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Inpatient vs Outpatient: What’s the Difference?

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Inpatient vs Outpatient: What’s the Difference?

A counselor meets with a man to discuss inpatient vs outpatientWhen deciding on drug rehab therapy, deciding inpatient vs outpatient can be a difficult decision. What’s the difference? Is one better than the other? Both types of rehab exist because they suit different needs.

In the same way that everyone’s struggle with substance addiction is different, everyone’s approach to choosing addiction treatment programs is, too.

Benefits and Downsides of Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab, also referred to as residential treatment, is where a person checks into a professional facility that maintains a controlled environment for the person to begin his or her recovery. The program often lasts between 30 and 90 days. During that time, the client will remain at the facility receiving treatment.

Inpatient rehab is a very effective treatment method because it removes the client from his or her usual environment so that he or she be exposed to usual stressors and dangers. Inpatient rehab also has other benefit including:

  • Ability to connect with other clients and build a network of support
  • A controlled environment with no risk of exposure to substances
  • A relaxing atmosphere away from everyday stress
  • Constant supervision and medical monitoring
  • A safe space for clients to develop and practice lifestyle skills

While inpatient treatment is extremely safe and effective, it isn’t always an option for everyone. Inpatient treatment requires the user to drop everything in his or her life and go away for treatment. Many people have families, jobs, and other obligations that may not allow them to check into an inpatient program. For people in those circumstances, outpatient may be the better option.

Benefits and Downsides of Outpatient Rehab

In the inpatient vs outpatient comparison, outpatient is the less intense option. Unlike inpatient rehab where the user moves into a facility for a few weeks, the goal of outpatient is to weave it into your everyday routine. Clients live in their own homes and devote a few hours a week to visiting their local treatment center and participating in treatment.

Outpatient is a great option for people with many obligations, a mild addiction problem, or for those who have just completed an inpatient program and want continued care outside of the facility. Outpatient has other benefits such as:

  • Individual care with options for group counseling
  • Treatment that fits into your daily schedule
  • Continued care while readjusting to everyday life
  • Less restriction and more independence

Of course, outpatient care comes with its own set of downfalls and risks the same way inpatient does. Medical professionals generally don’t recommend outpatient rehab for those with severe substance use problems since the clients aren’t receiving constant medical attention. Being in the real world allows them to be re-exposed to the substance.

Inpatient Vs Outpatient

Any step towards recovery is a step towards a healthy and sober life. Treatment looks different for everyone and everyone has different needs. In addition to inpatient vs outpatient care, there are also specialized programs based on gender, age, etc. such as a men’s rehab program. Ultimately the difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab is how your addiction severity will determine which program is best for you. Whether you program uses the 12 step addiction recovery philosophy or an alternative approach, prioritizing your personalized care should be your main concern.

There is life after addiction once you enroll in a professional rehab program. At Red Oak Recovery®, we have an option that will fit your life. Contact us at 866-457-7590 to begin on your road to recovery.