A psychiatrist listens to her male patient in a cozy office.If you’re struggling with your mental health and looking for professional help, you’ve likely heard of outpatient treatment. But what exactly is outpatient treatment? And how do you know if it’s the right treatment option for your mental health?

What is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment is a type of mental and behavioral health care where patients receive treatment while still living at home and maintaining their daily routines. This is in contrast to inpatient treatment, where patients stay at a dedicated behavioral health facility, usually for short-term rehabilitation and treatment.

Outpatient treatment typically involves a combination of therapy sessions, counseling services, medication management (as needed) and other forms of treatment in a structured environment and on a regular basis.

Types of Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is an umbrella term for the different kinds of mental health treatment that do not require hospitalization. There are two main types of outpatient treatment:

  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs)
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs)

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), also often referred to as “day programs”, are the most intensive form of outpatient treatment. It typically involves attending the program for 4-6 hours, five days a week. This type of treatment is often recommended for people with moderate mental health symptoms who, while not requiring 24/7 monitoring, still need a high level of support.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), on the other hand, are the least intensive form of outpatient treatment. IOPs usually require patients to attend the program for 2-3 hours, three days a week. This type of treatment is typically recommended to those with mild symptoms, but who still need support in managing their mental health.

Benefits of Outpatient Treatment

While not providing the same level of structure and monitoring as inpatient treatment, outpatient care still provides many benefits. These include:

  • Flexibility: One of the great things about outpatient mental health treatment is its flexibility. Outpatient treatment enables patients to continue with their daily routines and responsibilities while receiving the help they need. This can be especially beneficial for those who have work, school or family commitments that they cannot put on hold.
  • Cost-effective: Outpatient treatment is often more cost-effective than inpatient treatment, as it does not require patients to stay at a facility for an extended period of time.
  • Support system: By receiving care that enables you to live at home, patients also have the added benefits of being able to take advantage of the support systems they have outside of outpatient treatment. This can include the support of friends, family and other loved ones, a factor that can be crucial during recovery.
  • Real-world application: Another benefit of mental health outpatient programs is that they enable people to practice the skills they learn in therapy in their everyday lives, making it easier to apply them in real-world situations.
  • Privacy: Finally, outpatient treatment enables people to maintain their privacy and confidentiality, as they are not required to stay at a facility with other patients.

Is Outpatient Treatment Right For Me?

With all this in mind, outpatient programs may not be the best fit for everyone. While choosing what kind of mental health program to attend should always be done in consultation with a medical professional, there are some factors that may determine whether outpatient treatment is a good fit for you.

1. Severity of the Condition

As previously mentioned, treatment programs such as IOPs and PHPs are typically designed for those with mild to moderate behavioral health issues. If you are able to live independently and carry out your daily responsibilities but still struggle with your mental health, an outpatient program may be a good option.

If, however, your condition is severe enough to interfere with your ability to maintain your daily responsibilities, inpatient treatment may be a better fit for you.

2. Support Systems

Having a strong support system is an important component for successful outpatient treatment. If you have a good support network and live in a supportive environment, outpatient care may be a good option for you.

If, however, you do not have a supportive family or friends, you may want to consider an inpatient program. Since inpatient programs require patients to live at a facility, they provide a supportive environment conducive to healing 24/7.

3. Commitment to Treatment

Another factor to consider when opting for outpatient care is your ability to commit to treatment.

Since outpatient care requires patients to independently commute and attend therapy sessions, it is up to you to follow through with treatment plans. If you struggle with consistency as a result of your mental health, an inpatient program may be a better option for you.

Help Is Available at Sierra Vista Hospital

Finding the right mental health treatment doesn’t have to be difficult and overwhelming.

Sierra Vista Hospital, located in Sacramento, California, is here for your mental and behavioral health needs. We provide inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services to adults and adolescents seeking improved mental well-being. Our individualized treatment plans ensure that each person’s needs and challenges are met.

Learn more about how we can help by giving us a call at 916-273-4300 or get in contact with us by using this form.

If you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, call 988 or get to the nearest emergency room.

About Sierra Vista Hospital

Sierra Vista Hospital is a private behavioral health facility that provides psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment through inpatient and outpatient programming. We also provide inpatient alcohol detox and outpatient chemical dependency services. With a team of licensed professionals committed to giving the highest quality care, we pride ourselves on having a compassionate and nurturing environment.

We offer care to adults and adolescents in the Sacramento area and also serve those through the northern and central California area. Some of our services include inpatient treatment for adults and adolescents and as well as our outpatient treatment for adults and adolescents. Our facility has been providing support for our patients and their families since 1986.

To schedule a no-cost assessment or for more information, please call 916-273-4300.