Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?


Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?

There are many options to choose from when choosing a Drug and alcohol treatment program. They fall into two different categories which are inpatient (also known as residential) or outpatient rehab. What is impatient and outpatient treatment? While both compare and focus on rehabilitation, each type has different features and benefits to offer. Inpatient rehabs are accelerated, and made to treat more severe addictions. Every person is different and takes on different types of challenges that can be more or less crucial than someone else. An important factor is finding an effective approach that will work for an individual when seeking help and dealing with issues of addiction. The first step is finding out the best type of treatment that comes with a thorough evaluation by qualified addiction specialists.

Inpatient-Requires you to live at the rehab facility. While Outpatient-generally wants you to have some amount of daily treatment at a clinic or facility and allows you to go back to your home or other living arrangments during non treatment hours.

Inpatient or residential treatment programs are around a minimum of 28 days but can go for as long as 90 days or more. Guests will stay at the facility during this time. One of the most important and benificial parts of inpatient care is the safe and secure enviroment. Lets face it, there is always going to be temptations and pressure in life and removing yourself from this can help break the chain of addiction. When doing so, you could have a different perspective and approach to situations.


The care offered at inpatient rehab centers vary. In having a successful completion of the program, you should check the rehab centers’ policies and philosophies before being admitted. When attending an inpatient drug rehab it will offer you a nurturing and controlled environment that will provide psychological therapy through counseling, peer support, and detox with medical supervision. You will never be left alone to fight this drug addiction. You will be successful by the resources given that empower you to do so in an inpatient drug rehabilitation program.

Reasons for inpatient treatment for addiction

• Patients that need to detox from drugs, such as heroin, painkillers or other opioids, should attend a treatment facility that medically monitors their progress. This phase is often very difficult and painful but when done with experienced proffesionals it can be done successfully.

• The deeply engaging environment of inpatient care provides you with a daily routine. This routine gives patients time that can be used for counseling, therapy and help them learn more about coping with addiction without any distractions.

• Anyone with any two diagnosis such as addiction combined with anxiety, should pick an inpatient treatment center that provides psychotherapeutic programs.

• In any residential care with individuals who haven’t been successful in conservative treatments might be able to deal with their issues better through an inpatient rehabilitation program.

The biggest and most noticable difference in outpatient treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is not having absence in a completely secure environment. Guests will return home after daily therapy sessions.
Qualified treatment programs will offer individual strategies for their outpatient guests, as well as individual and family counseling that provides attention to a person that can work through any underlying disease. Patients will work on skills that help them cope with triggers that set off their disease. Staying sober has its ups and downs. Some patients attending this type of program find it useful. Having a supportive family also plays a huge role.

Reasons why outpatient treatment may be the right choice

• May be a better choice for those that have mild or moderate symptoms of addiction

• Won’t be away from family or work responsibilities for a long period of time

• The prompt introduction to support communities such as SMART Recovery, Twelve Step Facilitation Therapy or Alcoholics Anonymous

• Outpatient services are needed for aftercare maintenance and relapse prevention, while inpatient treatment has already been completed.

The number one thing to think about before picking inpatient or outpatient rehab is being true to yourself and thinking of which one will be more effective for your needs and your situation. A thorough evaluation should be made first. Consultations with addictions counselors, psychologists and family members are always a good idea while deciding which approach to take.
What are inpatient addiction treatment centers?

During your stay at an inpatient treatment center you live with other people who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction as well, while getting the help you need in recovering from your addiction. These treatment programs last a minimum of 28 days. Guests will enter a facility that is safe and secure and will focus on intensive alcohol and drug treatments for the guest’s daily activities. Many guests that have attempted to go to outpatient treatment programs have found out that they are difficult to complete and have relapsed back into drugs and alcohol, finding that residential programs are more successful.

Patients, that are usually long time substance users, require detoxification services because this procedure can be unsafe and may need medical attention due to withdrawals. After detox (if necessary) guests will undergo an intensive regimen (drug or alcohol) depending on which one you are struggling with, that will teach you about the disease of addiction in a supportive and absorbing environment.

Around-the-clock Care


Residential drug and alcohol rehab centers provide 24/7 care from staff personnel and require that you live at the facility for a certain amount of time. They are safe and structured environments that relieve you from stressful circumstances that can be negative and urge you to use. Inpatient facilities that are located in hospitals offer 24 hour medical care from healthcare professionals, while inpatient facilities located outside of a hospital may offer intermittent care from medical personnel.

