When to Choose Residential Treatment Over Other Treatment Programs

by Polaris Teen Center | Apr 16, 2019 | Resources

residential treatment center

When seeking help for your teen, it’s important to know which mental health conditions can be treated by residential treatment. For teens suffering from mental health disorders, behavioral disorders, psychological disorders, or addiction issues, there are a variety of treatment options available. However, no treatment is as complete and comprehensive as entering your teen in a residential treatment center.

One of the key advantages of these residential centers is that they can effectively address a range of mental health and behavioral disorders. In addition to substance abuse issues, they can commonly help those experiencing major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety disorders, and more. In this blog, we’re looking at which mental health disorders can be treated by residential treatment.

Polaris Teen Center is a residential treatment center designed specifically to address the mental health and behavioral needs of teens. We offer around-the-clock, comprehensive care and utilize a variety of evidence-based therapy techniques to ensure your teen gets the support they deserve in their time of need.

What is a Residential Treatment Center for Teens?

Many wonder: should I go to residential treatment? If you’re looking for the most comprehensive form of care, you should certainly consider it as an option. If your teen is experiencing a substance abuse issue, mental health disorder, or behavioral health disorder, residential treatment may be the right answer for your family. A residential treatment center is an in-patient facility that provides comprehensive care for patients.

By staying in the facility, the staff of doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals can provide around-the-clock care, supervision, and support. For many teens, being in a new environment offers a unique opportunity to address their mental health or behavioral disorder. Residential treatment centers create safe spaces for recovery, growth, and healing.

As the name would suggest, a residential treatment center for teens is one that focuses specifically on the mental health and behavioral needs of teenagers. These centers are staffed with healthcare experts who understand how to work with teens and are closely attuned to the unique experiences of these individuals.

Residential treatment incorporates a range of multimodal therapies to effectively address a range of mental health disorders. Some of these therapies may include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family systems therapy, post-induction therapy, art therapy, and more. Residential treatment centers for teens also provide academic assistance and can help their patients develop healthy habits for managing their mental health issues.

What Mental Health Disorders Can Be Treated by Residential Treatment?

At Polaris, our staff is trained to help teens experience a range of mental health and behavioral disorders. Some of the most common we work with include:

  1. Major depressive disorder: also commonly known as depression, this mental health disorder is far more than simply feeling sad from time to time. Those suffering from major depressive disorder are haunted by a persistent and intense feeling of sadness that they may have trouble explaining. Major depressive disorder affects how you think, feel, and behave, and can lead to additional emotional issues.
  2. Bipolar disorder: this mental health condition causes extreme mood swings that vacillate between emotional lows (depression) and emotional highs (mania). These episodes may occur multiple times a year and can impact your teen’s behavior, judgment, sleep, performance in school or work, and cognitive abilities.
  3. Anxiety disorders: we all feel anxious from time to time, but being diagnosed with a clinical anxiety disorder means that your teen may experience intense and persistent worries and fears over everyday situations or concerns. In many cases, an anxiety disorder also involves panic attacks. Some of the most common types of anxiety disorders include social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Some teens may experience more than others.
  4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a mental health disorder that is triggered by a traumatic event, such as a death of a loved one or a physical assault. Symptoms of PTSD may include intense anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, and an inability to move on after the event.
  5. Autism spectrum disorders: autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is experienced differently by each individual. ASD is a developmental disability caused by differences in the brain. Those with ASD may have trouble in social situations and interactions. They may also have unique ways of moving through, learning, and adapting to their surroundings.
  6. Gender dysphoria: this term refers to the anxiety felt by an individual who feels an incongruity between their gender identity and their biological sex. Left unaddressed, this anxiety may lead to depression, thoughts of self-harm, and other mental health and behavioral symptoms.
  7. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders for teens. Those with ADHD may have trouble staying focused, sitting still, sticking to one task, or controlling impulsive behavior. There are three primary types of ADHD: Predominantly Inattentive Presentation (where the individual is easily distracted), Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation (where they physically fidget and move and act impulsively), and Combined Presentation with symptoms of both.
  8. Grief and loss: grief and loss are often interlinked as grief is a natural reaction to loss. Grief is understood as a strong and often overwhelming emotion that is evoked by the loss of a loved one or similar event. If left untreated, grief may leave someone feeling unable to carry out their normal activities and they may isolate or experience additional mental health issues.

And more. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather, identifies some of the most common mental health and behavioral disorders we encounter. Explore our residential programs to learn more about the full range of patients we can help.

Benefits of Residential Treatment

Each residential treatment center is different from the others in one way or another. Regardless of the differences, there are some common, inherent features that, in general, contribute to why residential housing can be so effective.

