Differences between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

While struggling with a substance use disorder, you will have to make a choice about the type of addiction treatment that can help you overcome it. Today, the choice lies between inpatient and outpatient drug rehab. Each of these programs comes with its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks, as you will see below:

Understanding Inpatient Treatment

While trying to overcome your substance use disorder, you will often find that inpatient addiction treatment is the right solution for you. This is because it offers a higher level of care in controlled settings. As a result, it might allow you to achieve full recovery faster and more effectively than an outpatient treatment program would.

One of the defining characteristics of inpatient recovery is that you will be required to live at the treatment center over the entire course of your rehabilitation. Most of these programs will last anywhere between 30 and 90 days. However, some of them might last longer. The duration of treatment will largely depend on your particular needs, preferences, and requirements.

Once you start going through recovery, the inpatient drug rehab will offer medically managed detoxification services before they continue with the rest of your treatment for addiction.

In some cases, however, you can receive these services before you enroll in an inpatient addiction treatment program. For instance, you could choose a standalone drug detox program before you check into your preferred residential treatment center.

Many residential and inpatient programs, however, will incorporate detox into their programming. Irrespective of the type of setting you undertake detox in, most often than not you will find that you have to take medications. These drugs can help you overcome your substance cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This is particularly important if you have a severe substance use disorder, co-occurring mental health and medical disorders, and co-occurring addictions.

After the detox stage has been deemed to be successful, the inpatient program will offer other addiction recovery services. You might, for instance, receive ongoing therapy and counseling both on an individual and in group settings.

Over the course of your treatment, you will also be provided with many other services to ease your ability to overcome your addiction. These services include aftercare planning, vocational training, addiction education, and referrals to other treatment and recovery programs.

Benefits of Inpatient Drug Rehab

There is no single type of rehabilitation program that can apply universally to everyone struggling with a substance use disorder. While thinking about inpatient treatment, you should also consider the various benefits that it can provide you, such as:

  • A sober and stable environment.
  • Ability to choose luxury treatment facilities that can provide you with upscale accommodations, meals, and amenities where necessary.
  • Intensive individual and group therapy sessions
  • Psychiatric and medical monitoring especially during your recovery and withdrawal stage
  • Reduced exposure to various triggers and stressors that could lead to your relapse
  • Reduced risk of substance use relapse because the environment is free of drugs and alcohol, and there is vigilant supervision
  • Research shows that inpatient treatment comes with a higher likelihood of allowing you to achieve success in your recovery, especially if you receive long term and/or intensive treatment
  • Round the clock support from the staff members to allow you to achieve and maintain your sobriety in the long term
  • Specialized recovery services, including animal-assisted therapy, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and exercise, among others - but this will depend on the type of residential program you choose
  • Treatment for co-occurring mental health and medical disorders

Drawbacks of Inpatient Drug Rehab

On the other hand, you might also want to think about the following potential and actual drawbacks of inpatient drug rehab before you enroll in such a program:

  • Limited access to the external environment means that you might not be able to receive social support from your family, friends, and other people you love
  • -These programs come with higher costs because you will receive room and board during your treatment
  • You would have to take time away from your responsibilities at home, work, and school to be able to participate in an inpatient treatment program

Understanding Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is different from most inpatient and residential programs in the sense that you will be allow to continue living outside the treatment facility when you are not receiving any rehabilitation services. You could, for instance, continue staying at home or checking into sober living and transitional living facilities.

This means that you will still be able to continue meeting your responsibilities at work, home, and school. The treatment modalities provided will also allow you to keep up with your other personal responsibilities.

Outpatient drug rehab is recommended if you have already been through an inpatient treatment program or you are not suffering from a severe or co-occurring substance use disorder.

During your treatment in such a program, you will be required to check into the facility for several hours every week. During this time, you will participate in individual and group therapy sessions.

Where required, the outpatient treatment program might also ask that you meet with psychiatrists and doctors so that they can prescribe and administer certain medications. However, this only happens when you are struggling with withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings either at the start of your treatment program or if you relapse midway through your recovery.

The treatment offered in these facilities would also be similar to what you would typically find in an inpatient or residential treatment program. However, it will be less intensive and allow you to enjoy more freedom and flexibility in your flexibility and comings and goings.

Often, outpatient treatment programs will use different forms of therapy, including but not limited to:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Contingency management
  • Matrix Model
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Multidimensional family therapy

Benefits of Outpatient Drug Rehab

There are many pros that you stand to gain when you choose outpatient treatment. These benefits include but are not always limited to the following:

  • Outpatient rehab programs will allow you to start and continue practicing the relapse prevention techniques and skills that you are learning during your treatment process
  • Reduced cost of treatment because you won't be required to pay for your room and board
  • You can enjoy ongoing access to your support system, comprised of family, friends, and other loved ones
  • You will still be able to attend to your responsibilities at home, work, and school even as you continue receiving the care you need to overcome your substance use disorder

Drawbacks of Outpatient Drug Rehab

On the other hand, you might not always benefit from this form of treatment. Consider the following cons that come with choosing outpatient recovery:

  • Based on your preferred substance of abuse, outpatient treatment might not always help you manage the adverse withdrawal symptoms that arise when you give it up - and some of these symptoms might prove to be life-threatening
  • Picking an outpatient treatment program means that you can still access intoxicating and mind altering substances when you are out of the recovery facility
  • There is a high risk of relapse especially if your day to day environment is stressful, unstable, or filled with drugs and alcohol (or people who use them)
  • You won't be able to access the round the clock care that you may need in your recovery journey

Cost Difference between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

As we mentioned earlier, inpatient addiction treatment will often cost you more than outpatient treatment. This is because the program will have to accommodate you and provide you with meals and other essential daily services over the course of your recovery.

Outpatient rehabilitation programs, on the other hand, will allow you to continue living at home. This could potentially reduce the total cost of your addiction treatment and recovery in the long term.

Consider the following costs of both of these types of addiction treatment services:

a) Inpatient Drug Rehab

  • 30 Day Inpatient Treatment: From $400 to $900 for a day of treatment ($14,000 $27,000 in total)
  • 60-Day Inpatient Treatment: From $300 to $800 for a day of treatment ($24,000 $45,000 in total)
  • 90-Day Inpatient Treatment: From $200 to $700 for a day of treatment ($33,000 $58,000 in total)

b) Outpatient Drug Rehab

If you choose an intensive outpatient treatment program, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 for every treatment session. However, it is also possible to get treatment free of charge from some outpatient drug rehab programs, such as those run by state and local governments and other not for profit organizations.

Irrespective of the cost of treatment, it is important to remember that there are different ways to pay for your ongoing recovery services. For instance, you can use your insurance, personal savings and funds, financing plans, sliding scale fee payments, and more.

Choosing Addiction Treatment

Whether you are going to benefit from inpatient or outpatient treatment will depend on many factors. To this end, it is recommended that you undergo thorough assessment so that you can be able to determine the best type of recovery services for your particular situation. Through this assessment, you will learn more about your substance use disorder and any other co-occurring mental health disorders. After that, you can use this information to decide whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is right for you.





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