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What Is Inpatient Residential Treatment?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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When a person undergoes inpatient residential treatment, he receives treatment while temporarily living at the facility that is helping him. This is in contrast to outpatient facilities wherein a person would travel to his own home after receiving care. Inpatient residential treatment is often used when a person is dealing with a serious problem that requires around-the-clock access to help and, possibly, supervision. For example, a person might submit to inpatient residential treatment when he is addicted to drugs or alcohol and isn't yet ready to avoid them at home. Inpatient care is also used to treat some mental health and behavioral problems, and often includes detoxification, therapy, and any medical care the patient needs.

Sometimes a person needs help with a condition that is difficult for him to deal with on his own. He may seek help from an outpatient facility for his problem, but find that the progress he makes is difficult to sustain at home. In an attempt to improve his recovery chances, he might instead enroll in an inpatient residential facility at which he will stay 24 hours a day. In such a case, the facility becomes his home until he reaches a recovery level at which he can move to outpatient care or no longer needs regular treatment.

Often, inpatient residential treatment is used for individuals who have some sort of addiction. For example, a person may opt for residential treatment to deal with a drug or alcohol addiction. Sometimes, this sort of treatment is also used for people who have mental health conditions, eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia, or behavioral problems. For instance, a teen may undergo inpatient residential treatment if he is having behavioral problems that his parents feel are out of control. For instance, this type of treatment could help a teen who has oppositional defiant disorder, which is marked by defiance and disobedience to his parents and others in authority.

The types of treatment a person receives from an inpatient residential facility may depend on the problem for which he is admitted. Often, however, treatments include detoxification, associated medical care, and therapy. A patient might also receive prescription medication as appropriate for his care. For example, he may receive medication to treat a mental health disorder or to aid him in overcoming a drug addiction. Once a person is discharged from this type of facility, he could still require ongoing treatment, however.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison , Writer
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

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Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison


Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGEEK writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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