressing their mental wellness needs. The residential program allows the individual to receive specialized and targeted treatment for their particular diagnosis and its features. This more intensive approach to treating the disorder can yield more positive clinical results than an outpatient format.
Which Mental Health Conditions Are Treated?
Treating complex mental health disorders requires specific credentials, expertise, and experience. The professional psychiatric services provided at a residential mental health treatment center will encompass comprehensive treatment for the full spectrum of mental health disorders. These include:
- Anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, social anxiety, panic disorder, and mental health disorders closely associated with the anxiety spectrum such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Depressive disorders, including major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, postpartum depression, premenopausal dysphoric disorder, and seasonal affective disorder
- Mood disorders, including bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymic disorder
- Personality disorders, including narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder
- Psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, brief psychotic disorder, delusional disorder, and schizophreniform disorder.
The Benefits of Residential Treatment for Individuals with Mental Illness
Residential psychiatric settings provide a unique opportunity to receive treatment that is fully customized for the individual. This setting offers a soothing backdrop where individuals within a therapeutic community are closely cared for and attended to. Gone are the daily distractions or triggers that continue to spur the disorder. Residential treatment allows the individual to receive the most effective and targeted care in a safe, supportive environment. This type of healing environment includes the following features:
- Respect for the dignity of the individual: Being cared for as a unique and valuable human being
- A supportive and structured environment. Stability in recovery relies on a structured environment where the individual feels comfortable with the daily routine
- Tailored treatment and recovery goals. Treatment plans are individualized and recovery goals include expectations that the individual will participate in self-care efforts
- Peer support. Sharing the recovery experience with others who are experiencing similar challenges through group sessions and general interactions
- Taking responsibility. Being respectful of members of the wellness community and taking responsibility for one’s behavior
- A better quality of life. A residential mental health center provides individuals with a better quality of life than they would experience in other mental health settings.
The residential therapeutic community setting offers a more home-like atmosphere that is beneficial to the general wellbeing of the individual. Alternatively, a hospital setting is a colder, more institutional setting that doesn’t offer the warm community environment that patients thrive in.
A hospital setting is, however, an appropriate option for a mental health crisis situation, where efforts to stabilize and closely monitor the individual are needed. Admission to a hospital may be necessary when there is risk of harm to the individual or to others due to a mental health emergency. The individual may be hospitalized voluntarily or involuntarily for acute stabilization.
What to Expect at a Residential Mental Health Treatment Center
Residential treatment offers high-quality, extended care within a safe, supportive and structured setting. Here an individual will experience more personalized care and a desirable patient to provider ratio. Daily routines are filled with meaningful experiences and therapies designed to enhance stability and healing. Generally, the individual can expect the following elements of care:
An in-depth interview with a clinical psychologist will be the first step in forming an individualized treatment plan. During this initial conversation the therapist will ask for detailed information about current symptoms, chronic symptoms, cognitive functioning, physical health, and mental health history. The clinician may use various standardized assessment tools to further home in on the exact diagnosis and its particular features. From this data the customized treatment plan will be created, so this process only occurs once.
A daily psychotherapy session with the primary therapist will help establish a trust bond between patient and therapist. Trust is the cornerstone feature of a productive and positive therapy experience. During these sessions the individual will explore the areas that may be a source of pain or emotional dysfunction that could be contributing to the mental health disorder. Treatment goals are set early on, with benchmarks sometimes defined. Evidence-based psychotherapies might include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychodynamic therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, and others.
In most instances, the individual will require the help of a medication that is designed to help relieve the main symptoms of the disorder. This relief allows the individual to better manage the condition on a daily basis, leading to a better quality of life. Initially, the individual’s current medications will be reviewed and adjusted if necessary. Drugs might include antidepressants, sedatives (benzodiazepines), anti-psychotic medications, or mood stabilizers.
Peer group sessions
While in treatment for a mental health condition it can be advantageous to meet with others who are experiencing similar mental health struggles. The small, intimate group setting is conducive to sharing personal stories, struggles, hopes, and fears. A clinician will guide the topics of discussion and facilitate the group toward a respectful, productive meeting.
Family members gather with their loved one to learn more about the mental health disorders, the symptoms, and the signs of distress if the disorder worsens, and then how to better respond. Family members have an influential role in helping and supporting their loved one in managing the disorder effectively. Communication skills and conflict resolution techniques are often included in family therapy.
Psychosocial process group
Ultimately, the individual will return to their normal life where they will again be interacting with others. These sessions assist the individual in acquiring new social skills, such as coping skills, stress regulation, and problem-solving skills. These skills will lead to increased self-confidence and self-awareness within social settings. The individual may be introduced to social service providers or community resources that might offer additional support groups or services to further assist with psychosocial rehabilitation following treatment.
The use of specialized therapies that can augment the clinical results is integrated into the residential treatment program. For example, individuals with trauma disorder, or who have had a past trauma that is impeding treatment response, may benefit from eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR), neurofeedback, brain spotting, or somatic experiencing therapy (SE)
Further enhance the mind-body connection with restorative activities that can compliment the evidence-based therapies. These might include yoga class, or art, music, drama, dance therapies. Learn to relax through mindfulness meditation techniques, or get a massage.
Along with the various therapeutic activities and treatment elements is ample time to relax and just be. This down time is an important aspect of overall treatment, as the individual will be able to process the progress they are making in therapy and allow what they are learning to absorb. Rest is an integral part of healing. Down time is a good time to take a walk, read, journal, pray or meditate, or just take a nap.
When Should You Seek Residential Psychiatric Treatment?
Most people who pursue residential treatment for a mental health disorder do so when the outpatient treatment efforts are no longer effective. Their symptoms may be worsening, causing significant impairment in daily functioning. A professional mental health provider, such as the psychiatrist or psychotherapist who has been treating the person on an outpatient basis, will make the determination that a higher level of care is appropriate.
Some signs that inpatient care is needed may include:
- The disorder may be now causing physical health problems,
- The disorder is causing serious interpersonal problems
- The disorder is causing acting out, or disruptive behavior
- The disorder has deteriorated to the point that personal hygiene is ignored
- The disorder is leading to violent acts that threaten the wellbeing of others
- The individual is increasingly engaging in self-harming behaviors
- The individual may be having suicidal thoughts.
Things to Look For in a Residential Mental Health Treatment Center
When considering a residential provider of mental health treatment services, there are several things to investigate during the research phase. Not all providers are created equal. There is a wide spectrum of care available, from Spartan facilities to luxury spa-like facilities. Services, accommodations, geographic locations, and amenities vary, as do the core philosophies that guide the programs.
When searching for a high quality residential treatment provider, consider these items:
- Accreditation and licensing of facility. The facility should have been carefully vetted through state oversight through licensing and accreditation procedures. This ensures the highest standard of care in the industry.
- Staff credentials. Ask about the staff and the credentials they hold. These are the people that the loved one will be working with and encountering on a daily basis. Confirm that they hold necessary credentials, and have experience in a residential environment.
- Ratio of clinical staff to patient. For some individuals, the number of people who reside at the residential center is an issue. Some prefer a smaller venue where they will feel more secure and looked after.
- Access to emergency services. If a patient’s condition should suddenly deteriorate to the point it becomes a psychiatric emergence, the residential treatment center should have local access to a hospital emergency department.
- Aftercare services. Patients should have access to aftercare resources, such as outpatient programs, that they can step down to following the inpatient program.