12-step and Non-12-step Support Groups

At an inpatient center, you’ll receive therapy on a daily basis and begin to work on building life skills that were once negative factors in an addicts’ everyday life. In countless cases, you will also be able to attend 12-step recovery support programs. These group meetings give you the peer support and recovery advice as you begin to work the steps with others that are in similar addiction situations. Alternative residential facilities use different non-12-step support groups.

Inpatient programs are ideal for guests that have unsuccessfully attempted to overcome addiction in outpatient programs. It is also successful for people that have identified that they have an issue and want to “do it the right way” the first time. Again as said before, the level of care determined by an in-person assessment with a qualified medical or counseling professional. If you have been unsuccessful in an outpatient program, you still have a chance in attending an inpatient program and being successful. Patients who haven’t attempted outpatient care may not require this high level of care.

Some patients worry about the intensity of inpatient programs. These programs are emotionally supportive and help to focus on the body and mind through treatment. For this reason, inpatient or residential facilities encourage families to participate in family education programs and weekend programs. Not only is family important, but it is also important to have a “therapeutic community” , which is a community of patients that support one another through treatment and encourage others to stay focused. From shared experience, this has proven to be an important factor in completing drug and alcohol treatment.

What are outpatient addiction treatment centers

Some people don’t enter treatment programs because they think that they can’t find a solution that will help, but others avoid care because they can’t imagine fitting a complete treatment program into their already busy lives.

People like this may:

• Have small children

• Care for elderly or sick parents

• Maintain a demanding job

• Volunteer in communities

The idea of leaving all of these responsibilities behind could hold some people back from inpatient programs, but outpatient care might be a promising solution. Here, people have access to treatment that can help them to understand their mental health issues, but they can continue to deal with their day-to-day duties. This could encourage them to enter treatment programs, where they might have avoided care in the past.

Both outpatient and inpatient treatment programs share a lot of similarities, but are structured differently. Outpatient programs give patients more freedom, which allows them to maintain a normal commitment to work, family and educational responsibilities. Being able to go home after a daily event, and have more privacy and seclusion. They also wont have to deal with being away from friends, coworkers, and family members.
Unlike residential treatment programs, guests will still be subjected to negative situations and temptations because they wont be in a secure and safe environment that will keep them from influencing factors. They must abstain from alcohol and or drug use, which requires a great amount of self-control and effort. However, the positive side of this, is that outpatient programs will provide a support network for patients in the form of official support groups, and family/individual counseling so that guests are never alone in their recovery. Guests are provided with a strong support network of drug free peers and sponsors. Outpatient drug and alcohol treatment requires that you go to NA or AA support groups. These groups will provide positive outcomes of social change in a guests’ life and assists in a long-term recovery.

Like inpatient programs, outpatient programs, focus on support from family and their involvement. On a positive note of outpatient treatment programs, you can apply lessons learned from the program to their daily experiences.

Which treatment is right for you?

You and your medical or counseling professional know what is best for which type of treatment suits your situation. Be honest with yourself about how committed and dedicated you are when choosing an outpatient program. If you are stressed or out with friends or acquaintances will you be tempted to use? If you don’t have much social support, will that reflect on completing the outpatient treatment successfully? Have you been unsuccessful stopping your drug or alcohol use by yourself or in an outpatient treatment and have tried again and again? Are you physically addicted to drugs or alcohol and think you need a medical detox prior to treatment services? How long have you been addicted to these substances? Before you enter or think about entering into a rehab, think about your personal circumstances and think about all these questions and again, be honest. Residential and outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs both have life-changing benefits, and completely understanding which program best suits you will play a big role in how you do after treatment.

As a result, long-term inpatient stays can be even more effective and successful. Studies have shown that a three-month stay in a rehab facility reduces the risk of relapse by 73%. If you’ve tried rehab before, you might be tired of trying over and over. By choosing a long-term program, you can make your rehab stay and progress that much more successful. Imagine getting away from everything for three pleasant months. Think of it like a little vacation from your problems! With of caring and supportive staff, you can focus on the number one thing that matters, your recovery.


  1. Thank you for all this great information about choosing treatment! One thing that I really like is that outpatient is actually good for older patients. It would be nice to know that you will be able to get special care in the end.

  2. I agree, there are compelling reasons for choosing either impatient or outpatient therapy, so it really depends on your lifestyle. As is pointed out, if you have small kids or are taking care of sick parents than outpatient might be better. After all, that will allow you to get the help you need while still keeping up with your other responsibilities.

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