What is the Difference Between Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

posted in Treatment, Our Services

To seek help for substance abuse, it means letting go of lots of things. Denial is hard to overcome. Whether inpatient or outpatient rehab is the best pathway forward, every type of program has advantages and disadvantages. Recovery is personal and it means choosing the right kind of treatment for addiction recovery. Outpatient and inpatient treatment offers different options. Find out what those are and how they can help someone in recovery.

Inpatient Rehab

Looking for the right addiction care can be challenging. There are many options to choose from, which makes it hard to know which is the best. Inpatient rehab for addiction is about different things, mostly the time spent in treatment. Residential treatment programs quite often go from 28 to 90 days. They address different needs and preferences but are typically more expensive because they provide lots more therapeutic and technical support. When a loved one seeks to do inpatient treatment, they are making a decision to give themselves time to heal from addiction. It is an intensive program, designed to help them navigate the journey of recovery while focusing on their physical and mental health. Inpatient rehab often starts with:

  • Detox (sometimes at a different location)
  • Medication to aid in withdrawal as needed
  • Counseling
  • Education about addiction
  • Recovery principles 
  • Therapeutic support and aftercare planning

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient treatment provides space for people in rehab to live at home. Outside of treatment, life may continue as usual. Those in recovery will attend group and individual therapy sessions several times a week. They may meet with a psychiatrist to adjust medication as needed for withdrawal. This also goes for cravings, too. Mental health issues are often addressed so they can get support. Treatment provided is similar to that provided in an inpatient treatment program.

Therapeutic support options with outpatient programs include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): this helps people become aware of patterns of thoughts and behavior while looking at healthier coping strategies
  • Motivational interviewing: identifies and modifies feelings that might be barriers to treatment
  • Multidimensional family therapy: helps families function better as a unit

Outpatient rehab is for people who want a lot of flexibility with their recovery program and want to attend therapy while working or being at home. There are more triggers and less supervision of the process with this method. It is not usually recommended if a person struggles with chronic relapse or has been using drugs for a long time. 

Benefits vs. Drawbacks

It helps to look at inpatient and outpatient rehab through the lens of benefits versus drawbacks. There are benefits to both and drawbacks, but it depends on the person, their needs, and other variables. Inpatient treatment provides a stable environment with constant monitoring of their progress. They are less likely to be triggered by outside influences because they are not at home. The intensity of treatment keeps them focused while offering a safe space to be vulnerable in a confined environment. The likelihood of relapse is still high for people in inpatient recovery programs. The risk of relapse does not go down because addiction is hard for everyone, to clear the mind and body of drugs and toxic substances being one of the most difficult things a person can do. Some drawbacks of inpatient are needing to be away from family and friends, taking time off work, cost of treatment, lack of insurance coverage for some, and limited access to opportunities outside of rehab for support. Outpatient program pros and cons are similar, but include:

  • Not paying the high cost of inpatient programs
  • Increased support access
  • Ability to practice in the real world being in recovery
  • Lack of care around the clock can be challenging for some
  • Triggers and relapse are more likely during the rehab phase because of being around outside influences
  • Management of detox, withdrawal, and rehab is more difficult 

Facing Adversity with Hope

The challenges of addiction come from facing the first rehab, then recovery. Nobody should feel they are alone. The key is to find support systems that will be healing and helpful for someone in recovery. A professional can provide feedback that helps make the best decision regarding treatment. When choosing inpatient or outpatient treatment programs, it matters that a program treats the whole person and gives them space to be vulnerable. They need to address all the issues mentally and physically to begin the journey of healing in recovery. Addiction rehab will last varying amounts of time, but the longer a person commits to treatment, the better. Outpatient is good for some people while inpatient may work well for others. It depends on the person, their circumstances, finances, and many other variables. A good outpatient program can help someone who is ready to be in recovery but no program is going to fully heal someone’s addiction. It is only going to help them find community and support for the journey with the tools and programs to support their needs. Every person has to decide if they are ready for rehab and work towards a healthy recovery with the help of loved ones. Knowing the options is important when considering how to support a loved one with recovery so they can find the healing they need.

Forge is a place to come and recover your life from addiction. We help you reimagine what is possible and create the life you’ve been dreaming of.

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