Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Apart from determining how you think, act and feel, it plays an important role in how you deal with stress and daily challenges, make decisions and prioritize.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half the population of the United States struggles with some form of mental illness at some point in their lives. Among those, only 40% will receive proper care. For those who do seek treatment, long-term care is an option that can significantly improve quality of life for certain conditions. Read on for an overview of long-term care and what it typically treats.
Defining Long-Term Mental Health Care
Long-term mental health care is the most intensive form of treatment for those struggling with mental illness. It refers to inpatient treatment, which provides all the care you need in one facility. While there are often preconceived notions about long-term care facilities, modern facilities provide a wealth of information and assistance.
Long-term care offers constant supervision and a chance to escape the stressors of everyday life. You’ll be allowed to work on yourself and your mental health in a safe and nurturing environment with others in similar circumstances. You’ll also receive counseling and care from trained mental health professionals, including psychiatrists and therapists, who’ll chart your progress and offer insights into your recovery.
The amount of time you stay in the hospital depends on your mental condition, what you’re being treated for and how well you respond to treatment. Long-term care typically lasts at least 6 months, but extended care can last from 12 to 18 months or longer.
Once your treatment is over, you’ll receive the resources you need to transition back into living at home. Some may opt for outpatient care before completely returning to life in larger society, while others may be able to plan for weekly or biweekly therapy sessions, group meetings and other forms of home care.
Types of Treatments Offered in Long-Term Mental Health Care
In inpatient care, you’ll play an active role in your treatment, which means you won’t rely on medication alone. Instead, you’ll take part in individual and group therapy sessions that promote self-healing and personal growth, learn how to create healthy habits through hobbies and activities, explore how to mend broken relationships and take part in exercise and fitness. You can also choose alternative healing methods such as massage, acupuncture, yoga and meditation.
Long-term care is one of three main types of help available for mental disorders, with additional options being outpatient care and medication management. Other effective methods of treatment include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): During CBT, a therapist works with you to help you change your thinking patterns. You’ll learn to recognize your negative thinking and how to adjust your perspective. You’ll also use problem-solving skills to work through challenging situations and face your fears instead of avoiding them. CBT places an emphasis on changing how you approach stressful situations.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. While CBT focuses on changing the way you think about problems, DBT works on changing physical behaviors, such as self-harm and suicidal thoughts. It includes individual and group meetings. In DBT, you can expect homework assignments, including tracking emotions using diary cards.
- Medications: Some of the most common medications used to treat mental health issues include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers and stimulants. Health care professionals will help you decide which medications are right for your condition. Stimulants work almost immediately, while antidepressants and antipsychotics can take weeks or even months to provide benefits.
Who Benefits Most From Long-Term Mental Health Care?
Inpatient care is the best choice if you feel suicidal or you’ve tried other treatment options without success. Anxiety disorder is the most common diagnosis in inpatient care. Long-term mental health care can further benefit those living with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, borderline personality disorder, PTSD and severe depression — all of which can be very intrusive and interfere with a person’s ability to live their life.
Benefits of Long-Term Mental Health Care
The main benefit of long-term mental health care is how it helps stabilize someone struggling with severe mental illness, preventing self-harm and destructive behaviors. Additional benefits to this type of care include:
Inpatient long-term mental health care makes it easy to focus solely on your own healing without worrying about how it impacts others.
In inpatient care, you receive support not only from trained medical providers but from others going through treatment with you. This can be helpful if you have an inadequate support system from family, friends and coworkers who don’t understand what you’re going through.
Residential long-term facilities provide individual care opportunities. You can choose which therapies and extracurricular activities you want to take part in. Aftercare may include referral services and self-help resources.
Signs You Need Inpatient Mental Health Care
Asking for help is one of the first steps in your mental illness care. There are some signs you can look for that indicate inpatient mental health care is the best choice. These include:
- Risks of self-harm or harming others
- Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
- Lack of hygiene and personal care
- Experiencing psychotic episodes or hallucinations
- Inability to perform day-to-day functions
- Withdrawing from people around you
- Excessive panic or anxiety
- Using drugs or alcohol to cope
Choosing Long-Term Care
At Restore Mental Health, we offer a comprehensive approach to mental health treatment and provide help for a wide range of conditions, including anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. Our inpatient and outpatient programs provide customized plans for every individual. For more information on what we have to offer, contact us 24/7 at (844) 598-1246 or fill out this form to get in touch with one of our compassionate counselors.