One in ten Americans has a substance abuse problem. Are you one of them?

If you are suffering from the disease of addiction, you may want to consider your treatment options. Failing to do so can result in death or leading a life of misery.

If you have tried to quit on your own and can’t, it is wise to consider a drug treatment program. There are many options available including inpatient and outpatient treatments. Upon completion of these treatments, you may consider sober living or extended care.

Many people wonder about inpatient vs outpatient treatment programs, with many leaning toward the outpatient option due to flexibility and cost. Unfortunately, when you are in the grips of addiction, recovery cannot have a price tag! 

We can’t tell you which type of treatment program is best for you, but we can present the facts and give more insight into how each one works. Keep reading for more information!

What Does Inpatient Treatment Look Like?

Inpatient programs are the type that most people think of when they imagine rehab. They are typically about one month long, and patients live at the facility. The patients have access to round-the-clock care by doctors, nurses, and therapists. The facility will also take steps to ensure that no one brings illicit substances inside.

Inpatient programs are ideal for people that have anxiety about going through detox due to the medications to help with symptoms. Nurses check vital signs many times per day to help prevent complications. These complications can include hallucinations and seizures.

Should these issues arise, the staff is well-prepared to handle the situation and make the patient as comfortable as possible. 

People that are physically and mentally detoxing from drugs or alcohol often crave unhealthy foods or won’t eat at all. Inpatient settings provide healthy food choices to help curb cravings. These healthy choices can help remind patients what a nutritious meal is.

One of the biggest benefits of inpatient facilities is the fact that they have doctors on staff. These doctors are familiar with addict behavior and will address drug-seeking behavior. Any medications prescribed for physical or mental conditions will be non-narcotic.

Therapy During Inpatient Treatment

The real reason you are considering rehab isn’t for the food or physical care. The reason you are wanting to go to treatment is to receive help for your addiction. An inpatient facility offers intensive therapy sessions each day.

You will work with counselors in group sessions and meet with an assigned therapist for individual sessions. During group sessions, you will hear feedback from your peers and listen to their stories. These stories will show you that you’re not alone.

You will also develop personal friendships with a connection that is much deeper than most. These friendships will be a new start to your support system upon your departure. 

One of the biggest reasons to consider an inpatient treatment facility is the fact that you will experience several forms of therapy. Some of the therapy is standard group therapy led by a counselor. Other sessions may include art, education, recreation, exercise, or meditation. 

Each one of these sessions will teach you something but will also show you that it is possible to have fun while in recovery. Especially for people who can’t imagine their lives without drugs or alcohol, having sober fun is important. It is often forgotten while in active addiction.

Outside Influencers

It is not uncommon for inpatient facilities to bring patients to 12-step meetings in the area or for 12-groups to send people there. This exposure to 12-step meetings can take some of the anxiety away from attending your first ones on your own. It also allows you to learn the format and meet people within the 12-step community and begin working the steps. 

In addition to allowing 12-step meetings into the facility, most inpatient programs incorporate family counseling during your stay. If you are willing, the staff will bring one or all your loved ones in for a series of 3-5 family counseling sessions. These sessions will start the healing process from the disease of addiction and allow everyone to set healthy boundaries.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Many addicts have mental illnesses that co-occur with their addiction. Doctors call this a dual diagnosis, and it needs to be treated carefully. Addicts are not known for their honesty. Doctors may prescribe benzodiazepines or other narcotics without realizing the real problem.

Very often, addicts do not adhere to mental health treatment plans which in turn, will push their addiction into overdrive. 

Inpatient facilities can handle both addiction and mental health illnesses with proven techniques. Proper treatment of a dual diagnosis will further the likelihood of long-term sobriety. 

How is Outpatient Treatment Helpful?

With all the benefits of inpatient treatment, you may be wondering why someone would ever choose outpatient treatment. There are many reasons to select outpatient as your treatment plan, with the biggest one being cost.

Outpatient treatment is also known as intensive outpatient or IOP. Depending on which treatment center you choose, the program may be 3-5 days per week, and each session may go 3-8 hours. The duration of the program can be anywhere from 8 to 16 weeks. 

Like inpatient treatment centers, groups are led by a therapist, and you will hear feedback and stories from other patients. You will learn what they do to stay sober and learn how easy it is to relapse. 

There is usually a component of addiction education that can teach proper nutrition, signs of post-acute withdrawal syndrome, and how drugs affect the chemicals of the brain. 

The fact that you can go home every night from outpatient treatment is a double-edged sword. Many people like the fact that they can sleep in their own beds, go to work, and take care of their families. Unfortunately, those are all the same activities they were doing while they were using.

Although outpatient treatment can randomly drug screen patients, it only allows the staff to be reactive and not necessarily proactive. Many people relapse while in outpatient therapy because they feel that they can get away with it.

What Happens After Treatment?

If your insurance covers a percentage of inpatient treatment, it is highly likely that it will cover outpatient treatment at 100%. If this is an option, take it because the extended care and continued counseling will be highly beneficial. 

At the end of your inpatient treatment, the hospital will help you decide if extended residential treatment or sober living is best. No matter which of these options the facility recommends, it is ultimately your choice. It is wise to consider any living situation that promotes sobriety and healthy living. 

After completion of outpatient treatment, you are released. It’s unlikely that there will be talk of extended residential care, sober living, or any other housing arrangements. The facility will stress that you continue 12-step meetings or other support groups, and possible a weekly aftercare group.

Sober living is basically a household of other clean and sober people of the same gender. House rules are in place and often include the attendance of a few 12-step meeting per week. Curfews and random drug screens are also possible.

Extended residential care is another option. Usually, this is at the recommendation of your inpatient facility. There are stricter rules in place and regular counseling sessions. 

Both of these options can help with your continued sobriety and make adjusting to a healthy life much easier. You won’t hear about these options during outpatient. This is because they assume you already have a place to live.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment

As you can see, there are numerous benefits and differences between inpatient vs outpatient treatments. You may be teetering between thoughts like, ‘my addiction isn’t that bad,’ or ‘I only need outpatient–inpatient is too intense.’

Maybe, this is the truth, and your addiction isn’t that bad. But do you really want to risk it? Outpatient treatment definitely has a place in addiction treatment. Unfortunately, it is usually not intense enough for most addicts. 

Believe it or not, addicts and alcoholics are stubborn, hard-headed people. They often need intense counseling sessions and the support of a caring staff. 

Patients are often sent to outpatient treatment by their jobs or the courts to ‘fix’ a problem. Because of this, they aren’t usually as dedicated as those who have committed themselves to 30+ days of inpatient care. 

If you are ready to take the first step out of your addiction but still are unsure what treatment is best for you, take a minute to schedule an appointment with our intake staff. We will interview you and discuss with you your addiction and options for treatment. 

Should you not meet the criteria of our inpatient facility, we can recommend an outpatient option that will work with your schedule or insurance. If you agree to inpatient treatment, we can start the process of admittance that day. 

For more information on addict behavior, check out this post