Substance Abuse Treatment

The Pros and Cons of Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment

inpatient vs outpatient
Written by Fritz

Are you seeking recovery from substance abuse? If so, there is hope. Over 60% of addicts who have completed alcohol addiction treatment maintain sobriety for at least a year.

Having the disease of addiction can be challenging, and many don’t seek treatment because they fear sobriety. However, seeking recovery through rehabilitation centers can be life-changing.

Nowadays, there are many treatment methods for alcohol addiction. However, it may be tricky to know which is best for you when comparing options such as inpatient vs outpatient programs.

If you’re trying to decide which is best for you, you’re reading the right article. Keep reading to learn these treatment options’ differences, pros, and cons.

What Is Inpatient Treatment?

There are two primary types of addiction treatment programs: inpatient and outpatient. Inpatient treatment programs are also referred to as residential treatment programs. They’re created to help people overcome substance addiction.

Inpatient treatment programs occur in a residence, typically in residential neighborhoods. There are different levels of inpatient treatment to choose from. Your choice will depend on your circumstances and finances.

For example, you can attend more clinical inpatient programs. Here you are monitored closely by medical professionals.

Alternatively, there are more upscale and luxurious ones. These luxury spas offer additional therapies. These can include:

Pros of Inpatient Treatment

Staying at a residential treatment facility has several advantages that you can benefit from. When trying to decide between inpatient vs outpatient treatment, consider these pros:

Exclusively for Recovery

Inpatient treatment centers are exclusively reserved for people battling the disease of addiction and seeking recovery. Inside there are professionals who are trained specifically to deal with substance use disorder and create treatment plans.

Access to Medical Professionals

As an inpatient, you have access to medical professionals. This can be helpful, especially if the inpatient treatment center offers specialized therapies like:

  • Medically assisted detoxification
  • Dual diagnosis therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

Fewer Distractions

Being inside a residential treatment facility exposes the patient to fewer distractions. Fewer distractions mean the patient can focus their full attention on their recovery. They may not be able to do the same if they’re staying at their home.

Mental Health Assistance

If the facility is a dual diagnosis, there will be medical professionals like psychiatrists and psychologists who can offer treatment for co-occurring mental illnesses, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Personality disorders

Patients will have access to one-on-one therapy sessions. This allows them to address their mental issues alongside the addiction.

Addicts Supporting Addicts

Residential treatment programs typically can admit several patients at one time. This means that there are other recovering addicts staying in the house who can offer support to one another during their stay.

Access Group Therapy

Patients can access group therapy sessions while staying at an inpatient treatment facility. These sessions are attended by all residents staying at the center.

Cons of Inpatient Treatment

Despite several benefits to inpatient treatment, there are some disadvantages. Read these and use them to determine whether this program is right for you.

Can Be Expensive

Staying at an inpatient treatment facility can be expensive for those who don’t have an extensive budget or health insurance to cover it. It can also become costly if you have to extend your stay.

Challenging On Exit

When leaving the inpatient treatment facility, the patient returns to everyday life. This can be a challenging environment for some patients to return to in early recovery.

May Require a Wait

Depending on where you stay, you may have to wait for an opening. Sometimes these treatment centers have waiting lists that are months long.

Requires Full Commitment

The program requires you to always stay on the premises when admitting yourself into inpatient treatment. This can be tricky for those with employment obligations.

What Is Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment differs from inpatient in that patients live at home but still attend a treatment program defined by medical professionals. For example, they will meet at the facility and attend:

  • One-on-one therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Support groups

This different structure can be challenging for some, and there is less access to medical professionals as one gets in inpatient treatment. 

Pros of Outpatient Treatment

Just like inpatient treatment, an outpatient program has several advantages. They can include the following:

Continue Everyday Life

When attending an outpatient program, recovering addicts don’t stay overnight at a facility. Instead, they live at home and can attend work, school, or other obligations.

Flexible Commitment

Because the outpatient is staying at home, there are more options regarding the treatment program length. They can also schedule their recovery commitments at a convenient time.

Less Expensive

When looking at inpatient vs outpatient treatment costs, outpatient typically is more cost-effective. This lower cost is due to lower overhead costs as patients don’t live on the premises.

Learn Coping Mechanisms

When patients attend an outpatient program, they’re pushed to learn coping mechanisms while navigating sober life.

Cons of Outpatient Treatment

If outpatient treatment sounds good to you so far, keep reading. Here are some of the disadvantages that come with attending outpatient programs:

Requires Self-Discipline

Attending an outpatient program requires a lot of self-discipline. This is because patients are not being constantly monitored. This can be challenging for patients with severe drug addiction.

Difficult Environments

With outpatient programs, patients live at home. This can be challenging for recovering addicts who have a difficult home life. It can also be challenging for them to abstain from their drug of choice (DOC).

Less Structure

Unlike attending an inpatient program, outpatient programs are less structured. They’re often less intense than inpatient treatment, and some may feel there needs to be more structure to their day.

More Travel

Living off the treatment center’s premises means more traveling for the outpatient. This extra travel comes from traveling to and from therapy sessions.

Understanding Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment Options

Addicts typically seek recovery when they hit rock bottom but don’t know where to turn. There are so many options that deciding between inpatient vs outpatient treatment may seem daunting.

Understanding the pros and cons of each is essential if you want to make an informed decision. For example, outpatient treatment is not for everyone, and inpatient may be more suitable.

If you’re struggling with addiction or mental health problems, we can help. Visit our site to find rehab centers near you and connect with people who know what you’re going through.

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