In many cases, it’s obvious to experienced mental health professionals when their client needs residential treatment. In other cases, it’s an ambiguous situation whether inpatient treatment should be recommended, or if another, less-intense level of care is the right match for your client’s needs.

Levels of Care

Levels of care for addiction treatment range from inpatient to outpatient care. Residential programs provide the highest level of care, offering round-the-clock support for participants and helping to minimize triggers and opportunities for relapse while patients undergo therapy and begin to do the work of getting well.

Outpatient programs usually consist of multiple daily treatment and therapy sessions. Another treatment option is partial hospitalization programs, in which patients spend a good portion of their days in specialized programs but return home overnight and on non-treatment days.

5 Signs Residential Addiction Treatment Is Indicated

  • Patients who are a danger to themselves or others need a high level of supervision that can be provided in residential treatment.
  • Patient is too impaired to live independently. This could be a patient recovering from a psychotic episode who needs treatment to recover psychologically and socially. Residential addiction treatment could also be a good match for a patient whose addiction has worsened and who needs close supervision and round-the-clock support.
  • Outpatient treatment has failed to contain the symptoms of a patient’s mental health condition or substance abuse.
  • Available support systems such as mental health professionals, friends and family are exhausted. Consequently, the patient is left with inadequate support to rely on, resulting in stresses that exacerbate mental health conditions or increase the risks of relapse.
  • Close observation is needed for diagnostic purposes to determine if behavioral disturbances are due to psychological disorders or substance abuse.

Finding the Right Residential Addiction Treatment Facility for Your Patient

Once you’ve determined that your patient needs residential addiction treatment, you’re tasked with finding the best treatment facility for your client out of numerous options. The better the match between patient and treatment center, the better the chances your client will enter successful long-term recovery.

woman with her hands together addressing a group of people

When weighing the options, keep in mind that high-quality residential treatment facilities are accredited and licensed. They’ll also have fully credentialed staff.

Other factors to consider when matching a residential treatment program to a client include the overall treatment philosophy of the facility, their treatment methods and the features and amenities the facility offers.1

Treatment duration is also a critical factor in choosing the appropriate program for a patient. Many facilities recommend stays of at least 30 to 90 days, and some facilities offer stays ranging from six months to several years. Additionally, check what the facility offers for aftercare, such as support groups and alumni gatherings.

For the best treatment outcomes, a client’s clinical needs require the most appropriate level of care in the least restrictive and most cost-effective environment.2 Residential treatment is only one of the levels of care available to therapists whose clients are experiencing worsening substance abuse. However, for many situations, it’s an ideal option to consider that can help your client understand the varying factors underlying their addiction, learn healthier ways of behaving and develop a set of relapse prevention skills while receiving non-stop support.