According to the Webster-Merriam Dictionary, “inpatient” is defined as being “a hospital patient who receives lodging and food as well as treatment.” This last piece, for a teen suffering from mental health issues, is by far the most important. Of course, food and shelter are critical to everyone’s well-being but for a teenager who may be dealing with the challenges, negativity and even stereotypes associated with their mental health, there is no better place for them to receive the intensive treatment that is required to restore their health than in an Intensive Inpatient Program . The word ‘inpatient’ frequently is used interchangeably with the word ‘residence’ since teens will reside at the treatment center for the duration of their treatment plan.
Unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with mental health and treatment centers that is felt around the world. While television shows, movies and podcasts do their best to dispel the negative attitudes towards those who suffer, there is no denying that many teens will undeniably suffer in silence to avoid being swept up in the stigmas. As teenagers are already consumed by the perceptions and views of others, they may be unwilling to admit that they are experiencing any signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder simply to avoid the reality that will come with it including admission to an intensive inpatient program.
It is our goal to help dispel the negative perceptions and stereotypes associated with teenage mental health issues so that teenagers can access the life-saving treatment that they may desperately need to recover from their illness. Just as a teen who needs his tonsils out or who may require a cosmetic surgery may be admitted to a hospital or clinic for medical attention, admission to a treatment center should be treated in the same way, with respect and care, as any other patient. Teenagers who participate in an inpatient program like Beachside Treatment Center will be treated with the utmost courtesy, regard and kindness that they deserve and desire.
Mental health issues can vary from person to person and therefore treatment should be tailored to meet the specific needs of each teen. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “successful treatment interventions should be customized to fit the needs and specific style of the individual.” After evaluation by a teen’s primary care physician or pediatrician, they will be referred to an intensive inpatient program like Beachside Treatment Center which is a residential facility offering treatment 24/7. Even among those teens who may have the same diagnosis or display similar symptoms, each one will require their own individualized treatment plan. This is where and how the trained medical professionals at Beachside Treatment Center make the difference in your teen’s life.
Making the decision to seek treatment for your teen is certainly not an easy one. Aside from the stress and concern that you have already experienced, you are more than likely worried about their overall well-being, their immediate responsiveness and long-term recovery. Rest assured that seeking assistance for your teen’s mental health issues is in their best interest although it may be a difficult and daunting decision and process.
You may yourself be thinking of the stereotypes and stigma associated with what you have heard about treatment centers and the reasons that adults or teens may be there. You may be feeling embarrassed, confused, overwhelmed and nervous about the possibility of placing your son or daughter in a place where they will eat and sleep without you, talk to strangers every day, and congregate with teens just like them. However, because of the severity of possible long-term impact that mental illness can have on teens and their families, an intensive inpatient program is the optimal place for your teen to receive the support and guidance that they need to manage their symptoms associated with their particular disorder.
So, you have identified that your teen may be experiencing signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder. You have spoken with their pediatrician and they have recommended that your teen is best suited to be treated at an inpatient program like Beachside Treatment Center. Certainly, you and your teen probably have a million questions about what an intensive inpatient program actually looks like.
As the process gets underway, a trained treatment expert will be in touch with you and your teen to conduct a pre-intake screening. The conversation will revolve around determining the level of care that is appropriate for your teen to have the best and most effective opportunity for success. It is important that both you and your teen are comfortable with the professional conducting the interview as well as the plan that is being outlined for their treatment during the inpatient program.
Treatment in an intensive inpatient program will typically last seven to ten weeks depending upon your teen’s diagnosis and responsiveness to their individual treatment plan. You should be prepared to visit regularly and often during your teenager’s treatment as they will need all of the love, support and encouragement that they can get to help them during this very difficult time. While it may be difficult to leave your child at the treatment center for the first time and walk through those locked doors, it is critical that you understand the importance of your decision as well as the fact that you have quite possibly saved your child’s life. As mental health disorders can be life-threatening, know that you are doing what is right for them to ensure their recovery and to move forward toward reaching their potential.
As difficult as it will be for you to leave them, the first few days of the intensive inpatient program will be difficult for your teen as well. Teens may find that the first week or two of the program to be the most challenging especially if they are having to deal with withdrawal symptoms from drug or alcohol abuse. However, the trained professionals at Beachside Treatment Center will be there with your teen every step of the way to get them through the process safely. As unpleasant as it will be, the treatment center is the best possible place for the detoxification process to occur as they can be carefully monitored by trained medical professionals and where there are the appropriate resources to support them.
