Depression can be treated in a variety of different settings, depending on how severe the symptoms are. At the highest, most acute level is what we call inpatient hospitalization – meaning that a person goes to the hospital (it may be in voluntarily in some instances) to receive treatment. Sometimes people will voluntarily elect to go to the hospital as well, where they’ll receive more intensive attention, medication therapy, hopefully psychotherapy as well that can help boost them and pull them out of the depression more rapidly. Inpatient hospitalization will be particularly appropriate in situations where there are concerns for safety. So for example, if a person is having thoughts of harming him or herself, it is very important to strongly consider inpatient hospitalization and sometimes this even needs to be pursued involuntarily to save a person’s life. Below inpatient hospitalization is residential treatment. Residential treatment is where a patient will go and live in a particular place – a particular facility. It is not a locked facility, it is not a hospital, but it will often have a doctor or a mental health professional on staff to help with the treatment to convalesce. This may be appropriate for someone where there is not a significant concern for suicidality or other risks to health, but where the symptoms are still too severe to be managed while they’re living at home.
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