Substance use disorder is often treated in one of two ways, depending on the level of care the individual requires. The two primary methods are inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab. They are both equally focused on helping to rehabilitate the individual living with drug or alcohol addiction, but each one has specific benefits and drawbacks, as well as attributes and features that distinguish one from the other.
An inpatient program will generally be much more intensive than outpatient treatment programs. With an inpatient treatment program, the recovering individual will receive constant, intense, and focused treatment while maintaining a residence in the treatment facility or hospital for at least a month. Outpatient rehab allows the individual to continue living at home, as well as working or going to school but will require a part-time commitment to attending treatment at a facility or clinic.
What is Inpatient Rehab
Inpatient or residential rehab is a treatment method that has the individual living at the treatment facility or hospital for anywhere between 28 days and 6 months. They are a controlled environment designed to help individuals focus intensely on their health and recovery. They will often feature constant attention to the counseling and therapy needs of the individual and will have them learn various ways to cope with potential triggers and lead a healthier lifestyle going forward.
When individual checks themselves into an inpatient treatment program, they receive 24-hour support both medically, emotionally, and socially. Most facilities will allow the individual to continue to contact loved ones since family and other emotional support can be a vital factor in a successful recovery.
Benefits of Inpatient Rehab Programs
There are many benefits of participating in an inpatient treatment program, including:
- Having 24-hour medical safety
- Being in a clean, comfortable, and structured environment
- Isolation from common environmental triggers and distractions present outside daily life
- Being in constant contact with professional support personnel, as well as other individuals following the road to recovery
- Removing oneself from potential negative influences that may contribute to their substance use disorder
What is Outpatient Rehab
Outpatient rehab has several forms, the two most popular are partial hospitalization programs or PHPs, and intensive outpatient programs or IOPs. They are an option when the individual will not be facing a potentially medically significant detox and withdrawal process. PHPs are where the individual spends roughly half of each day at a facility or hospital receiving treatment, and IOPs involve the individual having meetings several days each week which help them reach their sobriety goals.
In both cases, the recovering individual will receive attention to their physical, mental, and emotional state during their meetings and appointments. They will continue to receive counseling and therapy in both one-on-one settings and in group settings, which help them to maintain recovery while minimizing the disruption to their daily lives. Outpatient programs are ideal for individuals which have a robust personal support network close to home. They are also used as a
“Step-down” method for a continuum of care for individuals that have completed inpatient treatment programs.
Benefits of Outpatient Treatment Programs
- Allow the individual to maintain a balance between home, work or school, and treatment
- They help the individual minimize the time they are exposed to distractions from treatment
- Individuals in outpatient rehab put their self-care and rehab at a high priority
- The cost is more manageable for those without insurance coverage
- The individual can remain in close contact with their personal daily support system
- Practical application of coping mechanisms can be practiced
- Counseling appointments can be held with members of their support network
How to Choose the Right Option
When trying to decide which treatment option may be right for you or a loved one, inpatient vs outpatient treatment, there are a few things to consider. Common factors that will influence the decision will be the severity of addiction, medical needs that may result from detox, cost & potential insurance coverage, employment or school requirements, and more.
For those with severe or long-term substance use disorders, the best treatment option will be inpatient rehab. This will be particularly true for those with alcohol abuse that has been very severe or incredibly long-term, or those who are living with opioid or benzodiazepine addictions. In these cases, there will be significant medical complexity to the detox process, and without proper 24-hour healthcare, assistance withdrawals can even be deadly.
Inpatient treatment is also a prime option for those that have had difficulty sticking with detox or recovery programs in the past. Since they are generally at least 1-3 months long, they give the individual a distraction-free environment in which to focus solely on their recovery and healing. Inpatient rehab allows the recovering individual to receive constant therapeutic attention, often attending one-on-one counseling sessions, group therapy, and other activities designed to build a strong foundation for recovery.
Individuals with mild to moderate cases of a substance use disorder, or those that have addictions that have only been in place a comparatively short time may be able to successfully complete outpatient rehab. While the individual will live at home during outpatient treatment, they will still generally spend at least 10 to 12 hours per week receiving treatment at a facility or clinic.
Outpatient rehab is a more viable option for those that will not be in medical danger during their detox stage, and are therefore able to manage it at home. Many people that leverage an outpatient program are only in detox for an average of a week before they move on to the maintenance stage of their recovery. During outpatient, the individual will still receive physical and mental health checkups, as well as be prescribed medications or have their medications adjusted.
Agape Can Help
If you or someone you care about is living with substance use disorder, it may be time to leverage the help of local recovery experts. Rely on our addiction professionals to help create personalized treatment plans from our treatment methods that provide the most benefits and addresses all of the individual’s needs.