  • 24-hour support – the continuous monitoring and 24/7 available support present in all residential treatment centers is a huge advantage compared to other levels of care. While it can, at times, feel like an invasion of privacy, this ongoing support and monitoring helps track patient progress, identify areas of struggle, and help prevent relapse.
  • Distance – from the patient’s previous life. Getting away from toxic people, triggering places, etc. distance from one’s current situation can help with gaining discernment and perspective, as well as being around healthier individuals.
  • Different modalities of therapy – typically, residential treatment centers will offer numerous modalities of therapeutic intervention (not just the typical “talk therapy” seen in many outpatient facilities). Many residential treatment centers work from a holistic approach, meaning they offer modalities to treat the mind, body, and spirit). Some common modalities include trauma therapy, equine therapy, art therapy, and various kinds of experiential therapies.
  • Frequent sessions – not only do residential treatment centers tend to have a plethora of therapeutic modalities available to patients, but also more frequent sessions. Being able to see a therapist on a daily basis (or at least having one available daily) can help jump-start patient recovery and create a trusting therapeutic relationship. The therapeutic relationship is not only nurtured by the frequency of sessions, but also the fact that at a residential treatment center, therapists are able to see their patients in other settings (not just within the confines of an office). In residential treatment, therapists and counselors often facilitate therapy groups, go on outings or have meals with patients, or participate in experiential activities with patients. This allows therapists to see patients in multiple situations and gain further insight into who they are and what they struggle with.
  • Structure and Routine – residential treatment centers typically have a fairly structured schedule to their days. Patients will wake up and go to sleep at the same time, participate in household chores and duties, have scheduled mental health and medical appointments, and time allotted for leisure and/or exercise.

What to Look for When Seeking Residential Treatment

  • Accreditation and/or Licensure – each state has it’s own licensure requirements for mental health treatment centers, and even though the qualifications to get licensed may vary slightly, every residential treatment center is required to be licensed. In addition to licensure, many RTCs seek additional accreditation, meaning they have gone through a series of evaluations to reach certain standards. While not required, choosing an RTC that is accredited in addition to being licensed only ensures quality of care.
  • Access to Emergency Care Services – a good residential treatment facility will have working relationships with the local hospitals and/or urgent care facilities. Whether a patient has an accident, engages in self-harm, or is in crisis (and therefore in need of additional support), it is imperative the treatment facility have these resources available to them.
  • Aftercare Planning – planning for discharge usually happens soon after admission (there are some exceptions to this based on the individual patient). This is where the patient’s treatment team and patient discuss a plan for the patient’s care once they are discharged from the residential treatment center.
  • Credentialed Staff – not only is it important for an RTC to have appropriately trained and (in some cases) credentialed staff, but also an adequate number of staff available. The census (number of patients) can vary from day to day, as on any given day there may be some patients being admitted while others are discharged. Thus, there needs to be enough staff to adequately support any number of patients (depending on the maximum capacity of the treatment center).

Alternative Treatment Options

  • Outpatient – outpatient settings may refer to a variety of services or treatment modalities, such as individual therapy, group therapy, or support groups. These services may take place at a community mental health facility or a private practice. Outpatient mental health services are considered the lowest level of care, as no overnight stay or intensive programming is involved (outpatient services are scheduled at the patient’s discretion, meaning they seek appointments on an “as needed” basis).
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) – similar to partial hospitalization programs, yet the patient attends on a less frequent basis for a shorter amount of time (typically three times per week for a few hours). IOPs primarily focus on mental health issues and/or substance abuse, and may be appropriate for someone who needs more support than what is available in outpatient settings.
  • Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) – also called “day-programs,” PHPs are outpatient programs where patients attend at least six hours per day of programming. This level of care is often part of a step-down approach to aftercare for patients leaving a residential treatment program or hospitalization.
  • Hospitalization – sometimes referred to as Inpatient Acute Care, hospitalization is intended for those who require 24-hour care and access to a medical doctor. Hospitalization often occurs for those who need psychiatric stabilization and/or are at risk of harming themselves or someone else. Hospitalization is used in “crisis” situations, for the purpose of stabilizing the patient (which usually occurs within a few days).

Conclusion – What Mental Health Disorders Can Be Treated by Residential Treatment?

If your teen is experiencing a mental health disorder, behavioral disorder, or they’re struggling with addiction—don’t give up hope. Polaris Teen Center has helped countless teens understand their mental health disorder, develop healthy coping mechanisms and strategies, and regain control of their lives. We commonly work with teens experiencing major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, PTSD, ADHD, and more.

Polaris is your ideal choice for residential treatment. We are a residential teen treatment center utilizing a highly individualized and comprehensive approach to care. Our expert staff of doctors and mental health professionals are trained to work specifically with teens experiencing a range of mental health and behavioral disorders. At Polaris, we focus on equipping your teen with the tools and resources they will need to manage their condition to ensure that they can live a happy, productive, and fulfilling life. When your family is in a time of crisis, remember this important fact: you are not alone.

Contact us today to see if Polaris could be the right choice for your family. For more information about our full range of Polaris Programs, please give us a call at 1 (844) 836-0222. You’ll be able to speak with a member of our admissions staff to see if we can help.

Polaris Teen Center | Website | + posts

Polaris Teen Center is a residential treatment facility for teens and adolescents suffering from severe mental health disorders. Our highly accredited facility is fully licensed and certified in Trauma Informed Care and is a part of the Behavioral Health Association of Providers (formerly AATA).