Inpatient versus Outpatient

There are many different approaches to drug rehab.  Some approaches include a medical detoxification program, group therapy, one-on-one therapy, art therapy, yoga, meditation, and others. A decision about which drug rehab program is right for you, inpatient versus outpatient, is a deeply personal one. The specific approach of a rehab program can make all the difference in an addict’s success.

While there are many different approaches to drug rehabilitation, there are two major ways in which treatment can be delivered. These two ways are inpatient versus outpatient. From a purely economic standpoint, it may seem like outpatient is the way to go. In this way, they can work and get treatment all at the same time. But consider: What if their job and their current lifestyle is the stress which triggers their addiction? There is more to look at in addiction treatment than just what’s “easiest” to do.

Inpatient versus Outpatient Rehab Programs

The Pros and Cons of An Outpatient Rehab Program

When weighing any decision, it’s good to look at the pros and cons on both sides.

Pros of outpatient rehab:

  • If you have a job, it’s likely you can continue working while still getting the rehab you need.
  • You can often control your schedule, and reschedule your rehab responsibilities around your life.
  • Family duties are not disturbed as much by outpatient rehab programs.
  • You have hands-on experience while simultaneously living sober in the real world.

Cons of outpatient rehab:

  • You have immediate access to drugs and alcohol.
  • Jobs, family obligations or friends may be part of what is pushing you to take drugs in the first place.
  • Detoxing as an outpatient can be very difficult due to temptation and – depending on what you are detoxing from – it can also be dangerous.
  • Procrastination can set in. You can miss appointments or convince yourself you have your addiction cured before it has been fully addressed.
  • In some cases an outpatient program will substitute one drug for another – therefore not allowing you to fully detox and heal with a drug-free mind. An example of this is a clinic that substitutes heroin for another opiate – methadone.

The Pros and Cons of An Inpatient Rehab Program

When it comes to inpatient rehab, there is a lot to look at. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider if you are looking at using an inpatient rehab program.

Pros of inpatient rehab:

  • When in an inpatient rehab facility you have 24-hour support from caring staff. This can be important during the detox process and can be important in the healing process after detox.
  • Inpatient facilities remove you from your old haunts and from temptation. There is no easy access to drugs or alcohol, so the addict has a chance to fully detox and get through rehab before they are faced with people or places that remind them of their addiction.
  • An addict needs time to sort out their addiction, discover what the triggers are, and work out how to solve stresses and problems in life. Inpatient rehab programs provide this time.
  • Supportive people are vital to an effective rehab program. In an inpatient facility, the staff is there to help you through the process. Other recovering addicts going through the program are generally a great support group as well. A person’s normal environment is generally not able to provide this type of support.

Cons of inpatient rehab:

  • It can be difficult for some to remove themselves from family, friends, and work.
  • An inpatient rehab program often has firm and well-booked schedule. This keeps the recovering addict busy – but can also be difficult to get used to at first.
  • Expense can sometimes be an issue with inpatient rehab. Some insurance providers don’t cover all forms of inpatient rehab.

How to Make The Best Choice For You On Inpatient versus Outpatient Treatment

There are a lot of pros to both sides of the coin when it comes to inpatient versus outpatient rehab.

Here are a few things to remember when it comes to rehab:

First is that there isn’t one approach that always works for everyone. The best approach is the one you feel will work for you. If you don’t think you can resist temptation while in an outpatient rehabilitation program, consider looking at inpatient options.

Additionally, take a look at what each type of program has to offer. Some outpatient programs may require you to participate in a particular type of therapy you don’t want to participate in. Some inpatient programs may seem too strict for you. There are many options out there. Consider which has the approach you feel will work for you and go for that approach. Some rehab facilities offer a variety of options. Be sure to weigh each one and decide what you’d prefer to go with.

The next thing to consider is the type of insurance or help you will be able to get to pay for inpatient versus outpatient rehab. If your insurance covers an inpatient program, see if you can go ahead and take advantage of it. Inpatient rehab programs will give you more hands-on help and care than an outpatient program will be able to give.

Next, take a look around you. If you have triggers and stress all around you in life, think about how this will affect your progress through rehab. Inpatient drug rehab facilities often provide a calm environment, a supervised medical detoxification, rehabilitation options, and an aftercare program. This is the complete package when it comes to rehabilitation – and may be your best option.

It could be to your advantage to do the detox process and the rehab program in an inpatient setting – then take advantage of an outpatient aftercare program that provides support and care in your normal, possibly stressful, environment.

Whichever drug rehabilitation method you choose, inpatient versus outpatient, be sure to take full advantage of every part of it. If you choose outpatient, make every single appointment, get your regular checkups, try calming exercises instead of heading back to drugs, and see if you can get your friends and family to rally around your new choices. If you choose inpatient, dedicate yourself to beating your addiction by taking advantage of the detox program, the rehab methods provided, and your aftercare program.


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