March 2, 2020
When your life is spiraling out of control and any interventions you have tried are not working, the natural response you or your family might make would be to hospitalize you or put you into residential care. There may be times that this is the best option for you, and maybe even necessary to save your life. But being torn from your family, school, and friends is not the only option anymore. There are other types of treatment, too, such as outpatient treatment programs. These programs have schedules which allow you to still work or go to school while in treatment. It’s all about keeping your options open.
Depending on what your challenges are and how severe your symptoms are, there are many different types of treatment available. When choosing a treatment, the highest priorities are your health, safety, and well-being. Sometimes, the earlier you seek treatment, the more options you have, because your mental health is not yet at an acute level. You and your family can also make decisions based on cost, location, and other factors — but the most important factor is you.
• Hospitalization with 24/7 Medical Care – This is the place you need to be if you are at high risk for suicide or other self-harm, or if you are in a state of psychosis where you are shut down, hallucinating, having delusions, are overly suspicious, or exhibiting other extreme or dangerous behaviors. If you need supervision around the clock to protect yourself or others around you, then this is where you need to be. There are doctors around the clock, and medications or other treatments are readily available.
Hospitalization is the most restrictive form of care, because you have the most extreme symptoms and need the most intense form of care. Unfortunately, that limits your input as to your care, too. Some patients find these visits less personal, particularly with the sterile environment.
• Residential Care – Residential care usually refers to facilities where patients stay around the clock to receive care. These are typically specific facilities designated for mental health and substance use treatment. There is usually at least a nurse available at all hours, and patients see doctors and therapists during their time there.
Many residential facilities provide some kind of educational option for those who are currently enrolled in school, as well as group activities. However, many facilities are quite regimented and not as warm or welcoming as other medical or school environments.
• Outpatient Care – Before your symptoms reach crisis levels, you may choose an option of outpatient care. This is for when your problems are chronic, but not life-threatening. Outpatient care is ideal because you can often still attend school or work, sleep in your own bed at night, and still have daily contact with family and friends.
Outpatient means that you attend treatment for a specific amount of time, usually no more than a few hours per day. Most care is in a group setting with peers who are just like you. Additionally, outpatient care is not limited to a facility; you can have all kinds of outings and interactive experiences that make it feel more fun than other forms of treatment.
• Psychiatrist visits – A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health. Although there is a lot of stigma about them, they are the most capable of diagnosing and treating mental health issues. Visits range from ten minutes for a checkup to about an hour or so for diagnostic visits. This is just like going to any other doctor. Most patients see their psychiatrist every three to six months unless otherwise necessary for excessive symptoms.
• Group or Individual Therapy – Therapy can be individual, where you visit with a therapist one-on-one, or in a group, where there are multiple people with similar issues who simultaneously meet with a therapist. Therapy is primarily talking about what is going on in your life and how you might want to make changes. There are many therapeutic techniques, some of which involve various types of relaxation or other methods. Ultimately, therapy is meant to heal us and help us cope and move forward.
• Life Coach – A life coach is similar to a therapist, only they are primarily there for guidance and motivation to move forward, rather than healing from the past. Sessions vary, but on average are 30 to 60 minutes each. Unlike the treatment options mentioned previously, life coaches are not usually covered by medical insurance.
Making Your Choice
You are not limited to a single choice. You may decide to have therapy, a psychiatrist, and outpatient care all at the same time. You may also use outpatient care for transitioning out of residential or hospital care, or you may choose outpatient care as a way of preventing the more restrictive hospital or residential care. Always keep in mind that your mental and physical health is the most important factor in making a choice for your care.
You have a lot of options available for your mental health care. You don’t have to wait until you are in crisis and endure a hospitalization that pulls you away from your family, friends, school, and/or work. You can empower yourself now and find less restrictive options, such as outpatient care, to help you now, before it’s too late. It’s all about keeping your options open.
Find out more about treatment options by calling Potomac Programs 1-855-809-0409 today. You might be surprised just how much fun you can have in treatment.