Sometimes people need a little more help than others when it comes to mental health treatment. Some people may only need an outpatient treatment program. Others, however, may need to heal somewhere where the struggles of daily life can take a backseat to treatment. For some, the best treatment program for them is a residential treatment program.
A residential treatment program is different from other treatments in that a patient stays in a treatment center throughout the whole process. For those with substance use disorder (SUD), this can be known as “rehab.” However, this type of program is available to treat many types of disorders, not just SUD.
What Is Treated in a Residential Treatment Program?
Just about any mental health disorder can be treated in a residential treatment program. As said before, most people consider such programs for those that struggle with SUD and nothing more. However, this treatment program is open to anyone who needs it, regardless of their condition. Many people with long-term disorders like schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) go through residential treatment. This is because these disorders often require medication to treat, so finding the right dosage is easier when a patient can be observed by doctors.
Some people who struggle with anxiety and depression will enter a residential treatment program. Many times, their environment plays a major part in their condition and prevents recovery. By removing someone from a triggering environment, they can relax and focus on their healing. Some people may fear that they may harm themselves if left alone, so they take comfort in being in an environment where they are cared for.
Residential treatment programs are also vital to those who have a dual diagnosis. Mental health disorders often run alongside SUD, and a specialized program is required to treat both at the same time.
In a nutshell, anyone can make use of a residential treatment program should they need it.
What to Expect in a Residential Treatment Program
The most important thing to remember before going into a residential treatment program is to know that you will be living there for a set amount of time. Before you show up, your mental health provider or a representative from the program will speak with you. They will go over what things you can and can’t bring with you as well as discuss the schedule of the program.
You will be assigned a room where you can sleep and relax when not in treatment. Sometimes you may have a roommate, and sometimes, you will have a private room. There will be scheduled meal times along with the treatment that you will be expected to attend. You will have free time, and some treatment centers offer hobbies and classes to help motivate their patients. Free time is important, as it gives you time to rest your mind from treatment, so you will have plenty of that.
Treatments vary depending on the disorder being treated, but the most common form is psychotherapy (or talk therapy). You may be offered other types of treatment as well, such as neurofeedback therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. You may also take part in group therapy sessions. If you require medication, you will visit a doctor in the center who will keep an eye on your health.
Every treatment center is different, so it is important to do your research. Someone who loves the outdoors may enjoy a treatment center that puts a lot of focus on hiking and outdoor activities as part of treatment. Some treatment centers will use holistic approaches to healing. Regardless of the differences, each residential treatment program has one goal, to help their patients recover.
You can get visitors and phone calls while in treatment. Being in treatment doesn’t mean being locked away; it means getting you away from things that may be harming your mental health. You will not be isolated. Remember, you are not a prisoner and your opinion matters. You have a bill of rights as a patient, and you may exercise your rights at any time. Your rights will be explained to you before starting the program. It is helpful to keep a copy of your rights with you in case you need reminders.
Tips Before Entering a Residential Treatment Program
Before going away for a residential treatment program, there are some things you need to do first. Since patients are encouraged to stay for the full treatment, that means that they may not be home for a long amount of time.
You may need to ask for a pet or house sitter if you live alone. If you live with other people, discuss who will take care of what while you are away. Make sure your pets have enough supplies to last until you return. Some services such as internet and cable can be paused while you are in treatment. Be sure to be aware of what bills need to be paid and set up for them to be taken care of while you are away.
Remember that many treatment programs offer a transitional program. This teaches patients how to deal with common stressors and triggers and practice the skills they learned before being fully released from treatment. Many programs also have support networks and groups available after treatment. Sometimes people need several rounds of treatment, and that’s okay. It doesn’t make someone a failure if they need more help.
Those are the basics of what to expect from a residential treatment program. Remember that you are allowed to ask questions and take notes. You may also appoint a trusted person to help you through the planning process.
For many people, a residential treatment program seems like a place from fiction. A scary place where you cannot leave and are subjected to terrible conditions. This is far from the truth, as residential treatment programs are there to help people improve their lives. At Acera Health in Costa Mesa, California, we offer a residential treatment program that allows patients to recover in comfort. The latest treatment options are available to serve any patient, and we truly care about you and your mental health. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about residential treatment and how it can help, call (949) 647-4090 today to speak with one of our staff members.
Melody is a highly skilled proactive clinical administrator, with more than 17 years of experience serving the community in the behavioral health field.
Her clinical management career started in 2011 as a compliance manager and program director. In 2018, she became an executive as chief clinical officer (CCO). She is a seasoned licensed marriage & family therapist.