Currently trends in mental health care dictate a step down or step up range of programs based on the needs of the patient. The idea is to use the “least restrictive” means of treatment necessary. This is radically different from how things worked in the past. Typically if you needed treatment you went to a state hospital and society forgot about you (think One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest).

Going from most restrictive to least here are the typical treatment options:

I should note that patients could hop up or down this list without going through all of these options. If a doctor feels that a particular patient can go from inpatient to outpatient or residential to outpatient directly than that's what is done. Here again the preference is for the least restrictive means necessary. Also this is not an exhaustive list as new program types are frequently studied and sometimes implamented.

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