Living with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be an uphill battle. Fortunately, with effective treatment, many people can find the strength to overcome their struggles and achieve long-term wellness. Mental health care has helped many who are suffering from mental disorders get back to daily life without constantly living under the weight of mental illness.
There are various forms of treatment available, ranging from pharmacological therapy to individual and group therapy sessions. These treatments occur in different settings. They are facilitated by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers and mental health professionals, including psychologists, counselors, psychiatrists, nurses, mental health aides, wellness practitioners, and peer support professionals. With their medical advice and expertise, you can receive the most effective treatment based on your mental health condition, severity, and requirements.
Mental Health Disorders
A mental health disorder, also referred to as a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a condition that affects an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and/or behaviors, causing significant distress and impairment in daily life. Mental health disorders can be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and social factors and can range from mild to severe.
According to Mental Health America (MHA), 19.86% of adults in the United States are experiencing a mental illness in 2022, which is equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans. Additionally, 4.91% of adults are experiencing a severe mental illness.
A few of the most common types of mental illnesses include but are not limited to:
- Anxiety disorders
- Depressive disorders
- Substance use disorders
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
These mental disorders can impact an individual’s ability to work, engage in relationships, and enjoy life, and often require treatment plans such as therapy, medication, or a combination of both. It’s essential to seek professional help if one suspects they may be experiencing mental health disorder symptoms.
Mental Health Treatment Settings
There are several different settings where mental health treatment can be provided, depending on the individual’s needs, the type of mental disorder, the severity of their condition, their physical health, and other medical conditions. Outlined below are three primary types of treatment settings that your primary care provider may recommend to you:
Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU)
A Crisis Stabilization Unit is a short-term mental health facility that provides intensive treatment for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. CSUs offer immediate stabilization for individuals who are experiencing acute symptoms of mental illness and who may be at risk of harming themselves or others.
The goal of a Crisis Stabilization Unit is to provide timely intervention to stabilize the individual’s mental health crisis and connect them with appropriate longer-term care if needed. CSUs typically offer various services, including medication management, individual and group therapy, crisis counseling, and case management. They may also provide referrals to other mental health services or community resources.
CSUs are staffed by mental health professionals, including licensed therapists, psychiatrists, nurses, and case managers. Treatment in a CSU is typically voluntary, although individuals may be involuntarily admitted if they are deemed as a danger to themselves or others. In CSU, pharmacological interventions are often utilized to stabilize the person. These include sedatives, antipsychotics, anti-depressants, and anti-anxiety medications.
Crisis Stabilization Units can be found in hospitals, mental health clinics, and other mental health facilities. They are an important resource for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, as they provide immediate, intensive treatment in a safe and supportive environment.
Inpatient Mental Health Treatment
Inpatient mental health treatment, also known as psychiatric hospitalization or residential treatment, is a type of mental health care where individuals receive intensive, round-the-clock care in a hospital or residential facility. This type of treatment program is typically reserved for individuals who are experiencing severe mental health symptoms and require immediate intervention and close monitoring.
Inpatient treatment involves various services, including medication management, individual therapy, group therapy, and specialized programming. Treatment is highly individualized and tailored to the needs of each individual. The goal of inpatient treatment is to stabilize the individual’s mental health and provide them with the skills and resources they need to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Inpatient treatment is typically provided in a hospital or residential facility and is staffed by a team of mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, nurses, therapists, and case managers. Treatment is highly structured and may include a combination of medication, therapy, and other interventions.
Inpatient treatment is typically more intensive and expensive than outpatient treatment and is often covered by insurance. Length of stay can vary depending on the individual’s needs and the severity of their symptoms. In most cases, individuals may transition from inpatient treatment to a lower level of care, such as a day program or outpatient treatment, as they continue their wellness journey.
Services provided by inpatient facilities:
- Psychiatric assessment – A highly skilled team of mental health professionals and physicians will evaluate you via various assessments and tests. Using this, they will reach a diagnosis and curate a treatment program for you.
- Education – Throughout inpatient treatment, you will have access to mental health resources and services where you may learn how to manage your symptoms outside of treatment. They will educate you on how to recognize and respond to triggers, manage stress, and decrease the likelihood of relapse.
- Counseling and psychological therapy – Therapy with a psychologist or psychotherapist on an individual and group level is the most administered form of treatment during an inpatient stay. It will prevent you from losing contact with social situations and help you widen your network and support outside of treatment.
- Recreational therapy – Recreational activities that have therapeutic benefits are encouraged during inpatient treatment. From art therapy to adventure therapy, finding outlets to express yourself while developing social skills and increasing self-esteem are vital tools in recovery.
- Medication and pharmacological therapy – In an inpatient setting, medication management is typically overseen by a psychiatrist or other medical professional with specialized training in psychopharmacology. A comprehensive evaluation by a medical doctor will determine the appropriate medication regimen. The medication regimen is closely monitored and adjusted based on individual response to treatment.
Outpatient Mental Health Treatment
Outpatient treatment is a type of mental health care that does not require the individual to be admitted to a hospital or residential treatment center. Instead, they receive treatment on a regular basis, often on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, through visits to a mental health clinic, counseling center, or private mental health treatment center. This form of treatment targets individuals that do not require around-the-clock care and supervision.
Outpatient treatment can include a range of services, including individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and medication management. Outpatient mental health treatment is often used as a step-down from more intensive levels of care, such as residential treatment. It’s also a good option for individuals who require ongoing support and treatment for a chronic mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety.
