Maintenance treatment

Maintenance Treatment

Maintenance treatment for mental health involves ongoing treatment after a patient achieves a desired level of improvement. Maintenance therapy generally consists of psychotherapeutic approaches—such as talk therapy (psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, or interpersonal)—that are designed to maintain this stability. Supportive care may also be combined with ongoing medications to improve symptoms, such as those for depression.

Maintenance therapy has been found to be especially beneficial for individuals with long-term mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, chronic depression, or schizoaffective disorder. In addition, studies have suggested that individuals benefit from maintenance therapy even after they have achieved remission from depression and other mental health disorders. Additionally, research has also supported the use of maintenance therapy among individuals with substance use disorders.

Benefits of Maintenance Treatment

The primary goal of maintenance treatment is to prevent a relapse, which is defined as a return to previous levels of symptoms. However, there are additional benefits associated with receiving ongoing treatment. These include:

  • Reduction in the risk of relapse
  • Improved quality of life
  • Decrease in symptoms
  • Improving functioning in daily activities
  • Increasing ability to cope with stress and triggers
  • Enhancement in interpersonal relationships
  • Increased sense of control
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence

Components of Maintenance Treatment

Maintenance therapy typically consists of both pharmacological and psychotherapeutic interventions. With regard to medications, maintenance treatment is used to continue medication therapy even after remission or clinical improvement are achieved. Additionally, this type of treatment can also include lifestyle changes such as regular physical activity, sleep hygiene, a proper diet, and/or the simplification of life responsibilities.

With psychotherapy, maintenance treatment typically involves psychodynamic therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and/or interpersonal therapy. During regular psychotherapy sessions, individuals can discuss their current challenges, learn new coping techniques, and practice their skills.

Importance of Maintenance Treatment

Maintenance treatment is essential in preventing a relapse and preventing a return to the previous levels of mental health symptoms. Research has indicated that continued treatment is beneficial in reducing the risk for relapse and achieving long-term stability. Additionally, maintenance treatment can promote positive lifestyle changes that will further enhance the individual’s quality of life and well-being.