It is completely normal to feel low or depressed from time to time due to everyday stressors. But when these feelings keep coming back too frequently or become permanent, it may be a signal of a budding case of depression. The science of depression is quite complex: it does not include specific symptoms and may not be as simple as having a rough day. Mental illness carries the potential to manifest in as many different ways as there are people, making it difficult for experts to determine if one has depression and if it is severe enough to require dedicated inpatient treatment.

Unfortunately, millions of people worldwide silently battle with depression, with very few resorting to the treatment they need. Despite knowing that the inpatient treatment modalities available today can potentially turn their lives around, most are afraid to ask for help for various reasons. Regardless of what is holding you back, it is crucial to remind yourself that depression is a treatable disease, and with an appropriate inpatient treatment plan, it is possible to make a full recovery no matter how severe the symptoms are.

Depression Treatment: When To Start Looking for Help?

Depression can be of different severity. While some people can continue going around their life with these symptoms, others may develop persistently low moods, which can become so bad that they start effectively how people function in daily life. To understand when to start considering professional help to control depressive episodes, you must familiarize yourself with the common ways in which depression may manifest.

The common psychological symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • Low mood persisting over several weeks
  • Losing interest in life
  • Feelings of hopelessness about future
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Losing interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Thinking critically about yourself
  • Finding it harder to make decisions
  • Increased anxiety levels
  • Inability to cope with tasks that used to be manageable
  • Feeling restless and agitated
  • Feeling exhausted and lacking motivation
  • Avoiding social events and activities you previously loved to participate in

Mentioned below are the physical signs and symptoms of depression:

  • Constant fatigue or low energy levels
  • Headaches
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Changes in sleeping patterns, i.e., sleeping more or less than usual
  • Digestive problems
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Low sex drive

Depression can be of different types, and each type may exhibit different symptoms. Regardless of the type of depression you suffer from, remember that you are not alone and do not need to continue suffering in silence. Seeking help can seem daunting; however, it is the best and the most crucial step to take. With the right treatment program, overcoming these symptoms and getting your life back on track is possible.

Do I Need Inpatient Treatment for Depression: Top Five Signs

Most inpatient programs for depression provide a comprehensive and targeted approach to deliver help in a calm and therapeutic environment away from everyday stressors. Following are some signs you need inpatient care for depression:

You are struggling with alcohol or drug use.

Depression and substance addiction go hand in hand. Many people turn to alcohol or drugs to escape feelings of despair and depression, whereas others go into deep depression secondary to these addictions. Research has established that alcohol abuse is much more likely to cause depression than drug abuse.

Regardless of what led to what, it is confirmed that depression and substance use can coexist, and both problems only exacerbate each other. To achieve quicker and long-lasting recovery in this case, seeking proper intervention from a healthcare facility specializing in dual diagnosis management through well-structured inpatient programs is imperative.

You have co-existing addiction to eating, shopping, or gambling

Just like some people resort to drugs and alcohol to alleviate their depressive thoughts, others end up acquiring behavioral addictions. Shopping and gambling addiction are two common behaviors that bring relief and joy to many people with depressive symptoms. Comfort eating is also a common way to ward off the dreadful feelings of gloom and sadness, which may eventually become an eating disorder.

While these behavioral addictions may temporarily relieve depressed individuals, they provoke strong feelings of guilt, shame, and worthlessness in the long run. As a result, patients find themselves stuck in a vicious cycle that is hard to break from. An inpatient depression treatment program can help such people manage all co-existing issues at the same time by providing highly specific and targeted measures.

You have zero motivation to engage with others or leave home.

Depression can make it impossible for some individuals to leave home or interact with others at home. As a result, most of them confine themselves to home and prefer spending their time alone. Some may even start missing work or therapy, while others may have no motivation to even get dressed or make something to eat. This kind of lethargy and isolation can worsen depression and significantly damage relationships and work. The best way to deal with it is by joining an inpatient treatment program that provides round-the-clock care, nutrition therapy, medication management, and plenty of psychotherapies in a safe and nurturing environment to help people re-engage with others and find pleasures in life.

You always have suicide on your mind.

For some people, the feelings of despair and depression eventually become so unbearable that they start thinking of ending their life to stop the suffering. Suicidal thoughts can quickly sneak up on depressed individuals, first as an intermittent curiosity, which gradually takes over their minds. People thinking about suicide require urgent inpatient treatment where they can be under supervision as they are highly unstable and can harm themselves at any time. Suicidal depression is real and can be very dangerous; an inpatient program is the only way to safely deal with it.

You had attempted treatment before but failed.

