Inpatient treatment for PTSD involves an intensive therapy program that addresses each person’s needs.

As the name suggests, inpatient treatment requires a person to stay in a PTSD treatment center 24/7 for the duration of the program. During this time, physicians, mental health professionals, and compassionate caregivers provide support, medication, and other forms of assistance. A top goal of inpatient care is to make a person as comfortable as possible at the start of this important form of treatment. Without having to worry about many daily responsibilities, people with PTSD can focus on resting, participating in therapy, and thinking about future goals.

What Is PTSD?

Any traumatic event in a person’s life can cause post-traumatic stress disorder. This mental health condition often manifests itself with nightmares, severe anxiety, flashbacks, and uncontrollable thoughts as the most common symptoms. People can develop PTSD from going through personal trauma or witnessing a traumatic event. Terrorist attacks, combat, accidents, abuse, and many other traumatic events can have lasting effects.

Without proper PTSD inpatient treatment, people with PTSD suffer from frequent or daily symptoms. They often have a difficult time adjusting to life and may be unable to cope. However, people can live full lives with effective treatment. As time passes, people learn trauma therapy strategies to help them cope and learn how to live more comfortably again. Although there is still a stigma surrounding mental health, it is important to think of PTSD and other mental health conditions like physical diseases. Without treatment, physical illnesses get worse, and they can get much better with treatment. The same is true with PTSD and other mental illnesses.

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What Does PTSD Inpatient Treatment Include?

Inpatient treatment is also called residential treatment. Depending on individual needs or other disorders present, the length of the treatment program can vary. Long-term treatment programs may last multiple months, and there are shorter residential treatment programs that last about a month or less.

Types of Therapy for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Several therapies are effective in treating PTSD. Therapists often use EMDR, which helps a person’s face and reprocess a traumatic event. With the therapist’s guidance, this can help a person separate the past, present, and future. It is helpful with other therapies to assist a person in starting to heal or learning to cope. CBT and DBT are also beneficial in helping people identify the reasons for behaviors or triggers and how to change or deal with them. There may be supporting therapies as well. Nutrition, exercise, expressive activities, and other activities help support overall wellness as people participate in PTSD treatment programs.

Therapy Structures

Depending on individual needs and a therapist’s recommendations, there may be multiple therapy structures. Individual therapy is a structure that involves only the therapist and the person with PTSD. In this approach, therapists focus on the unique ways that PTSD affects the individual. There may also be group therapy, which involves others who struggle with PTSD. Group members share their thoughts, support each other and make helpful suggestions. Some therapists also use family therapy and include other members of the family. In this structure, the therapist identifies the unique effects of PTSD on family members and how it may affect them as a family unit. Another important part of this therapy is teaching family members how to support their loved ones with PTSD properly.

What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment for PTSD?

In some cases, people with PTSD turn to one or more substances to cope. If a person develops an addiction to alcohol, prescription painkillers, or illegal drugs, dual diagnosis treatment is essential. As the name implies, the treatment plan is for people with two separate diagnoses. The goal of dual diagnosis treatment is to address both co-occurring disorders at the same time. By treating both, the chances of recovery from addiction and PTSD symptom reduction are more favorable.

For example, imagine that a person with PTSD develops an addiction to prescription opioids. If the individual only seeks treatment for opioid addiction without seeking treatment for PTSD, the symptoms of PTSD remain. After the person detoxes from opioids, the symptoms of PTSD may drive the individual to seek opioids or another substance again. Research shows that relapse risks are higher for people with co-occurring disorders if they do not receive mental health treatment for both disorders. By treating PTSD properly, a therapist can help a person start to cope or heal. When this happens, there is less drive to seek a substance.

If a person requires an addictive medication for a medical condition, therapists may substitute other substances or find an alternative course of treatment for the medical condition. For example, someone with an injury that is slow to heal after surgery following a traumatic accident may become addicted to pain pills and use too many to cope with the trauma. Physical therapy can sometimes help people regain strength and reduce pain, but it is hard to stay in physical therapy when problematic symptoms persist. In such a case, physical therapy and PTSD treatment may help. The solution may be different for someone with pain that will not disappear from physical therapy. Each person’s health history and needs are unique, and professionals work hard to find the right solutions for every person.

Why Is Inpatient Treatment Helpful for PTSD?

In an inpatient setting, it is often less stressful for people with PTSD. Some people may be exposed to more triggers at home or where they live. Having to manage daily responsibilities can feel overwhelming when PTSD symptoms are severe. With inpatient treatment, medical staff is on duty 24/7 to monitor and help each person. When medical staff can continually monitor a program participant, it is easier for them to witness some of their needs and learn more about them. Also, it is helpful to the individual with PTSD to have understanding, caring, and supportive people helping every hour of the day. By handling laundry, cleaning, and meal preparation for people who participate in inpatient treatment, facilities help program participants relax and focus on restoring their mental health.


Residential PTSD treatment may not be ideal for all people. Although it is a preferable treatment approach because of its many benefits, some people may not take enough time away from work or family responsibilities. There are other outpatient program options for people who cannot complete residential treatment. With multiple therapy approaches and structures today, including online counseling, there are more ways for people with PTSD to access help and support.

Finding Inpatient Treatment for PTSD

If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of PTSD, reaching out for help can be the hardest step. However, it is the most rewarding one. Our compassionate team of professionals makes the next steps easier by being advocates who support every step of the way. They work together to help each person set future goals, learn strategies to cope with daily life, and treat the unpleasant symptoms of PTSD.

Through psychiatric therapy, daily activities, wellness plans, and more, you or your loved one can start living a fuller and healthier life. We take a customized approach to create a personalized PTSD treatment program for every person with PTSD. If you also struggle with substance abuse or another mental health disorder, we ensure that you receive full treatment for co-occurring issues. Please contact us to learn more about inpatient PTSD treatment in our facilities.