Types of Mental Health Treatment
The main forms of treatment for psychological problems or mental illness are psychotherapy and psychiatric medication. Psychotherapy is also often called talk therapy, because it consists of talking with a trained professional about one’s problems, issues, and feelings in order to better deal with them. Psychiatric medications are medicines, usually in pill form, that are prescribed by psychiatrists and that treat illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and others.
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Psychotherapists and psychiatrists can work in either inpatient or outpatient settings. Inpatient settings are places such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers (‘rehabs’) where patients stay 24 hours a day. Outpatient settings are clinics or the individual offices of psychotherapists and psychiatrists.
A number of hospitals, clinics, and other facilities also offer intermediate levels of treatment such as day treatment programs or intensive outpatient programs (‘IOPs’). Day treatment programs offer treatment on weekdays, generally for about six hours a day. These can be very helpful to patients with chronic illnesses who need continuing treatment and support. IOP programs offer services three or four hours a day, three to five days a week. There are IOPs for substance abuse and for mental health, and some operate during the day, others in the evenings for patients who work during the day.
Thomas B. Hollenbach, Ph.D.
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