Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Drug And Alcohol Treatment Programs

Inpatient drug rehab programs offer more extensive options and intensive levels of care than outpatient programs, making them better options for moderate and severe addictions.

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InpatientDrugRehab.org Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Drug And Alcohol Treatment Programs

When seeking treatment, a person generally has two options, either inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Outpatient programs allow a person to seek treatment part-time, traveling to treatment a set number of times per week, while returning home in between sessions. Inpatient programs are far more intensive, highly structured, and require that a person lives on site, hence the term residential treatment programs. Both have a valuable role in the treatment of drug and alcohol addictions.

Outpatient programs are typically not recommended as the primary rehabilitation services for a drug or alcohol addiction. Instead, these treatments have a more pertinent role as step-down programs, bridging the transition between inpatient care and a return to daily life.

Inpatient drug rehab programs offer intensive and comprehensive services for the treatment of drug and alcohol addictions, especially cases which are moderate to severe. A good inpatient program offers an evidence-based continuum of care which includes a medically-supervised detoxification program, rehabilitation, and aftercare.

Understanding the role of each program, in addition to their pros and cons, can help a person to make an informed decision when seeking treatment.

Inpatient Programs Provide More Stability And Protection

At first glance, many people are quick to assume that the flexibility and freedom of outpatient programs make them the preferable option. While some individuals with family, school, or work responsibilities may not be able to leave home for the duration of an inpatient program, it’s often this very freedom which makes outpatient programs detrimental to a person’s recovery.

The first few days, weeks, and months of recovery are exceedingly difficult. Drug rehabilitation programs can, at times, be exhausting, intimidating, and overwhelming. Drug abuse can deplete a person’s mental and emotional strength, making it difficult to handle these feelings in a healthy and productive way.

InpatientDrugRehab.org Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Drug And Alcohol Treatment Programs Deplete A Person's Mental

An outpatient program can give some people an out. If the program becomes too tough or the cravings too great, an individual may take advantage of the freedom and choose to leave the program. Others may fail to keep their appointments, effectively disrupting any progress treatment has made.

Further, as a person is able to return to their home and community, they may be exposed to harmful cues or trigger for drug abuse. Some individuals may return to drug-abusing peers or go so far as to purchase and use drugs.

An inpatient program, on the other hand, works to protect and insulate a person from these risks. The residential format strives to build a therapeutic community whose mission is to enhance a person’s sobriety goals and provide support in times of weakness.

Quite often a person will travel to seek inpatient treatment, a factor which provides even more protection. When a person is removed from their community they are far less apt to leave the program. This also makes it harder for individuals who are negative influences or reminders of a drug-abusing life to visit them.

Inpatient Programs Provide Better Access To Quality Treatments

Quitting a drug is only the first step to sobriety and freedom from addiction. Drug abuse affects a person far beyond just the physical. As a person moves into an addicted lifestyle, and as they continue to live one, their mental, emotional, and spiritual states can become deeply changed.

The best inpatient programs recognize these effects and deliver personalized treatment services accordingly. An effective treatment program should prepare a person to productively function sober within society, their family, and in the workforce.

Social, legal, vocational, and medical issues should be all be addressed in a comprehensive treatment program. Some individuals may require parenting instruction and/or support in building healthier relationships. These issues and services may be difficult to integrate into an outpatient program for lack of time and involvement with the facility’s staff.

Without this focus, the dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors which fuel addiction can continue to erode at a person’s recovery. The longer treatments and residential setting give a person a better environment to develop and practice recovery skills in. A successful recovery thrives on a solid set of coping, interpersonal, stress-reduction, and relapse-prevention skills.

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Inpatient Facilities Offer More Diverse Programs And Treatments

Not only is the quality of care offered at an inpatient center often better, but so is the diversity of treatments and programs. A growing number of treatment facilities are offering exciting and engaging treatment methods which strengthen a person’s sense of self while building important recovery principles. These include wilderness and adventure, equine, pet, and art therapies, among others.

Beyond this, inpatient programs are far more likely to offer specialty programs which cater to a person’s unique needs or lifestyle. Individuals with a demanding career can seek treatment in a professional or executive program. Others may prefer to seek treatment at a luxury treatment center whose treatments are more high-end, offering services like spa treatments and high-scale amenities.

