an image of a brain representing mental health

Getting the right mental health treatment depends on getting the right diagnosis. 

If you’re struggling with any mental health condition, you’re not alone. NAMI data shows that almost 53 million adults in the United States experienced mental illness in 2020. The same data shows that 17 million adults experienced a dual diagnosis (mental health disorder and co-occurring substance use disorder. 

Fortunately, most common mental health conditions are treatable.

What to Expect at a Mental Health Rehab

If you need mental health rehab, you’ll need to decide between pursuing inpatient or outpatient treatment. 

Inpatient mental health rehab is often required for those who need medically supervised detox from an addiction to drink or drugs co-occurring with mental health issues. With round-the-clock medical care, withdrawal symptoms can be managed. Some more severe mental health conditions also benefit from residential treatment. 

For most mild and some moderate mental health disorders, and for mild co-occurring disorders, outpatient treatment is often effective.

To establish the best approach to treatment for your needs, you should seek a diagnosis from your healthcare provider or a mental healthcare specialist. 

Expect the following: 

  • Physical exam: To rule out any underlying physical health problems.
  • Lab tests: Expect screenings for drugs and alcohol. You may also have your thyroid function checked.
  • Psychological evaluation: Questions concerning your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and symptoms.

Further to this diagnosis, you will be better placed to choose between inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment. 

Mental Health Residential Treatment

Inpatient mental health rehab, also known as residential mental health rehab, is a more uplifting experience than you might imagine from movie portrayals. 

You can seek inpatient care in many settings, from hospitals and regional medical centers to dedicated psychiatric hospitals. Whatever the backdrop, you’ll benefit from a safe and supportive environment offering the following: 

  • Safe and secure place for medical professionals to help you immediately with your mental health disorder
  • Detoxification if required
  • Medication to stabilize your condition
  • Medical support for any health conditions
  • Mental health treatment, both initial and ongoing
  • Holistic therapies to help improve your overall quality of life

In terms of inpatient mental health care, there are two distinct types: 

  • Voluntary inpatient care
  • Involuntary inpatient care

Voluntary inpatient care

Voluntary inpatient care ensues when you willingly engage with treatment for a mental health condition that’s interfering with your daily living. 

Sometimes, when pressing mental health issues severely impact your functioning at home, work, or school, and especially when they negatively affect close relationships, entering a residential treatment facility can provide a cocooned environment away from the stressors of day-to-day life. 

If you enter a voluntary inpatient rehab program for mental health, you’ll be free to leave at any time, although this is strongly discouraged during treatment. 

Involuntary inpatient care

In some cases, people enter involuntary inpatient care for mental health disorders after being ordered to attend by the courts. 

Many states have laws allowing those posing a danger to themselves or others to be committed to a psychiatric hospital short-term, typically for three days. 

An involuntary mental health rehab facility will be locked down with residents mandated to remain on the premises throughout treatment. Strict rules are in place and schedules are regimented, with visiting hours limited.

What is outpatient mental health treatment, then? 

Outpatient Mental Health Treatment

Outpatient treatment for mental health is a general term used to describe treatment delivered in a clinical setting but without an overnight stay involved. After therapy sessions, you return home or to a sober living home.

Outpatient care is the most popular form of treatment for many mental health disorders for the following reasons: 

  • Low cost
  • High degree of flexibility
  • Greater choice of providers

While outpatient treatment for mental health can be effective, it should only be utilized when it is healthy to remain in your current environment without constant support and input from a treatment team. Outpatient mental health treatment can be beneficial for depression, anxiety, and eating disorders in particular.

Outpatient treatment allows you access to the same services you would find in residential rehab, including: 

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Psychotherapy (CBT and DBT)
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Chemical dependency treatment
  • Anxiety treatment
  • Depression treatment
  • Bipolar disorder treatment
  • TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation)
  • Family therapy
  • Stress management

Everyone is unique, and everyone experiences these issues in different ways. The best outpatient treatment programs offer a personalized treatment plan to help you better manage your symptoms while maintaining a healthy, sober lifestyle. 

If you need more support and structure than a regular outpatient program, structured outpatient treatment bridges the gap between inpatient and outpatient care. With an IOP (intensive outpatient program), you’ll receive 15 hours of weekly therapy, while a PHP (partial hospitalization program) is a full-time outpatient program offering 30 hours or more of weekly therapy. 

an image of someone dealing with a mental illnessTypes of Mental Illness

The type of treatment you need for mental health issues hinges on the type of mental illness in question. 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar Disorder


Depression is one of the most common of all mental health disorders, and it is also among the most treatable. An estimated 80% to 90% of those who engage with depression treatment respond favorably to treatment, according to the American Psychiatric Association. 