Fear. Anger. Relief. Anxiety. Hope. This is just a small sample of the emotions that your teen will be experiencing as they enter the treatment center. While these are all common feelings, your teen may also be overwhelmed and stressed at the thought of being away from home, in new and uncomfortable surroundings, all while battling the symptoms that have placed them in the program in the first place. In other words, difficult times are ahead for everyone. But, again, with keeping the goal in mind of helping your teen to manage and recover from their mental health issues, an intensive inpatient program is undeniably the best option.
Let’s walk through a day in the life of a teen in an inpatient program. Like many other medical hospitals, not much happens at a treatment center on the weekends as far as therapy or treatment but treatment centers may provide optional activities for patients.
However, Monday through Friday, there is a lot of activity to keep your teen engaged and on the road to recovery. Based on your teen’s initial evaluation and diagnosis, the medical professionals will recommend a structured schedule for their day with activities ranging from a check-in with medical staff to a very limited educational program to various types of therapy. Of course, there will be free time allotted each day to allow teens to decompress, unwind and rest from the pressures of their recovery efforts. However, this time and other privileges may be earned based on the teen’s diagnosis, treatment plan and behavioral expectations. The treatment center may provide opportunities for teens to exercise, journal, catch up on schoolwork, reflection, or simply watching television.
As the name suggests, an inpatient or residential program is designed around the fact that your teen will be residing there during their treatment. That being said, teens are provided with 3 meals per day, comfortable living arrangements in either a single or double room, and common amenities that may include in-room bathrooms, linens and towels, access to television or movies/DVD player, Wi-Fi, etc. It is the goal of the staff and professionals to provide your teen with not only the tools and resources to manage and recover from their mental health issues but to ensure that they are comfortable at all times during their treatment.
There are a variety of services and therapy options available to your teen again based on their individual treatment plan including some of the following:
Medical care. For those teens who may be suffering from eating disorders or chronic pain illnesses, on-site medical treatment is available to nurse them back to health. This may also include dieticians and/or pain management specialists.
Unfortunately, a teen and their team of professionals cannot begin to address an alcohol or substance abuse disorder if in fact the teen is currently addicted to the substance. Under the watchful eye of a medical professional, your teen will be walked through the detox process with care and understanding.
For some teens, their treatment plan may include psychotropic medications as prescribed by their psychiatrist to help alleviate some of the symptoms of their mental health disorder. A teen’s medication regimen will be carefully monitored to ensure that they are receiving the appropriate medication and doses to suit their needs.
Proven to be an invaluable tool and resource to assist teens with their recovery process, group therapy is typically conducted with a group of young people who may be experiencing the same or similar disorders, issues or symptoms. The benefit of group therapy is that participants engage with one another in a supportive environment, learning from each other’s successes and failures. It acts as a forum for teens to understand that they are not alone and to help to dispel any of the negative stereotypes or attitudes towards themselves and the inpatient treatment program.
As part of the treatment plan, teens will meet on a one-on-one basis with trained professionals to address feelings, emotions, and their experiences with their mental health issues. Not only do teens receive the support that they deserve in these sessions but they can also gain deeper insight into their disorders, its impact on their lives as well as of those around them.
12-Step or Recovery Groups. Typically called support groups, there is a group for everyone! The basic premise of a 12-step group is simply the additional support and accountability that teens need to help them through the recovery process and maintenance of the results that they have received during their inpatient program.
Complementary Therapies. As we are all individuals, we all have our own learning styles, things that motivate us and our responses to life and the treatment process. Depending upon an individual, their diagnosed mental health issue and specific treatment plan, intensive inpatient support may include various therapies that may enhance the recovery process including animal-assisted therapy, music or art therapy, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, acupuncture or guided imagery.
During this tumultuous, difficult, stressful time, you may not think of all the questions to ask or the things to do. Remember that the trained professionals and staff at a treatment facility are in the business of assisting teens and their families to successfully navigate their diagnoses, to manage their symptoms and to recover from their mental health issues. In particular, the staff at Beachside Treatment Center will go out of their way to make you and your teen as comfortable about the inpatient program as is possible while providing you the support and guidance along the way.