Choosing a Depression Treatment Center: Finding the Best Program for Your Loved One

When your loved one is struggling with depression and not finding success in treatment, hope can start to fade. But by exploring depression rehab options, you can gain a better sense of what type of program will allow your family member to begin their journey toward true recovery. Selecting the best treatment centers for depression means a restoration of hope and harmony not just for your loved one, but for your entire family.

With the depressed person locked deep within their symptomatology, their families often become the bearers of hope. You become the ones researching treatment, talking to doctors, looking up therapists, knowing there must be a way out. After all, depression is considered to be a highly treatable illness and we are living in a culture that tells us recovery is just a prescription away; of course they will get better.

Sometimes, it really is that simple. But when your family member struggles with depression that isn’t alleviated by standard outpatient care, your own hope can begin to waver. Maybe your family member has exhausted outpatient options. Maybe they’ve even done a few stints in day programs or inpatient stays and still remain hidden within their depression. Hope begins to feel scarce.

However, failure to recover within outpatient or brief inpatient treatment environments doesn’t suggest that a person’s depression is untreatable. Rather, it indicates that your loved one may need more intensive treatment in a safe, comfortable environment, with evidence-based treatment conducive to true healing, and as a member of a community or milieu where they can learn and practice tools for their recovery. Finding a depression rehab center that speaks to your family member and addresses their unique needs is imperative to creating a meaningful journey toward lasting recovery.

Exploring Depression Rehab Options

Depression rehab programs come in a variety of forms, which can make finding the best one for your family member seem overwhelming. Whether it’s your first time looking into intensive treatment options or you’ve been down this path before, understanding the differences between depression rehab options is vital to selecting a program that is best for your loved one and your family.

Hospital Inpatient Treatment

Hospital inpatient treatment programs are typically best for people in acute distress and need immediate stabilization.

Hospital inpatient treatment programs are often the first option many consider when seeking intensive depression treatment. Unfortunately, many fail to recognize that hospitals play a very different role in reality than they tend to play in the popular imagination when it comes to depression treatment.

The kind and quality of hospital-based treatment programs vary significantly across institutions, but the vast majority of such programs are designed for short-term containment and stabilization of acute psychiatric distress. While this function is invaluable for many, the short duration of care means clients are often discharged as soon as they are considered out of immediate danger to themselves or others and transferred back into outpatient care services. In other words, hospital-based treatment is typically not designed to offer comprehensive treatment but overwhelmingly focuses on crisis care with limited therapeutic services. They are also typically unable to offer dual diagnosis services for people whose depression is accompanied by a co-occurring substance use disorder.

Hospital inpatient treatment program populations also tend to skew toward those with severe mental health disorders and those who have been admitted involuntarily. Rather than healing sanctuaries, hospitals too often become high-stress, overpopulated places where strained resources allow for minimal personal attention. For many people, short-term hospital admissions can be a traumatic, rather than therapeutic, experience.

Short-Term Residential Treatment

Short-term residential treatment programs can be ideal for people struggling with depression who don’t require extensive functional support.

“Short-term residential treatment” captures a broad variety of depression rehab types. On their most basic level, these programs offer residential care in a non-hospital setting to provide more intensive treatment than is possible on an outpatient basis. However, the structure and quality of these facilities can vary widely, ranging from underfunded and poorly staffed programs to high-quality and cutting-edge programs.

At their best, short-term residential treatment programs offer a comprehensive array of individual and group-based therapeutic modalities designed to provide personalized treatment experience in a relatively short amount of time to facilitate rapid healing. As such, they can be ideal places for many people to begin their treatment journeys when outpatient care cannot fully address depressive symptoms. With typical stays ranging from 30 to 90 days, these programs can allow people to undergo in-depth assessment, stabilize medication protocols, and develop a strong foundation for wellness that can then be built upon through continuing care in an outpatient setting.

However, short-term residential treatment programs have their limits. While 30-90 days can be enough time for many to make meaningful progress toward recovery, the duration can be too short for those experiencing particularly severe depression, who have a co-occurring substance use disorder, or who struggle with low function.

Long-Term Residential Treatment

Long-term residential treatment offers comprehensive care and skill-building for people who struggle with deep depression and/or low function.

While hospital-based inpatient programs and short-term residential treatment programs are relatively easy to find, long-term residential depression treatment tends to be more elusive; there are comparatively few such programs in the United States and even people with years of experience with mental health services are often unaware of their existence. This is unfortunate, because these programs so often provide hope when other depression rehab options have failed.

Long-term residential treatment is typically designed with durations of 12-18 months in mind. During this time, your loved one participates in an in-depth psychological assessment as well as a curriculum of innovative therapies tailored to their unique needs—a curriculum that evolves over time as they move through the stages of healing. The duration of care means that clients are able to delve deeply into the roots of their distress and gradually integrate new coping skills in a way that fosters true and lasting change, particularly in the presence of a co-occurring substance abuse disorder.

Long-term residential treatment programs can also implement milieu therapy in ways that are simply not possible in short-term programming, making everyday living experiences opportunities for therapeutic interventions. For many, the pacing and structure of these programs allow for extraordinary breakthroughs even when other treatments have been unsuccessful in the past.

One of the reasons long-term residential treatment programs are so successful for people whose depression has not resolved with other forms of care is due to the emphasis on life skills, making them ideal for addressing low function. Rather than focusing solely on short and medium-term psychological needs, the best treatment centers for depression have the time and space to foster independent living skills.

In a supportive environment, your loved one will have the opportunity to gradually assert greater levels of autonomy and empower themselves to become agents of change in their own life. For people whose depression has robbed them of a sense of self-determination and ability, this can be a profoundly transformative experience and is often a part of treatment that has been missing in the past.

Connecting With The Best Treatment Centers for Depression

Regardless of the depression rehab type you choose, it is vital to look for a program that supports not only your loved one, but you. Depression affects the whole family, not just the individual who is diagnosed with it, and it is vital to learn how to connect, understand, and support each other through the healing journey. Research continuously indicates that family involvement is one of the primary predictors of positive treatment outcomes and this involvement should be a cornerstone of the treatment process itself.

If your loved one is struggling with depression and has not found successful treatment thus far, do not give up hope. There is a world of treatment options out there and the best depression rehab center out there, waiting to help your family create a new, more hopeful future.

If you’re concerned about a loved one and believe they may need residential care, we can help. BrightQuest offers long-term treatment for people struggling with complex mental health illnesses and co-occurring disorders. Contact us to learn more about our renowned program and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward recovery.