What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Residential Treatment?

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Home » Blog » What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Residential Treatment?

When someone starts thinking about getting help for a mental health disorder, they can become confused by the different options. A key question people have is this: What is the difference between inpatient and residential treatment? While both involve moving into a facility to receive care, there are definitely differences. In addition, both options offer focused care for those who need help improving their mental health. Yet, they are not the same types of care. We explore what inpatient and residential treatment offers and which type may be right for you or someone you love.

Inpatient Treatment Meaning

When a person attends inpatient treatment for mental health disorders, they are typically in need of emergency care in order to keep themselves and others safe. This kind of treatment is similar to someone needing to visit the E.R. for a medical crisis who can be given immediate emergency care. The difference is that inpatient care for mental illness helps stabilize the individual in terms of their mental health. Inpatient care takes place in a hospital, including psychiatric hospitals. 

Inpatient care is seen as a way to quickly help someone become stable while an assessment is made of their condition. The person stays a short amount of time while a plan is made for their next step. This can include transitioning into a residential or outpatient treatment center. Inpatient care is provided by doctors, nurses, and mental health therapists. Someone in need of inpatient care commonly is in the middle of a crisis related to their mental health. This can include feeling suicidal, having out-of-control symptoms of depression or anxiety, experiencing hallucinations, or posing a threat to others. 

Residential Treatment Meaning

Residential treatment for mental health is used for people who have become stabilized after emergency inpatient treatment or who did not reach the level of needing it. Someone in residential treatment lives in a facility around-the-clock for several weeks or months at a time. Many residential facilities are designed to feel like a home in order to create a comfortable living environment while receiving care for mental health

Similar to inpatient treatment, people in a residential facility receive care from doctors, nurses, and mental health therapists. The focus moves from emergency care to participating in different types of therapy designed to improve a person’s mental health. Long-term goals can be set and plans can be made for any outpatient or aftercare needed down the line.

What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Residential Treatment?

When considering “What is the difference between inpatient and residential treatment?”, the main factor is that inpatient is for emergency situations. Once a person is no longer in crisis, a threat to themselves or others, they qualify for residential care. Quick measurements to help people become able to handle their emotions and the reality of their situations take place inpatient. Once the crisis has passed, they are prepared to move to a residential center and begin the hard work of improving their mental health. 

Some people check themselves into inpatient care voluntarily, while others go after a court determines they are unable to make that decision for themselves. Anyone who attends residential care does so on a voluntary basis.

Woman at our residential mental health treatment facility in Tucson Arizona

Benefits of Inpatient and Residential Treatment Centers

Inpatient centers offer quick access to medications and psychiatric treatment that helps someone in the middle of a crisis. This proves vital in helping someone reach a calmer emotional and mental state in a short amount of time. For some, the medications they begin inpatient are only needed temporarily. For others, they are a much-needed introduction to a medication that will help them long-term.

Residential care offers the benefit of having access to several types of therapy that take place long-term. Types of therapy range from talk therapy to experiential therapy and help people understand their mental illnesses better. From there, they can control some of the symptoms and learn how to regulate their emotions. A wide range of prescription medications are also available while a person undergoes residential care.

While residential care provides the same 24/7 treatment given at inpatient facilities, it comes at a more relaxed pace. Patients have the time to work on themselves and how they relate to others. Time in a residential facility can last from several weeks to several months, depending on the person’s needs. Patients typically feel more in control of their conditions and can participate more fully in creating treatment goals for themselves. 

Contact Our Residential Mental Health Treatment Center in Tucson, AZ

Montare Behavioral Health of Tucson offers a high-quality residential treatment that helps people from all walks of life who want to work on having better mental health. We designed our facilities to feel like homes in order to ensure the comfort of those who stay with us. Our staff extends the compassionate care that builds bridges to understanding how to manage symptoms and find the right medications. 

If you would like to talk to a staff member about what the difference is between inpatient and residential treatment, contact us today. We can help you make the right decision for you or someone you love.