Honor the power of your voice and begin your journey with us today!
Honor the power of your voice and begin your journey with us today!

Inpatient vs. Outpatient

Many people struggle to determine the exact differences between inpatient vs. outpatient. During addiction treatment, the multiple types of treatment programs, levels of care, and therapeutic offerings can be overwhelming.

Inpatient and outpatient programs in addiction treatment and recovery services as two different means of support for individuals in various stages in their recovery journey. Both of these programs offer medical supervision and therapeutic services to help people recover from addiction. Regardless of the program type each person chooses, both inpatient and outpatient options can provide beneficial tools that can help them find recovery success.

Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment Programs

Depending on the level of care you need, you have several different options when choosing a treatment program for substance abuse. The levels of care in addiction treatment include:

It is important to note that some rehab centers may be limited in their options for a continuum of care. On the other hand, some treatment programs offer additional resources such as sober living arrangements to assist those working through early recovery.

The two main programs inpatient and outpatient consist of levels of care that vary in treatment regimens and rules. For instance, medically-assisted detox and residential inpatient are considered inpatient programs. On the other hand, intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment are considered outpatient programs. Partial hospitalization is a transitionary program typically provided to guests who have completed inpatient care but still require a higher level of care than outpatient.

The two inpatient programs—detox and residential inpatient—offer the highest level of care found in addiction treatment. Alternatively, outpatient is the lowest level of care in an addiction treatment program.

How Do I Choose Between
Inpatient and Outpatient?

Before entering addiction treatment, it is important to research the various treatment options at the qualifying rehab locations. Often, people starting the search for treatment have a difficult time deciding between residential inpatient and outpatient treatment. It is incredibly important to be completely honest about your situation when weighing the pros and cons of inpatient vs. outpatient.

In order to truly know if inpatient or outpatient treatment will be right for you, ask yourself the following questions:

Are you participating in addictive behaviors?

  • Misusing medications
  • Using large amounts of drugs
  • Taking drugs on a nearly continuous basis
  • Using intravenous drugs
  • Drinking everyday
  • Binge drinking
  • Bartering with substance abuse (“I’ll only drink on the weekends”)
  • Hiding substance abuse

Is your substance abuse harming your quality of life?

  • High risk of an overdose
  • Incapable of taking care of responsibilities
  • Unable to interact with other people
  • Scolded at work or let go from job
  • Unsuccessful in other treatment programs
  • Severe psychiatric conditions worsened by substance abuse
  • Medical complications or diseases resulting from substance abuse

Have you lost your outside support systems?

  • Job
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Housing
  • Daily routine

Are you experiencing drug or alcohol withdrawal symptoms?

  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Excessive anxiety
  • Irregular heartbeats

Why Inpatient?

Inpatient addiction treatment programs offer an intensive in-facility level of care. As a result, the medical and therapeutic offerings during inpatient treatment are often more effective in making sure you safely detox. You will also receive non-stop care during the most difficult few weeks of early recovery. As opposed to an outpatient program, inpatient addiction treatment allows you to stay in a supportive, secure setting for 30 days or more in order to focus solely on the healing process and rebuilding your life in a healthy way.

Similarly, inpatient programs are beneficial to people who are in the early stages of sobriety and still struggling to stay sober. They provide 24-hour support in a safe, supervised environment, providing structure and stability in the initial conversations of the healing process. In doing so, these programs take you out of the environment that has become associated with your addictive habits. It also removes the pressures of life that could distract you from concentrating on recovery. At the same time, inpatient treatment places you in an environment tailored to encourage recovery.

Inpatient services that can benefit your recovery include:

  • Medical detox services
  • Monitoring and support 24/7
  • Removal from distractions
  • Psychoeducation courses
  • Weekly individual therapy
  • Daily group therapy
  • Support groups
  • Skill-building activities
  • Relapse prevention planning
  • Several weekly drug tests
  • Stay in facility

Your team of professionals in inpatient treatment will assess your medical history, substance abuse history, and mental health history to create an individualized recovery plan. Through evaluations and assessments, they will provide guidance and counseling tailored to your unique needs. Inpatient addiction treatment programs strive to provide not only abstinence from substances but also long-term success in living a sober lifestyle.

Why Outpatient?

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your addiction, outpatient treatment may be appropriate. For instance, you may feel more secure if you can remain at your job during treatment. Also, you might gain comfort and support from seeing your family in the evenings after group therapy. Similarly, the cost of care is another factor in favor of outpatient treatment.

Outpatient treatment is typically beneficial for you if you have a less severe addiction. For this reason, outpatient programs are able to help you manage your addiction recovery from home or a sober living facility. Usually, outpatient treatment works best when it’s integrated into a full continuum of care that starts with inpatient.

Similarly, outpatient programs are beneficial to those who have established solid coping skills, higher levels of self-awareness, and a support system in place. Typically, people who have a strong foundation in sobriety due to having access to reliable recovery resources and support systems will thrive in OP. With that being said, outpatient treatment is far less strict than inpatient levels of care, so it’s important to know that you are capable of handling life’s responsibilities before entering. 

Outpatient services that can benefit your recovery include:

  • Adjustable counseling sessions
  • Skill-building activities
  • Work accommodations
  • Flexible therapy schedules
  • Timeslots for support groups
  • Relapse prevention planning
  • Sober housing
  • Medication management
  • Drug testing
  • Curfews

As an important component in long-term recovery, these programs provide continuous support, accountability measures, and continued integration within the sober community in order to prevent relapse.

Outpatient programs offer therapeutically oriented services on a less intensive treatment level than inpatient programs, typically requiring around 10 or fewer hours per week. Through regular meetings, you will maintain healthy routines in your lives while still being able to manage your own finances, family relationships, and responsibilities outside of rehab.

What Services Are In Inpatient and Outpatient?

Your individual experiences and situation regarding addiction will determine whether inpatient or outpatient treatment will be more beneficial for your recovery. You may have already processed most of the underlying factors that once contributed to addictive behaviors and feel more secure staying at home while you go through structured outpatient treatment. Alternatively, you may understand the severity of your addiction and know that you need the highest level of care.

Wherever you are in the recovery process, it is important that your treatment provider includes the necessary treatment services and resources to help you heal from addiction.

Both residential and outpatient treatment center prospects should include:

  • Crisis intervention
  • Psychological testing
  • Medical care 
  • Psychiatric care
  • Social evaluation
  • Licensed therapists
  • Certified substance abuse counselors
  • Self-help orientation
  • Drug and alcohol screening
  • Continuing care plans

Whether you enter inpatient or outpatient, a vital component of addiction treatment is the integration of medications, counseling, and support. The most important part of recovery is having access to the experience and guidance of trained professionals who will work with you in treatment. Having a team of compassionate people who really understand what you have been through and are going through makes all the difference.

These medical professionals will genuinely empathize with your situation. That way all of your medical and clinical sessions can focus on person-centered clinical care. In doing so, you can find authentic recovery.

Joining Royal Life Centers Treatment Programs

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, inpatient and outpatient treatment programs in addiction recovery can be lifesaving. Royal Life Centers’ full continuum of care offers each guest the opportunity to participate in every level of care within our addiction treatment programs. To find out more about entering treatment, please reach out to our admissions department for guidance and support, at (877)-RECOVERY.

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