Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment – Addiction Recovery Option

If you need substance abuse treatment, inpatient and outpatient treatment programs can offer an essential level of care to attain long-term sobriety. But how do you know which type of programs would best suit you?

Both inpatient and outpatient programs have distinctions which make them ideal for a patient’s needs, based on their level and length of addiction.

This article will outline some of the significant differences between outpatient and inpatient treatment programs, to help you make an informed decision. However, since it’s just a general overview, you might want to seek an in-person diagnostic assessment with a professional to truly understand which kind of treatment is best suited for your needs.

Here is the difference between inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment care:

Inpatient treatment care

Inpatient (residential) treatment is a type of program in which a patient is offered with 24/7 care at a live-in facility. Both physical and psychiatric health guidance are included in this program. Often, patients will stay in the treatment facilities for weeks or months at a time. Before a patient is enrolled in this high-maintenance program, they have to undergo a range of assessments.

Inpatient treatments are safe and structured and remove the patient from stressful situations that fuel or promote the urge of use. Since the negative aspects are eliminated from the daily experience of the patient, they get a chance to focus on getting better and building coping skills.

In summary:

  • The patient stays in the facility
  • Has a higher success rate
  • More expensive
  • 28 days-6 months program
  • Disruptive to daily life
  • 24/7 emotional and medical support
  • No distraction of everyday life
  • Designed to treat serious addictions

Outpatient treatment care

Outpatient (ambulatory) treatment shares many similarities with inpatient programs, but in a differently structured setting. Outpatient treatment care gives patients more freedom of movement that lets them maintain a regular commitment to work, family, and education among other responsibilities.  It’s a great option for patients who need drug rehab, eating disorder treatment, pain treatment as so on, but maintain their lifestyle.

For outpatient care, patients do not get a safe and secure environment that secludes them from negatively affecting aspects. Patients go back home every day after treatment and must voluntarily stay away from substance use, which needs a significant amount of self-control and diligence. Patients get a support network like individual counseling, support groups, and family counseling for support and guidance.

In summary:

  • The patient stays at home but goes to treatment during the day
  • Lower success rate
  • More affordable
  • 3 months to 1+ year program
  • Patient maintains a more normal daily routine
  • Gets social circle support
  • 10 to 12 hours a week
  • Ideal for patients with mild addiction

Which option is right for you?

You and your caregiver are best equipped to determine which type will be perfect for your situation. Be true to yourself regarding how independently committed you can be in an ambulatory treatment. Do you feel as though you may fall into temptation? Have you tried to quit several times but failed? Are you physically addicted to a substance and need a medical detox before getting treatment? When you speak with a counseling professional about voluntarily entering substance use treatment, mention your situations so both of you can figure out which aspects of inpatient and outpatient programs would suit you. Both treatment methods have life-changing benefits, and knowing which one will best help you attain long-term recovery is among the first steps towards sobriety.

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