Many people fighting depression initially resort to lesser-intensive treatment approaches, such as outpatient programs where they stay at home and continue seeking therapy during fixed hours. While some people benefit from this level of care, others fail and fall back into deep depression. There can be various reasons why an outpatient treatment program may not work for people, such as misdiagnosis, mismedication, or an unsupportive environment at home.

For people who have failed to achieve success in previous attempts, experts recommend trying an inpatient program where they can focus on healing in a supportive environment under 24/7 observation. These programs are more structured and can help them find and address all root causes of depression that a patient may have previously missed.

Types of Inpatient Therapy for Depression

Inpatient treatment for depression generally involves a range of different therapy formats and types. One of the most common types of therapy is a technique that goes by the name of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is quite popular worldwide, and experts use it to manage various mental health conditions, including depression. The therapy is based on the principle that depression originates and worsens because of a deeply-rooted negative thought pattern.

In such people, CBT works by pinpointing and changing these unhealthy thought patterns along with other negative behaviors. As a result, patients can think in a more balanced way while challenging all negative assumptions. The therapy can also help depressed individuals acquire healthy coping mechanisms that they can use throughout life to tackle any negative thoughts. These mechanisms also allow them to recognize any potential thoughts that may worsen depression and support them in responding to them in a healthier way.

In addition to CBT, some rehabs may also offer a combination of the following therapies:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Mindfulness
  • Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT)
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Compassion-focused therapy (CFT)
  • Person-centered therapy (PCT)
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
  • Emotion-focused therapy (EFT)

The therapies mentioned above may also vary depending on the formats in which a rehab delivers them. Following are the three common formats that most inpatient treatment centers adopt for depression management:

One-to-one Therapy 

One-to-one therapy takes place in a private setting and allows you to connect with a therapist directly. These formats are the best way to talk about your depression and associated challenges in depth while feeling supported. A specialist will help you tackle these concerns and support you in achieving the best possible outcomes.

Group Therapy 

Group therapy takes place in the presence of other patients fighting similar struggles and issues. During group sessions, each patient has a chance to share their experiences and seek advice from others. Patients can also offer mutual guidance and support to each other in a non-judgmental and compassionate environment. The goal is to promote healing while allowing patients to form a strong support system to rely on.

Family and Couples Therapy

Family therapy occurs with patients and their immediate family members, close friends, or other loved ones. It allows patients to conduct open and honest conversations with their loved ones and gives family members a chance to know more about depression. With this therapy, all involved participants can learn how to understand each other’s struggles and find a way to support one another while moving forward in recovery.

Medication for Depression Management

Antidepressants are a type of evidence-based medicine experts use to manage clinical depression. These medications are well-researched and can help many people cope better with stressors and feel less anxious and depressed so that they can finally start enjoying life and deal with everyday problems more effectively. Most antidepressant medications work by increasing the levels of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters, such as noradrenaline and serotonin, have to control emotions and mood. So by balancing them, the antidepressant medications help alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Remember that medications are not effective alone, as they normally work by balancing emotions without addressing the root cause. Hence, most experts prescribe it alongside talking therapies to make a recovery easier.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a newer inpatient depression treatment modality in which a highly-trained expert delivers small currents throughout the brain under general anesthesia. These currents intentionally trigger a small seizure, altering the brain chemistry and reversing certain mental health illnesses, such as major depression. Initially misunderstood as a dangerous procedure, research now considers it safe and highly effective. However, it is usually reserved for people who fail to respond to antidepressant medications, talking therapies, or those with severe, impairing depression symptoms.


What should I expect from an inpatient psychiatric care depression program?

Inpatient treatment for depression can vary from one person to another and the place offering it. Most treatment rehabs tailor it according to personal circumstances to include one or more of the following components:

  • Safe and effective medication in a controlled environment
  • Provision of various types of psychotherapies or talking therapies
  • Participation in 12-step groups and counseling sessions in different settings
  • A team of experts, including counselors, psychiatrists, nursing staff, and other support staff

Can inpatient care for depression cure me?

With the right treatment, people can make a full and lasting recovery from a mental illness like depression. However, for this to happen, you must choose your treatment program wisely.

What should a good depression residential treatment program look like?

An effective depression treatment program is one that helps you:

  • Understand the triggers leading to depression
  • Trace your daily symptoms
  • Learn coping mechanisms to deal with daily symptoms
  • Learn to look at everyday situations through a positive lens

When does an inpatient depression program involve medications?

Medications are usually not the first line of treatment for depression. However, some experts may give it to people if:

  • Their depression is severe
  • There is a family history of depression
  • The condition is making them feel suicidal
  • They have responded well to antidepressant medications in the past

How long is inpatient treatment for depression?

There is no fixed duration for inpatient depression treatment, and it may vary from one person to another. The minimum duration that experts recommend for full recovery is one month; however, others may require up to six months in rehab to fully heal.