Comparing Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

Millions of people in the United States live with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. While some risk factors make it more likely to develop a substance use disorder, anyone can have an unhealthy relationship with substances that could lead to dependence or addiction.

Addiction negatively impacts every aspect of your life. It can harm your physical and emotional well-being, strain essential relationships, and put you at risk for life-altering financial or legal trouble.

Many people live with addiction, but very few get the treatment they need. According to research performed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2018, only about 11% of people living with substance abuse get treatment to overcome the condition.[1]

Despite the low number of people who do seek treatment, participating in a substance abuse program can be life-changing. Effective, comprehensive addiction treatment provides the education, support, and therapies people need to move past their addiction and live a fulfilling, sober lifestyle.

There are many types of addiction treatment. Generally, all types of treatment programs are considered either inpatient or outpatient. We’ve put together a guide to help you understand the differences between inpatient vs. outpatient rehab. Understanding the range of your treatment options can help you make the choices that best support your recovery.

What Happens During Substance Abuse Treatment?

Substance abuse treatment happens in stages. In most cases, people will be evaluated by their doctor or addiction specialist before starting treatment. This helps the medical professionals recommend the type of treatment a person requires.

Next, many people begin treatment by going through a medically-supervised detox program. In detox, medical and support professionals monitor and treat people for uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Treatment usually includes medications and comfort care.

After completing detox, people begin a tailored treatment program that will help them address the causes of their addiction and learn how to avoid relapse in the future. Treatment plans utilize a combination of evidence-based and holistic therapies, including:

  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Medication management
  • Medical or mental health treatment
  • Education
  • Holistic therapies like acupuncture, exercise, art therapy, and nutrition counseling

After completing treatment, people must create an aftercare plan that will help them stay committed to sobriety. They may join an alumni network, continue individual counseling, or attend support groups or 12-step meetings.

Addiction treatment occurs in various settings and several levels of care. This allows people to have their unique treatment needs to be met.

Understanding Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab is offered in many settings and is more flexible than residential or inpatient treatment. People may be able to schedule meetings to fit their schedule, which allows them to keep working, going to school, or taking care of family members while receiving treatment.

On average, people in outpatient rehab spend 10-12 hours a week engaged in treatment activities. The program specialists may adjust sessions to meet a person’s changing needs. Outpatient rehab programs usually last between 3 and 6 months, but some people require a more extended treatment period.

Some people attend outpatient rehab instead of inpatient treatment, and some may use outpatient rehab to help them transition out of inpatient care. Outpatient rehab is considered a good option for people with a mild addiction.

What Is Inpatient Rehab?

People receive addiction treatment in an inpatient rehab program while living in the treatment facility. During their time in residential treatment, people have round-the-clock access to medical and mental health professionals. They have constant support and monitoring. For people with a severe addiction, residential treatment provides the safe, supportive environment necessary to overcome it.

Inpatient rehab programs typically last from 28 days to 6 months. During their stay, people receive high-quality treatment on a regular schedule. Doctors, counselors, and other specialists work with people intensively to help them address the causes of their addiction and prepare them for life after treatment.

How Should I Decide Between Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab?

In most cases, a doctor or addiction specialist will perform an evaluation before you begin treatment. The assessment consists of questions about your medical and mental health history, prior treatments, and other information to help guide your treatment.

There are benefits to both types of rehab programs. It is important to consider your unique needs before starting a treatment program.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab provides a safe, structured environment for people with severe addiction or significant mental health or medical needs. It is a good option for people who haven’t been successful in outpatient rehab and those with intense cravings.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab allows people the flexibility to continue working. People can continue to connect with their friends and families, engage in hobbies, and live at home. Outpatient rehab may be significantly less expensive than inpatient rehab.

If necessary, some people start in an outpatient rehab program and move to inpatient care. Similarly, a person may start outpatient rehab after completing inpatient treatment to help adjust to their sober lifestyle.

Get Help Now

The best way to determine which treatment program is right for you is to consult with a doctor, counselor, or addiction specialist. Here at Addiction Interventions, our team of mental health and substance abuse professionals is available 24/7 for a risk-free, confidential consultation.

A team member can learn about your needs, verify your insurance, and answer any other questions you may have. They can also connect you with a licensed and accredited recovery facility near you.

If you or someone you love are wondering about inpatient vs. outpatient treatment, reach out to the specialists at Addiction Intervention for information about starting treatment.

References:

  1. https://nida.nih.gov/

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