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How Long Is Inpatient Treatment for Depression?

For people who have been experiencing particularly acute depression symptoms, inpatient treatment may offer the best opportunity for true healing. Since this level of care requires people to live at the facility where they are receiving care, potential patients are often concerned about how much time they will need to be away from their family, friends, and job. In other words, they want to know how long is inpatient treatment for depression?

How Long Is Inpatient Treatment for Depression?

The quick answer to the question, how long is inpatient treatment for depression, is that a person’s time at this level of care will typically last from a few days to a few weeks.

A more specific response can depend on the answers to several other questions, such as:

  • Has the individual been in treatment before?
  • How has their life been impacted by their struggles with depression?
  • Do they have an effective personal support network at home?
  • What are the parameters of the program they are considering?
  • What limitations does their insurance company place on length of stay?

The progress that a person makes while they are in an inpatient program can also affect how long they remain at that level. 

In general, inpatient programs are relatively short-term experiences, with the goal of helping patients achieve the level of stabilization that will allow them to return to their home or transition to a lower level of care. 

Many (but by no means all) people who complete residential treatment for depression transfer into a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for additional support.

What Happens During Inpatient Treatment for Depression?

As with the length of time a person spends in an inpatient treatment program, the type of experiences they have can also be influenced by a variety of factors, including:

  • The policies and practices of the center where they’re receiving care
  • The nature and severity of their symptoms
  • Their treatment history
  • If they have also been living with anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or another dual diagnosis disorder.
  • If their struggles with depression are accompanied by a co-occurring substance use disorder (addiction)

Usually, one of a patient’s first activities when they enter inpatient treatment for depression is completing a thorough bio-psycho-social assessment. This assessment addresses many of the factors that we listed above, as well as other concerns that are relevant to the patient’s health.

The information that’s gathered during the intake assessment should guide the development of the patient’s personalized treatment plan. Depending on the patient’s unique history, needs, and treatment goals, their plan may include elements such as the following:

In addition to therapy and related support services, inpatient treatment for depression usually also includes structured leisure and recreation activities, as well as nutritious meals and personal time for reflection and relaxation.

Who Can Benefit from Inpatient Treatment for Depression?

Admissions decisions should always be made on an individual basis, following a thorough review of each prospective patient’s history and needs. In general, people who meet the following criteria may be ideal candidates for inpatient depression treatment:

  • Their depression symptoms have become so severe that they are impairing their ability to function at work, in school, or in other important areas of life.
  • They can benefit from 24/7 access to care and round-the-clock supervision
  • They have participated in traditional outpatient therapy or another lower level of care, but their needs exceeded the services that can be provided at those levels.
  • They need to temporarily step away from the stresses and distractions of daily life so that they can devote their full attention to their treatment and their recovery

How Can I Find the Right Inpatient Program?

To find the right inpatient treatment program, it’s important to research your options and ask detailed questions. Remember: There’s no such thing as a perfect program. You should focus your efforts on finding a provider whose services and approach align with your needs and expectations.

When you are speaking to representatives of the facilities you are considering, asking the following types of questions can help you find the place that’s right for you:

  1. In addition to inpatient treatment, do they offer other levels of care?
  2. What types of therapy and support services does the facility provide?
  3. How will they determine which therapies and services are right for you?
  4. What are the qualifications of the professionals who will be providing your care?
  5. Can you tour the facility prior to enrolling in the inpatient program?
  6. Does the inpatient program offer family therapy or family support services?
  7. How long is inpatient treatment for depression at the center?
  8. How does the center define success for patients in the inpatient depression program?
  9. Does the center offer discharge planning services or other aftercare support options?
  10. Does the treatment center accept your insurance?

You should never be hesitant about asking questions or requesting additional information. Any reputable depression treatment center should be happy to provide you with whatever details you need, so that you can make the most informed decision about your care.

Learn More About Inpatient Depression Treatment in Atlanta

Peachtree Wellness Solutions offers a full continuum of customized mental health services, including inpatient treatment for depression. Our center in Atlanta, Georgia, is a safe and welcoming place where you can receive personalized care and comprehensive support from a team of highly skilled professionals.

We understand how depression and co-occurring mental or behavioral health concerns can undermine your ability to enjoy a full and satisfying life – and we are committed to providing you with the focused services that can help you achieve a much healthier and more hopeful future.

To learn more about how we can help, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.