The frequency and duration of outpatient mental health treatment vary depending on the individual’s specific needs and the severity of their condition. Some individuals may only require a few sessions, while others may require ongoing treatment for an extended period of time. The goal of outpatient mental health treatment is to help individuals struggling with mental health issues manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.
Outpatient treatment can be categorized into different levels of care based on the intensity of services provided. These levels of care include:
- General Outpatient Program
This is the least intensive form of outpatient treatment, where individuals attend therapy sessions on a regular basis, usually once or twice a week, for a specific period of time. The client and primary care provider can coordinate a treatment plan that fits within the client’s busy schedule.
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
This is a more intensive form of outpatient treatment where individuals attend therapy sessions for several hours a day, several days a week, for a specific period of time. IOPs offer a structured program that provides a higher level of support and intervention than general outpatient treatment.
- Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
This is a structured program that provides intensive mental health treatment for individuals who do not require 24-hour hospitalization but need more intensive treatment than general outpatient treatment. In a PHP, individuals attend a program at a mental health facility for several hours a day, typically five days a week. This treatment is similar to IOP but requires individuals to attend five or more hours of therapy five or seven days a week. It offers the most intensive program on an outpatient basis. It benefits those transitioning from residential care to living outside the facility and getting back into contact with reality.
When it comes to mental health treatment, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Each individual’s journey is unique, so the treatment approach must be tailored to their specific needs and circumstances. But fear not – there are countless approaches available that can be customized to suit your needs, and we’re here to explore some of the most common ones.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Medications are a standard treatment option for certain mental health conditions. The medications used in MAT are FDA-approved and are often used in conjunction with psychotherapy and other supportive services to achieve optimal outcomes. While they do not cure the illness, medication is a useful tool in managing symptoms and improving your quality of life.
A few of the most commonly used psychiatric medications are as follows:
- Anti-depressants – Commonly used to treat the major depressive disorder and other health conditions with depressive symptoms such as anxiety or insomnia. The goal of this medication is to bring relief and prevent the symptoms of depression, such as lethargy and feelings of hopelessness.
- Anti-anxiety Medications – These help individuals struggling with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and panic attacks. These medications are used only for short durations as long-term use may lead to dependence and addiction.
- Mood Stabilizers – are used primarily in treating bipolar disorder and other mood disorders. These medications help prevent symptoms such as mania, rapid mood swings, and depression.
- Antipsychotic Medication – These work by altering the neurochemicals of an individual’s brain to reduce psychotic symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thinking.
Psychotherapy, more commonly known as talk therapy, is a type of therapy provided by a trained mental health professional to assist people in identifying and regulating their emotions, cognitions, and behaviors. It helps them learn sustainable long-term coping skills needed in their wellness journey. Psychotherapy is used in inpatient and outpatient settings and can be administered by itself or in conjunction with medication.
A few of the most popular types of psychological therapy are:
- Individual Therapy – This type of therapy is a one-on-one session between you and your therapist. Together, you can uncover the triggers and causes behind your thoughts and behaviors while working towards developing healthy coping mechanisms.
- Family Therapy – If you’re struggling with family conflict, therapy can help you work through issues together. In family therapy, everyone communicates with each other in the presence of a therapist to find common ground, resolve conflicts, and gain a deeper understanding of each other.
- Group Therapy – Joining a group therapy session can help you connect with others who share similar experiences. Led by a therapist, group therapy fosters social bonds and helps people feel less alone. Common topics include anger management, substance abuse, or coping with loss.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This popular and effective therapy is used to treat a range of psychiatric disorders, including major depression and anorexia nervosa. By challenging irrational thoughts and replacing them with positive and constructive ones, CBT can help you take a more positive approach to life.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – DBT emphasizes acceptance, finding healthy coping skills, processing emotions, and mending interpersonal relationships. A therapist uses acceptance of the person’s willingness to change and recover.
Therapy can be a life-changing experience, but it’s essential to find the right type of therapy to meet your needs. By exploring these different types of therapy, you can take the first step towards finding the right support to help you live a happier, healthier life.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
This is a form of treatment given to those struggling with a substance use disorder and a mental health condition, otherwise known as a co-occurring disorder. It’s important to note that having a co-occurring disorder doesn’t necessarily mean one caused the other. Rather, they often arise due to common risk factors like trauma, stress, or genetics. It’s estimated that up to 50% of individuals with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental health issue. Without simultaneous treatment for both conditions, recovery can be challenging, if not impossible. This is why dual diagnosis treatment is so essential.
Holistic approaches in mental health treatment are based on the idea that individuals should be treated as a whole rather than just as a set of symptoms or a diagnosis. Holistic treatments consider the interconnection between a person’s physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual well-being and aim to address all of these aspects in the wellness process. Holistic treatments may be used alone or in combination with more traditional treatment options.
Some examples of holistic approaches to mental health treatment include:
- Mindfulness-based therapy
- Yoga therapy
- Physical therapy
- Equine therapy
- Nutritional therapy
It’s important to note that mental health treatment is often most effective when multiple approaches are used together in a comprehensive treatment plan that is tailored to the individual’s unique needs and circumstances.
Remember, finding the right treatment for your mental health condition is a journey, and it’s essential to have patience, persistence, and support along the way. With the right help, you can take control of your mental health and live a fulfilling life.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health condition, substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders, Turning Point Centers is here to help. We provide multiple levels of care incorporated with various evidence-based treatment modalities to help you achieve long-term wellness and recovery.