What is the Difference Between Residential Treatment Centers and Day Treatment?

If you are considering additional treatment for your teenage son or daughter, you might be overwhelmed with all the choices regarding programs. The two main types of treatment centers you will come across are residential centers as well as day treatment centers. But which one is best for your child, and what can you expect from each one? There are many factors that you need to consider before enrolling your teenager into a treatment program; for one, to ensure that they are getting the specialized care that they need in order to succeed and make progress. Would this be easier if your child was in residential treatment for teens, or would a teen’s day treatment center work better, allowing your child to come home each night?

Whatever treatment path you and your family decide upon will need to take into account the needs of your specific child. Many programs offer the chance to be able to utilize a residential-style treatment program, and then after a certain period of time, the ability to move to day treatment for teens. You will need to speak with your child’s physician and corresponding health team to determine what their health and wellness goals are, and then from there, you can decide if a daily treatment program or a more long-term residential option would be best for your teen. 

While both treatment options can have similarities, there are some notable differences between the two. So, first, let’s compare and contrast residential centers as well as day treatment programs; from there, you can determine what you think would benefit your child the most. 

Residential Treatment Centers

A teen residential treatment center is just that – a place where your child can be considered a resident. Think of a residential treatment program as more of a long-term care facility where healing can begin slowly and consistently. These programs can last anywhere from one to three months to over a year, depending upon the care needed. Residential treatment centers allow the doctors, specialists, and care team to determine the cause of your child’s behaviors at a pace that suits them, as opposed to quickly narrowing down the cause of a more acute event or behavior. 

There can be multiple types of treatment within a residential center, including music integration, physical activity, group therapies, arts and crafts, and tutoring, to name a few. While many of these conservative treatments are also applied in day treatment programs, the bonus to residential centers is that educated staff can care for your child around the clock, which can be helpful if your child is experiencing behaviors that might harm others or even themselves. 

Suppose you are concerned about your child’s schooling while in residential treatment; note that many centers allow academics as part of their overall approach to therapy. Just because your teen is getting the behavioral and mental help they need doesn’t mean that school falls to the wayside; in fact, education is a cornerstone of several treatment programs.

Day Treatment Centers

On the flip side, your child might be ready for a day treatment center; while this is often the stepping stone from a residential program, it doesn’t mean it is any less engaging and helpful for your teen. In fact, many children are able to go to therapy each day and then come home at night and be able to apply what they’ve learned in a familiar environment. 

Day treatment centers offer many of the same services as residential treatment centers; everything from schooling and multiple types of therapy to physical activity and management of behavioral issues can all be used to further your child’s health and wellness. While some programs might have your child in a treatment center all day, others slowly decrease the number of hours spent in therapy over time, especially as your child builds confidence and improves their overall mental health and well-being. 

Bottom Line

Regardless if your child needs more of a residential-style treatment center or a day treatment program, they will get the care that they need. However, you and your family will need to decide if it’s best if your teen needs a consistent environment with specialized care around the clock (with food, bedding, etc. all included) or if they are adaptable to a daily program while being able to practice what they’ve learned at home each night. 

Either way, the end goal is the same – to ensure your child can be nurtured and that their specific needs can be met to better their mental and physical health. If you have more questions or need more information regarding the differences between these styles of treatment programs, reach out to the team at Help Your Teen Now. You’ll get the answers you need and then be able to make a sound decision for your family and your teen.

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