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What is Outpatient Treatment for Depression?

What is Outpatient Treatment for Depression?

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What is Outpatient Depression Treatment?

Outpatient depression treatment is a broad term that encompasses various approaches. It refers to therapy services delivered in mental health treatment clinics, doctor’s offices, or hospitals.

Outpatient therapy for depression enables you to remain engaged in daily life while receiving treatment. You can’t interact with the outside world while receiving treatment in an inpatient setting. The benefit of exposure to the outside world is that you can confront difficulties head-on rather than being insulated from them.1 Adjusting to the actual world is beneficial for those who might encounter triggers throughout their lives. In addition, outpatient therapy for depression does not require an overnight stay, even in the case of an intensive outpatient program for depression.2

Depression is a severe medical condition that significantly impacts a person’s emotions, thoughts, and actions.3 As a result, your performance at work and home may be affected, and it may also result in a number of mental and physical problems. There are also different types of depression, including bipolar disorder. In addition, anxiety and depression often coexist. Fortunately, depression can also be treated.

An estimated 3.8% of the world’s population suffers from depression, with 5% of adults and 5.7% of persons over 60 years of age affected.4

From moderate to severe, symptoms of depression include:

  • Experiencing sadness or a depressed mood
  • Loss of enjoyment or interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss or weight gain unrelated to diets
  • Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping
  • Energy loss or increased fatigue
  • Increase in pointless movement (such as pacing or an inability to sit still) or slower speech or movement
    • These actions are severe enough to be observable to others
  • Sense of worthlessness or guilt
  • Trouble focusing, thinking, or making decisions
  • Suicidal or death-related thoughts

Various outpatient mental health services can help treat depression, including:

  • Traditional Outpatient Treatment: Without requiring an overnight stay, outpatient depression treatment in Tennessee are therapies or tests that can be performed in a hospital or clinical setting in a few hours. Additionally, you may see licensed psychologists for individual sessions as often as recommended, generally one or two times a week for 45-50 minutes.5
  • Intensive Outpatient Program for Depression (IOP): IOP programs allow you to go about your daily life while receiving intensive treatment.6 You’ll attend group or individual therapy or treatment and recreational activities as part of IOP for depression several days per week and several hours per day.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): A PHP is a highly structured intensive outpatient program for depression. They provide active treatment, including psychotherapy, group counseling services, and skill-building lessons, for several hours a day. After treatment, you can return home or to a sober living community.
  • Support Groups: Tennessee support groups offer services to help people stay committed to recovery. Belonging to a support group fosters camaraderie among others on the same path, making recovery feel less lonely. Members of support groups can meet once a week under the supervision of mental health professionals.

Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.

Outpatient Depression Treatment Process & Goals

Being treated by a therapist just once a week might not seem enough to help you deal with the severity of your persistent depression symptoms. In that case, an intensive outpatient program for depression is an effective option.

IOP for depression is designed to support you as you deal with any triggers or other stressors you may encounter daily. These treatments are intended to lessen symptoms and improve independence and self-reliance so that you can have the most prosperous, productive life possible.7

To treat symptoms, outpatient treatment for depression employs a range of therapeutic modalities, including psychotherapy, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), group therapy, medications, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). When treating depression, many people with severe or persistent symptoms will benefit most from combining traditional therapy and antidepressants.

Each individual is different, and so are their symptoms. How your depression is treated also depends on your unique needs. In other words, not everyone responds well to a particular therapy or medication. Goals will shift as you continue outpatient therapy for depression. However, the main goal of trying to help you successfully navigate life remains.

Benefits of Outpatient Treatment for Depression

Outpatient depression treatment has many benefits, including:

  • Maintaining stronger connections with your support network
  • Enabling you to continue managing your daily obligations
  • Allowing you to incorporate healthy coping skills into your daily life
  • Assisting you in making a transition from inpatient to outpatient care
  • Outpatient depression treatment is more affordable than inpatient treatment
  • Providing you with more discretion
  • Providing you with the problem-solving skills necessary to live a happy and productive life

When is Outpatient Treatment Right for You?

It takes commitment and dedication to join IOP for depression treatment programs. Yet it doesn’t require as much commitment as hospitalization. It’s important to remember that maintaining good mental health is essential to leading a happy life.

If you can relate to any of the following, outpatient therapy for depression may be right for you:8

  • Your typical therapy sessions are insufficient.
  • You are contemplating suicide.
  • You believe that medication management may be necessary.
  • You struggle to fulfill your obligations at work, school, or home.
  • You require more help.
  • Your depression has not improved.

Almost 90% of depression patients receive outpatient care for their condition.9 However, outpatient depression treatment plans aren’t the right option for everyone. Some require a brief hospital stay if they have major depressive disorder (MDD) or treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Several factors may require a higher level of care, such as those at risk of harming themselves or others or lacking a solid support network.

Success Rates & Outlook of Outpatient Depression Treatment

Psychotherapy and prescription drugs can both lessen the symptoms of depression. Yet, a combination of medicine and psychotherapy is connected to notably greater recovery rates in more severe, ongoing, and complicated presentations of depression.

Since 80% to 90% of patients eventually respond favorably to outpatient depression treatment, depression is regarded as a highly treatable disorder.10 Furthermore, according to one study, 50% to 70% of people benefit from IOP for depression.11


  1. Cate, Tammy. “How Intensive Outpatient Therapy Helps With Depression.” Transformations by the Gulf, 11 Feb. 2022, transformationsbythegulf.com/how-intensive-outpatient-therapy-helps-patients-cope-with-depression.
  2. “What is Outpatient Mental Health Treatment?” Pacific Health Systems, 2022, https://pacifichealthsystems.com/blog/what-is-outpatient-mental-health-treatment/
  3. “Psychiatry.Org – What Is Depression?” Psychiatry.Org, American Psychiatric Association, psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression. Accessed 19 July 2022
  4. “GBD Results.” Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-results/?params=gbd-api-2019-permalink/d780dffbe8a381b25e1416884959e88b.
  5. International OCD Foundation. “How Is OCD Treated?” International OCD Foundation, 12 Jan. 2023, iocdf.org/about-ocd/ocd-treatment.
  6. “3 Different Types of Outpatient Rehab Programs.” TruHealing, 2022, https://www.truhealingcenters.com/rehab-blog/3-different-types-of-outpatient-rehab-programs/
  7. “Los Angeles Department of Mental Health Outpatient Services.” Department of Mental Health, 22 May 2020, dmh.lacounty.gov/our-services/outpatient-services.
  8. BoldHealth. “How an IOP Is Effective in Treating Depression.” Bold Health, 14 June 2022, boldhealthinc.com/how-an-iop-is-effective-in-treating-depression.
  9. “Hospitalization for Treatment-Resistant Depression.” WebMD, 10 Jan. 2006, www.webmd.com/depression/hospitalization-needed.
  10. Linde, K., et al. “Effectiveness of Psychological Treatments for Depressive Disorders in Primary Care: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” The Annals of Family Medicine, vol. 13, no. 1, 2015, pp. 56–68. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1370/afm.1719
  11. McCarty, Dennis, et al. “Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence.” Psychiatric Services, vol. 65, no. 6, American Psychiatric Association Publishing, June 2014, pp. 718–26. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201300249.

If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.

One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control. 

(615) 320-1155