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7 Signs Outpatient Treatment Isn't Enough

Outpatient treatment is considered the lowest level of mental health treatment. Someone receiving outpatient care will generally meet with a therapist 1-2x per week (or less frequently), and they may also meet with a psychiatrist or other healthcare providers. However, they continue to work, go to school, and take care of their daily responsibilities.

That said, outpatient treatment isn't always appropriate, and it's especially important to consider seeking more support if you're struggling with your mental illness or experiencing problems in your current therapy treatment. Here are some signs to consider.

Your Mental Health Symptoms Continue to Worsen

Mental health conditions often ebb and flow, and stress or life circumstances can exacerbate certain symptoms. In some cases, persistent struggling may indicate problems with the therapeutic alliance or a need for a new therapist.

But if things are worsening progressively, despite attending therapy sessions or receiving support, it may be a sign that you need a higher level of professional care.

You Feel Chronically Suicidal

It's not uncommon for people with mental illness to experience intrusive thoughts. For example, if you have major depression, you may know what it's like to struggle with suicidal ideation.

But if you constantly question whether you want to be alive (or you keep making plans or attempts to harm yourself), it's a sign you need a higher level of care. Most therapists will work with you to manage your suicidal thoughts, but they also have to ensure that you're safe. At times, this means breaching confidentiality if they suspect you are in imminent danger of harming yourself or others.

You Feel Like You're Unable to Function

People receiving outpatient treatment should feel like they can generally manage their daily lives. Therapy provides ongoing support, helpful coping skills, and structured guidance.

But if you feel like you can't function, it might be a sign that you need more care. Signs that you're struggling to function include:

  • you're neglecting your personal hygiene

  • you have persistent problems with focus or concentration

  • you have unpredictable and intense mood swings

  • you're using substances or other vices to cope throughout the day

  • you chronically feel overwhelmed and procrastinate on important tasks

  • you feel a total loss of interest in most things you do

  • you're having appetite problems or sleep problems

Your Living Environment Feels Too Unstable

If your current home feels unsafe, unstable, or unsupportive, you may not be able to take care of yourself effectively. Therapeutic success is often contingent on being able to apply what you learn in session to daily life. But if you're unable to do that, treatment may feel like it hits an impasse.

The right living environment is key to managing your mental health and truly engaging in effective clinical work. A higher level of care can provide this kind of setting.

You Keep Relapsing

Relapse can be a part of recovery, but if you're experiencing ongoing relapses, it may indicate that you need a more structured treatment setting.

Relapse doesn't mean that you're failing or that you aren't trying to work on yourself. A professional therapist can help you understand the triggers underlying your relapses. But your current therapist just might not be able to provide the right amount of support and tools to help you recover.

You Aren't Being Honest With Your Therapist

Research shows that many therapy clients lie or withhold important information from their therapists. This is often due to shame or fear of judgment, and most providers are used to this in their clinical practice.

That said, an effective therapeutic relationship is contingent on you being honest and forthcoming within the therapeutic process. If this feels too challenging for you, you may be hindering your own progress. This can also cause you to relapse or experience stagnation in treatment.

You Feel Like Therapy Doesn't Work For You

Although it's often the standard recommendation for treating a mental health condition, therapy doesn't always work for everyone. It's just one method, but so many clients still struggle with negative thinking patterns or problematic symptoms despite working with an effective therapist.

This may mean that you could benefit from a higher level of care. Wraparound treatment focuses on all aspects of life and may include numerous components including therapy, psychiatry, life coaching, medical support, and family treatment.

How Resurface Group Bridges Treatment Gaps

At Resurface Group, we recognize the need to create space between outpatient therapy and inpatient treatment. We know that many people leave the hospital or a residential program feeling unsure of where to go next. They want to function well in their life, but they still need support and structure to guide them into taking care of themselves.

At Resurface Group, we emphasize teaching problem-solving skills, providing unconditional support, and helping individuals and their family members heal from their mental health conditions. Whether you experience severe depression, a complex personality disorder, or a substance use disorder, we are here to support you.

Contact us today to learn more about our dynamic, one-of-a-kind program.

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