For some people, inpatient treatment for depression would only be a last resort. Many movies and TV shows feature terrifying scenes of mentally ill patients stuffed into straitjackets and locked away for years. These dramatic scenes make for great entertainment, but they’re not a realistic portrayal of mental health facilities.
So, can you go to rehab for depression? Though more commonly associated with drug addiction, rehab is a perfectly normal place to go for various mental health issues. Read on to find out if inpatient rehabilitation for depression is the right choice for you or a loved one.
When to Seek Treatment for Depression
Depression is a common condition that affects more than 280 million people globally. Symptoms can vary in intensity and duration. Though people of all ages can become depressed, episodes normally crop up between the ages of 15 and 30. If you’re experiencing mental health issues that disrupt your daily life, it’s best to seek treatment.
A range of environmental, psychological and genetic factors influence how the disorder presents in different individuals. Besides sadness, you may notice a change in your level of interest or pleasure in hobbies and recreation. You might experience other health issues that seem unrelated, such as insomnia, irritability or loss of appetite.
Depending on the type of depression, your symptoms may be mild or extreme. If you feel you’re at risk of harming yourself or others, consider checking into a rehab facility or seeking hospital care.
Can You Go to Rehab for Depression?
Many people who experience depression successfully manage their symptoms with outpatient therapy and medication. However, these approaches have several limitations. Weekly therapy may not be frequent enough, especially if someone is having suicidal thoughts or extreme anxiety. Such symptoms don’t just interfere with everyday life; left untreated, they pose a serious risk to depressed individuals and their loved ones.
If you struggle with any of the following, consider seeking inpatient rehab care:
- Escalating substance abuse or eating disorders
- Explosive, uncontrollable anger
- Psychotic or manic episodes
- Self-harm or harming others
There are several types of rehab services for depression. The two main options are hospitalization and residential care. While there are significant differences between the two, both include physical and psychological assessment, therapy and discharge planning. Inpatient treatment options range from short-term to long-term, depending on the individual’s needs.
It’s a popular misconception that seeking rehab for mental health issues will result in being locked away for years. In the event of hospitalization for a mental health crisis, such as a suicide attempt, emergency stays typically range from overnight to 30 days.
On the other hand, residential treatment centers are better suited to long-term care. Residential care also offers therapeutic options unavailable in a hospital setting, including specialized therapies using art, music, cooking and animals.
Benefits of Inpatient Therapy for Depression
Inpatient therapy provides you with carefully structured goals and a comprehensive support system. It has many similarities to outpatient therapy, with a few extra advantages. Here are some of the main benefits of this approach.
- Trauma support: To have successful treatment outcomes in the long run, depressed adults need help working through past trauma. Healing from traumatic events takes time, but it’s a core part of building lasting resilience.
- Routine and structure: When depression disrupts someone’s life, getting back on track requires creating new, good habits. With time, practice and guidance, a depressed individual can drastically improve physical, mental and emotional well-being. In addition, health habits learned in rehab increase the chance of success when treatment is over.
- Community engagement: Connecting with others, such as peers and mentors, creates a supportive network. Short-term programs or counseling services are unlikely to offer this level of authentic interaction. Many long-term care programs encourage past clients to keep in touch online or through in-person gatherings after discharge.
- Change of environment: Living in an unhealthy environment may trigger or worsen mental difficulties, making realistic treatment difficult without a change in surroundings. Keeping out negative influences creates a solid foundation for the healing journey to come.
- Personalized treatment: Rehab facilities typically offer a range of therapeutic approaches. If one approach isn’t showing results, pursuing another option is simpler in an inpatient setting.
- Discharge planning: Instead of sending clients back into the world alone, mental health professionals focus on their unique concerns. A comprehensive long-term plan takes each individual’s needs and goals into account. As a result, discharged adults have a clear idea of their next steps.
What Types of Therapy Work Well for Depression?
Aside from medication, therapists’ most effective tool for treating depression is psychotherapy (aka “talk therapy”). However, there are more options personalized to your unique experience.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on altering negative thought patterns and is often used to teach coping skills in the short term. However, when a group of researchers in The Netherlands reviewed the available evidence, they concluded that CBT works well in the long term for different types of depression.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) combines eye movements and a practitioner’s instructions to help someone reprocess trauma. Although mostly known for its success in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), EMDR is also used to treat various types of depression, such as major depressive disorder and illness-related depression.
In psychodynamic therapy sessions, the therapist helps their client connect current mental health struggles to past experiences, conflicts and psychological wounds. The goal is to resolve these issues and enable the client to move on with life.
Lastly, supportive therapy is a more flexible kind of talk therapy that opens the discussion to whatever is on a depressed individual’s mind. The therapist listens and provides empathetic support.
You’re Not Alone
At FHE Health, we support your long-term recovery with life-saving mental health treatments. If you or a loved one has been struggling with depression, know that help is available at our on-site rehab facility. Our doors are open 24/7, 365 days a year. Contact us today to get started on your journey to a brighter future.