Some people feel more comfortable seeking treatment at a facility which provides treatment to a single gender, such as a men’s-only or women’s-only treatment program. Other facilities offer LGBTQIA-friendly programs.

Individuals wishing to pursue alternative forms of treatment may find a holistic treatment program a good option. These programs offer complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), like acupuncture, yoga, massage, and naturopathic medicine.

Comparing Outpatient And Inpatient Detoxification Programs

For many individuals, recovery starts with detoxifying from the addictive substance. This is common with addictions to drugs which form strong chemical dependencies, including alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids, such as heroin and prescription painkillers.

Detoxifying is a mentally and physically strenuous process. Cravings and the temptation to use can run high during this time. Should a person seek outpatient detoxification services, these feelings may be fresh in their mind, prompting them to skip appointments, decline further treatment, or to give up when things get tough.

Further, the risk of relapse could increase for individuals enrolled in an outpatient detox program. In being able to return home every day, a person has greater access to alcohol and other drugs which could compromise their recovery.

Certain forms of withdrawal, like alcohol and benzodiazepine, can progress to serious extremes which require intensive and skilled medical treatments. Withdrawal from both of these substances can cause seizures and delirium tremens, potentially fatal complications. Individuals facing these circumstances or any other medical conditions are better served and protected in a medically-supervised inpatient detoxification program.

InpatientDrugRehab.org Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Drug And Alcohol Treatment Programs Intensive And Skilled Medical Treatments

Some individuals may plan on seeking outpatient rehabilitation services after outpatient detoxification. The opportunity to experience day-to-day life after detoxing may tempt them into thinking that no longer need this care. Choosing an inpatient program which offers both these services under one roof offers a more seamless transition through this time. It also makes it far less tempting to drop out of treatment.

Detoxification is only one part of treatment. Individuals declining to enroll in a rehabilitation program have decreased odds of long-term recovery. In an inpatient program, as a person’s body has cleansed and stabilized, they will be moved directly to rehabilitation, so that they can begin focusing on the psychological addiction.

Inpatient Programs Provide More In-Depth Dual Diagnosis Treatment

It’s estimated that roughly 50 percent of adult Americans have a co-occurring disorder, while 60 to 75 percent of adolescents struggle with these conditions. Also called a dual diagnosis, a co-occurring disorder describes a situation where both a mental health and substance use disorder are present.

These conditions are treatable, however, an individual facing both requires more intensive care than is necessary for the treatment of either condition alone. Seeking treatment for only one disorder will limit the amount of recovery an individual experiences. Undergoing treatment in an outpatient program may also make recovery less productive.

Treatment entails a rigorous combination of therapy, counseling, and quite frequently, medicine. For maximum healing, a person needs frequent, in-depth sessions with highly-trained clinicians. Outpatient programs aren’t always formatted to support this need. Inpatient programs, on the other hand, give a person more time to commit to healing, both physically and mentally.

Considering The Cost Of Treatment

Outpatient programs are generally less expensive than inpatient programs. But if outpatient treatment doesn’t produce a stable recovery, continued drug use could be more expensive in the long run than the initial cost of an inpatient program.

Even beyond the cost of the drug, an addictive lifestyle is very expensive, both in the immediate sense and in the long term. Prolonged and chronic drug abuse can consume money which should be spent on bills; it can cause job difficulties, including loss of a job; and create illness and disease. The cumulative effects of these things carry a hefty price tag, both from a monetary value and in terms of a reduced quality of life.

Inpatient treatment, though expensive, is an investment. The best treatment outcomes have been shown to occur in 90 days, at a minimum. If a person chooses an outpatient program and fails to obtain sobriety, they may have to enroll in another treatment program. This could ultimately cost more than had they picked an inpatient program in the first place.

Find The Best Program For Your Needs

Though it’s critical to get a person into treatment as soon as possible, it’s also important to be mindful of a person’s needs, while taking time to find a program which can fully address them.

Inpatient treatment is a significant commitment. Our staff can help you to examine your options and build the best treatment plan for your circumstances. We can also provide a person’s family with resources so they best know how to support their loved one both during and after treatment.

Contact us today to learn more about how inpatient drug rehab can help your loved one.

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Sources

National Alliance on Mental Illness — Mental Health By The Numbers
youth.gov — Co-occurring Disorders

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