Major depressive disorder causes intense feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in favored activities. Depression can also trigger various physical and emotional problems, and can dramatically impair functioning at home, work, and school. 

If you engage with professional depression treatment, you’ll almost certainly experience at least some relief from your symptoms. 


Feeling anxious from time to time is normal. If you are nervous before a test, when faced with problems at work, or before you finalize a key decision, this is understandable. 

Anxiety disorders involve more than fleeting and appropriate feelings of worry, though. For those with an anxiety disorder, worries persist, often becoming more acute over time. The symptoms can be distressing and interfere with your daily living. 

There are several types of anxiety disorder, including:

  • GAD (generalized anxiety disorder)
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobia-related disorders

Most anxiety disorders are treated with a combination of medication and/or psychotherapy. Speak with your healthcare provider and engage with professional anxiety treatment if advised. 


PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) occurs in some people exposed to dangerous, shocking, and traumatic events. 

To be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, you need to experience all of the following for a minimum of one month: 

  • Re-experiencing symptoms: Nightmares, flashbacks, frightening thoughts
  • Avoidance symptoms: Avoiding people, places, or things that remind you of the trauma
  • Arousal/reactivity symptoms: Sleep problems, feeling on edge, angry outbursts
  • Cognition/mood symptoms: Guilt, blame, distorted and negative thought patterns

As with many mental health conditions, PTSD can be treated with a combination of medications and psychotherapy. You may need to experiment with treatment to find an effective combination of therapies. 

It is vital to obtain treatment from a specialist PTSD treatment center. 

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder was previously known as manic depression. This severe mental health disorder is characterized by abnormal shifts in mood, activity levels, energy levels, focus, and everyday functioning. 

There are three types of bipolar disorder: 

  1. Bipolar I
  2. Bipolar II
  3. Cyclothymia

All types of bipolar involved pronounced changes to: 

  • Mood
  • Energy
  • Activity

Depressive bipolar episodes involve periods of overwhelming sadness, while manic episodes are often characterized by elated and energized behavior that sometimes becomes irritable. When manic episodes are less severe, they are termed hypomanic episodes. 

Treatment can be effective for many people, even those with the most severe types of bipolar. Nevertheless, bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness that needs ongoing treatment with closely-monitored medication and talk therapy. With continuous long-term treatment for bipolar disorder, you should find you can better manage the often debilitating symptoms. 

Types of Treatment for Mental Illness

As you can see from the above mental illnesses, treatment for mental illness consists of two primary prongs: 

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy


Psychiatric medications do not cure mental illness, but they can often improve symptoms significantly. 

These medications can also strengthen the benefits of other treatments like psychotherapy. 

You may need to experiment with several medications before finding one that soothes your symptoms. The following are the most common classes of medications used for psychiatric interventions: 

  • Antidepressants: There are many types of antidepressants including SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, tricyclics, and atypical antidepressants. All these medications have slightly different mechanisms of action, but they can all improve symptoms like sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, lack of energy, and problems with focus. These medications are not addictive and do not lead to dependency. It usually takes several weeks to feel the full effects of antidepressants.
  • Mood-stabilizers: Most commonly used for the treatment of bipolar disorder, mood stabilizing medications are also sometimes used in combination with antidepressants for the treatment of depression.
  • Antipsychotics: This type of medication is used for the treatment of psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, as well as for bipolar disorder.
  • Anti-anxiety medications: Anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines can offer short-term relief for the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Benzos are a fast-acting anxiety medication with a high potential for abuse and addiction, though, so long-term use is inadvisable.


Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy. The most common forms are CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy). Therapy is delivered in both individual and group settings as appropriate. 

Through psychotherapy sessions, you’ll work closely with a mental health professional or therapist to better understand your condition. You’ll explore the closely interlinked nature of your thoughts, feelings, moods, and behaviors. Your therapist will also help you to create and implement healthy coping strategies for dealing with life’s stressors. 

There is no fixed timeline for psychotherapy. Some people see noticeable benefits and complete treatment in just a few months, while others require long-term sessions.

an image of people wo got help from a mental health rehabThe District’s Mental Health Rehabilitation Center

Problems with substance use commonly co-occur with mental health issues, and here at The District Recovery Community, we can help you with all of these issues in our dual diagnosis treatment centers in Southern California. 

Access all of the above therapies and unpack your mental health disorder with our experienced treatment team guiding you to sustained recovery. 

To fight back against the mental health disorder disrupting your life, reach out to TDRC today at 844.287.8506.