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Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehabilitation Programs

Alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs are generally divided into two broad categories: inpatient and outpatient. Both the treatment programs specialize in treating addiction in an individual through its own unique approach to recovery. Though advising a course of treatment depends on the practitioner’s advice based on the condition of the patient, a comparison between inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs is necessary to understand which one suits you or your loved one more.

Both the programs have their own benefits and even potential drawbacks. Therefore, it is important to consider all the factors involved so that you or your loved one can get the best treatment to overcome alcohol and drug addiction, and accept sobriety as a lifestyle choice. If you need assistance in making a choice between inpatient or outpatient program, you can contact us at 866-593-2339 and our specialists can help you find a recovery program that suits you the best.

Many people who get dependent on a substance find it extremely difficult to get rid of it on their own. They might need professional help in aiding their course of recovery. If you have decided to seek medical help, we can assist you in finding the most suitable treatment program. But it is better if you understand the differences between inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.

Inpatient treatment vs. outpatient treatment

inpatient-treatmentTrying to identify the right treatment program – be it for alcoholism, drug addiction, or behavioral addiction issues – can be difficult as it is not the same for everyone. The type of treatment generally depends on the severity of addiction, its impact on mental and physical health of an individual, his needs during the recovery process, the type of drug he is addicted to and any other underlying illness.

An inpatient treatment requires a person to stay in the facility to avail the services of an effective program. It offers intensive round-the-clock care by specialists and is helpful for people suffering from chronic addiction.

An outpatient treatment, on the other hand, offers alcohol and drug treatment programs in a differently structured environment, with more freedom of movement. An individual can get the daily dose of treatment in a facility and can return home or can incur the daily chores of personal and professional obligations.

Determining what treatment is best for you will depend on certain criteria that can help you in choosing the workable recovery options affecting your life positively. Let us discuss inpatient and outpatient treatment options in detail below.

Inpatient Treatment


Inpatient treatment involves intensive residential programs that are designed to treat serious addictions. The patients are in a controlled setting with round-the-clock care that helps to focus solely on recovering from addiction. The main characteristic of such a program is that the patient has to check in to the facility and live there for the entire length of the program, duration of which can vary depending on the severity of addiction.

Some of the benefits of inpatient treatment are:

  • 24-hour supervision by a team of specialists – no patient is ever alone during the recovery process.
  • It ensures best possible care in a controlled setting with no access to alcohol or drugs, thus preventing the chances of relapse.
  • The residential setting enhances the recovery focus as more time is given to the group and individual counseling sessions, other natural therapies and treatment procedures.
  • Residential programs are greatly beneficial for overcoming the lethal withdrawal symptoms as medical personnel constantly monitor and treat any physical problems that may arise during this period.
  • A patient lives with other fellow members who are also recovering from the addiction. Living in such proximity increases camaraderie among the members, and shared experiences and empathy strengthen the motivation to recover.
  • One is devoid of all outside distractions that can hamper the treatment process.
  • This program is quite supportive emotionally and focuses on helping the whole body and mind through treatment.

With the pros of inpatient treatment, there are also certain difficulties that are a part of this treatment. Due to its intensive nature, people are not free to move around as they wish and are devoid of any experiences of the outside world. Often, one has to keep away from personal and professional obligations because, during the course of residential treatment, one cannot attend office or household chores in person. There is a very strict discipline of maintaining a routine and people enrolled in this treatment need to follow it religiously. However, these cannot be termed as drawbacks, as such initiatives have to be undertaken to make a person recover from the clutches of addiction.

Inpatient treatment programs often require a person for a fixed period of time that can vary between 30 and 90 days. However, there are also long-term treatment programs that can even last for six months to a year. Such programs ensure a complete cure from the problem by allowing enough time to a person struggling with addiction to address any other underlying issues. They provide the required life skills that a person needs in order to be capable of adjusting back to their old lives by being addiction-free. If you need more information on inpatient rehab centers, please call us at 866-593-2339.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment programs require the patients to visit the facility regularly, but also give them the liberty to return to home. The patients are required to meet their addiction specialists at the treatment centers every day or on designated days without fail during the course of recovery process for medication and psychotherapy sessions.


Since outpatient programs provide more freedom of movement, the patients are not liable to explain the prolonged absence at work or in school. As in the inpatient treatment, the length of the treatment will again depend on the severity of the addiction.

Some of the advantages of outpatient treatment are:

  • Outpatient programs usually cost less than inpatient treatments because the patients are not staying in the facility. It is an affordable treatment option and generally covered by insurance.
  • Outpatient programs offer the liberty to be at work or in school while undergoing the required treatment procedures.
  • A patient can also stay at home during the non-treatment hours and get all the required support from friends and family.
  • Timings are flexible and counseling sessions can also be held in the evenings or during the weekends.
  • Counseling sessions are often offered in the evenings and sometimes even on weekends.
  • Learn the necessary life skills to lead a sober living as a part of the recovery process and start applying them immediately.

Outpatient programs are generally not recommended for people who are under a chronic alcohol or drug addiction. Since the access to drugs and alcohol is not limited, a patient might be exposed to the substance of addiction. Moreover, daily life distractions can also decrease the focus on recovery. However, at the same time, living in the outside world with family and friends can also increase the motivation to recover, coupled with the regular therapies and sessions received during the course of treatment. In fact, staying outside, a patient is able to utilize all the skills learned to abstain from substances and lead a sober life. If you are interested in outpatient rehab centers, our representatives available online or via phone at 866-593-2339 can connect you to the best facilities offering certified outpatient programs.

How to Select The Best Treatment Option?

It is important to ponder over some questions before deciding to enroll in an inpatient/outpatient facility:

  • Will you be able to leave work, school, or family obligations for a longer period?
  • Are there any exposures of drugs or alcohol in your environment?
  • Are you surrounded by family and friends who drink alcohol or do drugs around you?
  • Do you have a strong support network that can help prevent you from relapsing?
  • Do you require any specialized treatment for any underlying mental illness or co-occurring disorders?
  • Will you be able to commute daily from your home to the treatment center?
  • Do you require privacy while undergoing treatment?
  • What are your financial limitations? Do you have insurance to cover the costs?

The answers to such questions should be helpful in making up your mind about the treatment option that suits you best. You can also consult your family and friends. If you are unable to decide and need assistance, our representatives at Recover Mental Health are willing to hear you out and assign the best treatment program suiting your needs. You can call at 866-593-2339 anytime.

Whether you choose an inpatient treatment or an outpatient treatment, consider some other factors as well. Always choose the program that has an edge of treating both your physical and psychological dependence and not any one alone. The best alcohol and drug treatment facility might offer 30, 40, 60, or 90-day programs, and sometimes even longer. While the duration of your stay for treatment might not be that long, it is always important to know the options available, in case you need it. Moreover, check for programs that can treat a relapse and provide a designated aftercare plan for additional support.

If you are still debating on which option to choose, seek our specialists’ help to select the best available treatment. Chat online or call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-593-2339. Remember, a decision can be a daunting task, especially when it involves the future course of your life. The best you can do is to approach it from as many perspectives as possible and then choose a course of action that seems reasonable and balanced.

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