Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment: What’s the Difference?

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Home » Blog » Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment: What’s the Difference?

Trying to figure out what a person’s options are for getting treatment for poor mental health can feel time-consuming and confusing. One of the big questions people often have is, “What is the difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment?” Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson offers highly effective care for people who struggle with a wide array of mental health disorders. In this article, we explore the options people have for levels of care and the benefits each one provides.

Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Mental Health Treatment 

Inpatient care is sometimes referred to as residential mental health care, although there may be differences, depending on the facility. For example, some inpatient programs take place in a hospital or other clinical mental health setting, while those more commonly referred to as residential are in a non-clinical facility. The main difference between inpatient and outpatient is whether or not the person lives in the facility while under its care. Inpatient treatment requires a person to move into a facility usually for at least 30 days. For someone with a severe mental health disorder, a stay of three months or longer may be necessary. 

On the other hand, outpatient programs do not require someone to live in their facility. The person receiving treatment can live in their own home and travel to the facility for daytime or evening sessions. Some programs even provide virtual therapy sessions for those who qualify. This means the person can attend their treatment appointments from their home or another location that provides internet access. Outpatient treatment allows people the opportunity to still work or attend school, if their schedule allows for it and it’s in their best interest to concentrate on more than just their treatment.

Benefits of Inpatient vs Outpatient Mental Health Treatment 

Woman benefits from both inpatient and outpatient mental health treatmentBoth inpatient and outpatient mental health programs offer benefits to the people who take advantage of them. Inpatient programs provide a safe place for someone to live full-time while they work on improving their mental health. For many, this is the perfect opportunity to leave behind the daily stressor of their lives and truly commit to learning how to feel better. Stepping away from responsibilities such as career, school work, daily chores, and family life can provide a peaceful setting that set the stage for coming back from the brink of a mental crisis. 

Inpatient care teaches people to develop healthy coping mechanisms they can put into practice when they return home. As well, because they are surrounded by people who understand their emotions and experiences, those in inpatient care can benefit from peer support.

Outpatient treatment benefits center around the fact that it requires less time. Depending on the level of outpatient care they choose, the person attends sessions anywhere from a couple of days to several days per week. This allows them a lot more time to tend to family responsibilities, work, and go to school. Because the person resides in their own home, any daily life stressors that come up can be discussed during their therapy sessions. This allows them to apply therapeutic advice and practices quickly and get feedback from their therapists.

How to Decide if You Need Inpatient or Outpatient Care

When it comes to determining the difference between inpatient and outpatient care and what provides the best fit for someone, the person has options for who to speak to about making this decision. Having a consultation with a mental health professional can help a person decide what level of care they need. Choices include a current therapist or physician the individual already sees or making an appointment to speak with someone who can help assess their needs. 

As well, many facilities that treat mental health disorders provide a free phone consultation. They will ask questions about what symptoms the person experiences, if they have received a formal diagnosis, and any previous attempts at treatment. This allows them to understand if inpatient or outpatient care will provide the right type of care for their needs. In addition, the initial phone call usually includes information about if the facility accepts the person’s insurance plan.

Contact Our Mental Health Treatment Center at Montare

Do you want to find help for yourself or someone you love and aren’t sure which program is right for you? Knowing the difference between inpatient and outpatient can help you understand which option fits your specific needs. Someone in need of focused, round-the-clock care can get exactly what they need with us. Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson offers an inpatient or residential program that provides people with time away from their daily lives to really focus on getting well. Our team of therapists provides compassionate care that empowers you to achieve better mental health. We also offer access to prescription medications that make living with a mental illness a lot easier.

If you would like to find out how we can help you or someone you love who needs mental health treatment, visit our admissions page now. Help is just a phone call away.