FREE MENTAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT. start here

Can You Go to Rehab for Depression?

Vicky Davis

Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 12/13/2021

Depression is unfortunately fairly common. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health more than 19 million adults in the U.S. dealt with at least one major depressive episode during the previous year. That means that this mental health disorder is fairly common. 

Some better news: There are a variety of ways to treat depression. Most commonly, therapy or medication or a combination of the two are used to address depressive disorders. 

But in-patient treatment (or rehab) can also be an option. Wondering why someone may choose rehab for depression? Let us fill you in. 

A Quick Primer on Depression

Experts believe depression is often caused by low levels of specific neurotransmitters (the chemicals that relay info between your neurons) in your brain. 

There are tons of different types of neurotransmitters (over 100, in fact) and they are key to how both your brain and body work.

But, while there are so many different types of neurotransmitters, there are a few that are specifically linked to depression. These include serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and more. 

If you are dealing with this type of mental health issue, you may notice depression symptoms such as:

  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety or hopelessness

  • Feelings of guilt

  • Irritability 

  • Overall low energy or fatigue

  • Weight gain or loss 

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Decreased appetite

  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms need to persist for two weeks or more. 

One of the reasons antidepressant medication is prescribed as a treatment option for depressive symptoms is because they work by increasing levels of certain neurotransmitters — which helps reduce or eliminate symptoms of depression

Behavioral therapy can also assist in helping to identify behavior patterns associated with your depression and finding ways to address them. 

Also helpful to understand: There are different types of depression — and different severities. 

These are often referred to as mild depression, moderate depression or major depression (also referred to as severe depression). 

Diagnosing which type of depression you have is up to a mental health professional. 

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not have any strict guidelines on how many symptoms a person must have in order to be deemed to have the different types of depression. 

What Is Rehab for Depression? 

While mild and moderate depression can likely be dealt with at home through therapy or medication, major depression may need a more in-depth approach. 

That’s where a depression treatment center (also called rehab or in-patient treatment) comes into play. 

At these centers, individuals with depression check in and stay for a certain amount of time — the length of which is usually determined by you and a team of mental health professionals. 

“Living” in a facility for a period of time allows a mental healthcare professional to more fully assess how depression is affecting you and what can be done about it. 

When you participate in a clinical residential treatment center, it involves staying in a home-like atmosphere with other individuals seeking help. 

You can expect to attend individual psychotherapy sessions on a daily basis. You will also be asked to join group therapy as a treatment for depression. 

Often, you might end up addressing co-occurring disorders or issues when in rehab for depression.

For example, if you suffer from a substance use disorder (such as alcohol addiction), there are facilities that can offer effective treatment for that, along with help for depression. 

Often these spots also offer additional types of therapeutic programming — like career counseling or art therapy.

It’s worth mentioning, rehab for depression is different from being admitted to the psychiatric ward of a hospital. 

Usually, a person will check into a hospital if they are in immediate danger or need intensive treatment right away. 

Mental health issues relating to depression that could lead to an inpatient stay at the hospital include a suicide attempt or an unsafe living situation. 

Who Should Go to Rehab for Depression

Anyone can go to rehab for depression (as well as other mental health conditions, like anxiety), provided you have the funding and there is availability and the treatment center. 

It may be particularly helpful if you are suffering with severe clinical depression, which is defined as feeling sad and hopeless most of the day, every day. 

Other signs include fatigue, inability to find pleasure in life, disturbed sleep and thoughts of death or suicide. 

When your depression is debilitating and you’re unable to feel productive in your life, going to a rehab facility and working closely with a mental health professional can be just the reset you need. 

Rehab for depression can allow you to receive a level of care that is helpful to where you are in your journey, and you can focus on therapy and getting to a place you feel good about.  

Treating Depression 

There are a number of ways to treat a depressive disorder. Medication and therapy — either the use of one or both — are popular ways of addressing this type of mental health distress. 

If you are struggling to incorporate these things into your daily life, it may be worth considering rehab for depression. 

By staying in a facility and engaging in therapy on a daily basis, you can focus on getting better and dealing with the severity of your symptoms. 

Remember, you don’t have to solve your depression on your own — or figure out the best way to treat it. 

By working with a mental health professional, you’ll be able to talk about what’s going on in your life and then utilize their expertise to determine different treatment plans to consider — including the possibility of a residential treatment center. 

Hers offers online mental health consultations, to help you determine what’s best for your journey to healing. 

10 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Major Depression. (2019, February). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml
  2. Hyman, S.E. (2005, March 8). Neurotransmitters. Current Biology. 15 (5), PR154-R158. Retrieved from https://www.cell.com/current-biology/comments/S0960-9822(05)00208-3
  3. Cooper, J.R., (2001). Neurotransmitters. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/neurotransmitters
  4. What causes depression? (2019, June 24). Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-causes-depression
  5. Depression of Women: 5 Things to Know. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-in-women
  6. Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression
  7. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved from http://repository.poltekkes-kaltim.ac.id/657/1/Diagnostic%20and%20statistical%20manual%20of%20mental%20disorders%20_%20DSM-5%20%28%20PDFDrive.com%20%29.pdf
  8. Four Types of Residential Treatment Facilities. American Residential Treatment Association. Retrieved from https://artausa.org/residential-mental-health-program-types/
  9. Getting Treatment During a Crisis. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Getting-Treatment-During-a-Crisis
  10. Psychotic Depression. NHS. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/psychotic-depression/

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Care for your mind,
care for your self

Start your mental wellness journey today.