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Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab: What’s the Difference?

When someone has decided to seek help for their addiction, they have two general options: inpatient residential treatment programs or outpatient substance abuse treatment. Both types of treatment options can be beneficial in specific situations. It is important to understand the differences between the two to decide whether an inpatient program or outpatient program best suits your immediate needs.

Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Program

As the name implies, inpatient treatment programs are where you will stay at a rehab facility for the duration of the program. There are some key advantages to inpatient treatment programs, including:

  • Detox is medically supervised.
  • Access to medical staff 24/7.
  • Access to support staff 24/7.
  • The environment is structured to help eliminate day-to-day distractions and help re-teach healthy living habits.
  • The patient can focus entirely on their addiction.
  • There is no peer pressure to drink or use drugs.
  • Visitation is limited to when the patient is better equipped to see family and friends.
  • Treatment programs can range from 30 days to several months, depending on the extent of the addiction.
  • Well-suited for those that are seriously addicted and have surpassed dependence.

Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Program

With an outpatient treatment program, the patient will go through rehab while continuing to live at home. Detox is also necessary and medically supervised. Detox is an inpatient treatment and cannot be done as an outpatient treatment.

Once detox is completed, which can range from about a week to several weeks, depending on the extent of addiction, then the patient can continue their treatment as an outpatient program. Some of the benefits of an outpatient program include:

  • The patient can continue to work and they keep normal daily routines.
  • The patient can be at home to take care of their children.
  • Access to support groups.
  • Access to support staff 24/7.
  • Well-suited for people who are just developing an addiction.

However, there are some drawbacks to outpatient substance abuse treatment programs, such as:

  • The patient will have to address outside distractions like peer pressure from friends who encourage drinking and using drugs.
  • The patient could relapse more easily.
  • The patient will have to set aside time every day to attend group meetings, individual sessions, and so on.
  • The patient will have to commute to the treatment facility.
  • The patient will have to face the stresses of day-to-day life head-on while learning coping mechanisms and identifying triggers.

Which Type of Substance Abuse Treatment Is Better?

man talking to his support group about his successful fight with drug addiction

When comparing inpatient vs. outpatient rehab, one treatment program is not necessarily better than the other. It really comes down to your individual needs and ability to adjust to living a clean and sober lifestyle.

However, there are some key indicators you should weigh, as follows:

  • Do you find it hard to want to go to meetings and treatment sessions and tend to make excuses to not go?
  • Do you find you are constantly struggling with the desire to drink or use drugs?
  • Do you have multiple addictions or co-occurring problems? Co-occurring problems are those where your addiction was fueled by some other factor, such as a traumatic experience, PTSD, and so on.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then an inpatient program would be the better choice to start your journey to sober living.

For further information about residential inpatient substance abuse treatment programs, questions, or advice, please feel free to contact Adelante Recovery Center at (949) 427-9099 today! We have treatment facilities in Orange County, CA, and we help people across the United States on the path to recovery.