Inpatient Rehab Vs. Outpatient Rehab Programs

Friday, October 28, 2022 | By Andrew Bramlett

Inpatient Rehab Vs. Outpatient Treatment 

The two general types of addiction treatment are inpatient rehab and outpatient programs. The kind of drug addiction treatment for you will vary, depending on several factors, including: 

  • Severity of substance abuse 
  • Frequency of substance abuse 
  • Intensity of withdrawal symptoms 
  • Co-Occurring mental illnesses 
  • Overall health 

No matter your treatment, each type is designed to disrupt addictive behaviors and help people regain control of their lives. 


What’s The Main Difference?

Although both treatment types focus on recovery, inpatient rehab requires patients to stay at the drug rehab center while completing their treatment program. 

In comparison, outpatient rehab is designed around patients living at home while participating in treatment during the day. 


Inpatient Rehab and Residential Treatment 

Inpatient rehab, sometimes referred to as residential treatment, often requires some preparation. Preparing for addiction treatment is an important step; there is no set amount of time for this. 

Every person is different, but the best way to ensure you don’t get stuck in the preparation phase is to set a hard date to enter drug rehab. Somethings to keep in mind as you prep for recovery: 

  • Find living arrangements for any children or family members you’re responsible for 
  • Plan out transportation to/from the treatment center 
  • Learn what personal items you’re allowed to take with you to treatment 
  • Discuss a leave of absence with your employer 

Quality inpatient treatment programs also know how crucial family is to recovery. Family members are encouraged to contact their loved ones while they attend inpatient treatment for support and encouragement. 


What To Expect During Inpatient Rehab 

Inpatient programs are the best drug addiction treatment for those with intense addictions and who are addicted to substances that cause severe withdrawal symptoms. 

Some substances that produce withdrawal symptoms that require a detox program include: 

  • Alcohol 
  • Opioids/Opiates 
  • Heroin
  • Benzodiazepines 
  • Barbiturates 

Medical detox is typically recommended before enrolling in inpatient treatment if you’re addicted to the above substances and have another substance use disorder with a co-occurring mental health disorder. 

Usually, inpatient programs last about 30 days, and individuals participate in individual and group therapies and other therapeutic treatments like art therapy and yoga. 

Constant medical supervision is provided during inpatient programs, including medication management and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs. 


Outpatient Programs 

While outpatient programs are less restrictive than inpatient rehab, they don’t provide as much structure. Outpatient programs generally require 10 to 12 hours a week of treatment. 

Though this could be more or less if someone enrolls in an intensive outpatient program (IOP) or partial hospitalization program (PHP). 

Individual therapy and group counseling are both key to outpatient treatment. In most cases, outpatient rehab lasts three to six months. This type of addiction treatment is best for those with mild substance use disorders or those who are transitioning out of inpatient treatment. 


Outpatient Detox 

If residential detox isn’t an option, outpatient detox may be an option. The average outpatient detox is about a week, and patients must visit the rehab center or hospital. 

During outpatient detox, healthcare providers will provide mental check-ups and physical exams. Clinicians may also administer medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms of mild substance abuse issues. 


Do I Need Inpatient Or Outpatient Treatment?

Enrolling in the proper drug and alcohol addiction treatment is vital to achieving sobriety. If you need more guidance in choosing the right type of treatment program for yourself or a loved one, the team at Journey Pure Emerald Coast is here to help. Contact our addiction treatment helpline for more information. 



American University of Caribbean School of Medicine – INPATIENT VS OUTPATIENT CARE: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? – Treatment Options 

National Library of Medicine – Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence


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