Which Is Better Outpatient or Inpatient?

Choosing to receive addiction treatment is an important step towards reclaiming your health, your personal freedom, and your life. Although getting professional help consistently ranks among the most effective ways to deal with substance use disorder, it\’s important to find the right rehab program for your needs. Inpatient addiction treatment has the highest rates of success, particularly when people attend programs that last three months or more.

In inpatient treatment, you\’ll be completely removed from outside temptations and triggers. You\’ll spend the duration of your program on a closed, secure campus, and your sole focus will be getting well. For these and other reasons, inpatient rehab is often recommended for people who\’ve tried other rehab types before and have relapsed, and for those who are recovering from highly addictive substances. However, outpatient rehab is not without its merits.

In fact, certain outpatient programs have comparable success rates. This is all the more true when outpatient rehab is paired with other forms of support and followed by structured relapse prevention programs. Unlike inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment gives people the freedom to come and go as they please. Once they\’ve completed the required number of hours in treatment each week, patients can return home to spend time with their families, go to work, and attend school.

Thus, outpatient treatment might be the right choice for you if you\’ve got minor children that you\’re responsible for, cannot take an extended leave of absence from your job, or aren\’t ready to commit to a more restrictive program type.

How to Know Which Treatment Option Is Best for You

There\’s no such thing as getting too much treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. Although many addicts deal with the shame and guilt of being unable to muster enough strength to fight addiction on their own, substance use disorder is actually a chronic mental health issue. Rather than being cured, it must be successfully managed over the long-term.

Even though it\’s most cost-effective to find and commit to the right rehab program from the outset, there\’s always the opportunity to pursue other forms of treatment later on as needed. In fact, many people complete outpatient rehab only to discover that they need the greater structure and around-the-clock support that inpatient treatment supplies. Others complete inpatient treatment and then follow it up by joining outpatient programs. One of the best ways to determine whether inpatient or outpatient rehab is the right choice for you is by assessing your risk factors.

The more risk factors that you have for relapsing, the more likely you are to need inpatient treatment. You might want to consider your options in inpatient programs if:

  • You have a long history of addiction
  • There are other addicts living in your home who have yet to seek treatment
  • Toxic relationships and an unhealthy environment are contributing to or supporting your addiction
  • You aren\’t ready to take a self-managed approach to recovery
  • There are statistically high relapse rates for those using your substance of choice
  • This isn\’t your first time in addiction treatment

Taking time away from the things that trigger, support, or encourage your addiction will make abstaining a lot easier. Inpatient addiction treatment is also a good idea if you have a co-occurring disorder or believe that you may have one.

A co-occurring disorder is a secondary mental health issue that exists alongside substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder. This might be:

  • General anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

When these and other secondary mental health issues aren\’t diagnosed and managed, they put recovering addicts at a consistently high risk of relapsing. Many inpatient rehab programs offer onsite dual diagnosis treatment. In dual diagnosis treatment, people can learn safe, sustainable strategies for maintaining mood balance so that mental anguish and other forms of psychological discomfort aren\’t triggering them to use drugs or alcohol.

Outpatient treatment is often far more affordable than inpatient care. If you\’re having a hard time finding an inpatient program that fits your budget, consider the range of outpatient rehab options that are available. Basic outpatient programs require a nominal commitment of time. With some basic programs, patients are only required to actively participate in treatment for just 12 to 15 hours each week. In addition to being low in cost, basic outpatient care is flexible and adaptable enough to accommodate a busy work or school schedule.

These programs tend to be most effective for people who are only using minimally addictive substances, and who\’ve only been using them for relatively short periods of time. There are also intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and partial-hospitalization programs (PHPs) that require commitments of up to 35 hours per week. Given that patients can leave once their time in treatment is done, these more intensive options still provide ample opportunity to work, and a chance to spend time with loved ones. IOPs and PHPs are the best choices in outpatient rehab if you have multiple risk factors but are unwilling or unable to enter inpatient addiction treatment. If you still have questions about choosing the right program type, our counselors can help. Call us today at 833-820-2922.

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