Outpatient or Inpatient Rehab: Which Is Right for You?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 | By JP Emerald Coast

drug rehab treatment

You have decided you are ready to put an end to substance abuse, but you know quitting on your own is not an option. You need guidance and support to help you successfully quit, and you want to make certain you approach your cessation as safely as possible.

The safest way to stop using drugs and/or alcohol is via a rehabilitation program. There are two main types of rehab programs: inpatient and outpatient. The goal of both types of programs is the same: to help you successfully achieve abstinence. While they both offer advantages, trying to decide which option is the best for you can be a challenge.

Before you commit to a substance abuse rehabilitation program, it’s important to consider the factors that are involved in both an inpatient and an outpatient setting so you can choose the program that will help you achieve success in your journey toward recovery. To help you make this decision, here is a detailed look at the components of inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs, as well as the advantages and the disadvantages that are associated with each.

What Is an Inpatient Rehabilitation Program?

Also known as a residential treatment program, inpatient rehab is a treatment program that typically lasts for at least 28 days. If you choose an inpatient program, you’ll voluntarily elect to enroll yourself in a facility where you will receive rigorous treatment to help you overcome the use of drugs and/or alcohol in a safe and secure environment.

While enrolled in an inpatient rehab program, you’ll have access to care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the entire length of your stay. You will receive all of your treatment on the grounds of the facility you enroll in, which can include:

  • Detoxification services
  • Support group meetings
  • Group therapy sessions
  • Family counseling sessions
  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Recreational therapy
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Holistic treatment
  • 12-step treatment
  • Appointments with medical professionals
  • Experiential therapies
  • Recreational therapies
  • Aftercare

An inpatient treatment program can provide you with the round-the-clock care and support you need to successfully overcome your drug and/or alcohol dependency in a safe, controlled environment.

If you’re coping with a severe, complicated case of addiction, you have tried quitting before but have relapsed or you don’t have a strong support system and a safe environment that is conducive to treatment, an inpatient program may be the best option for you.

Advantages of Inpatient Rehab

There are a number of advantages you will benefit from in an inpatient setting. These advantages include:

  • Around-the-clock care
  • Monitoring by medical professionals during the detoxification process
  • Eliminated exposure to negative factors that may influence your decision to use alcohol or drugs
  • A safe and healthy environment to recover in
  • Constant supervision
  • Absolutely no access to drugs and/or alcohol

Disadvantages of Inpatient Rehab

While there are definite advantages associated with inpatient rehab, there are certain disadvantages that should be considered when deciding between an inpatient or outpatient treatment. These disadvantages include:

  • A complete commitment to the facility. That is to say, you will not be able to leave the facility during your recovery period, which could impact your job or your personal relationships.
  • The cost of inpatient rehab is usually higher than outpatient rehab, as you will have to pay for room and board in addition to your treatment.

What Is an Outpatient Rehabilitation Program?

Another popular drug and/or alcohol treatment program is an outpatient treatment program. In contrast to an inpatient program, when enrolled in an outpatient program, you’ll receive treatment for substance use/abuse, but instead of staying at the treatment facility, you’ll remain at home while you undergo treatment. While enrolled in this type of program, you’ll go to a treatment center where you’ll receive therapies and other mediation. And at the end of your sessions, you’ll return to your home.

During outpatient treatment, you’ll likely receive many of the same therapies you would receive in an inpatient program, including:

  • Support group meetings
  • Group therapy sessions
  • Family counseling sessions
  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Recreational outings
  • Holistic treatment
  • 12-step treatment
  • Counseling
  • Aftercare

Outpatient therapy is one of the most common types of drug and/or alcohol treatment programs. In fact, of the facilities that answered the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Service, 81 percent highlighted that they provide outpatient rehabilitation services.

There are several degrees of outpatient rehab that can range from rigorous therapies and programs that have to be attended daily to programs that only necessitate engaging in therapies and programs for a handful of hours each week.

inpatient treatment

Advantages of Outpatient Rehab

The distinct advantage of outpatient recovery is the flexibility it offers. Since you will not be living at the treatment facility but rather commuting between the facility and your home, you’ll still be able to attend to things like caring for your family and going to work.

If the following drug/alcohol withdrawal symptoms are minimal, an outpatient rehab program may be a good fit for you:

  • Hand tremors
  • Perspiration
  • Heart palpitations
  • Restlessness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings

Disadvantages of Outpatient Rehab

Of course, for every positive, there is usually a negative. That being said, there are disadvantages that are associated with outpatient rehab you should take into consideration before deciding if this is the best treatment option for you.

Some of the biggest disadvantages to outpatient therapy include:

Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

While the ultimate goal of both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs is to lead you to a life without drugs and/or alcohol, there are distinct differences between the two. Although some of these differences are obvious — you will reside at the facility if enrolled in an inpatient program, and you will live in your own residence and commute between the facility and your home during outpatient treatment, for example — there are other factors that differentiate these two types of treatment programs.

The following are some of the significant differences between inpatient and outpatient rehab:

  1. Cost

  • Inpatient Rehab: Generally speaking, inpatient rehab is more expensive than an outpatient program. Depending on the type of program you enroll in, you can expect to pay anywhere from about $7,500 a month for a low-cost rehab to upwards of $120,000 a month for higher-end rehabs.
  • Outpatient Rehab: The cost for outpatient rehab also varies, but is usually significantly less than inpatient rehab. On average, it costs approximately $2,000 for a standard eight- to 10-week outpatient treatment program.

Note that the cost also varies significantly based on the individual facility and if you are able to use in-network insurance or if you are doing self-pay. At JourneyPure Emerald Coast, we accept many insurances and our team can work with you if you aren’t insured.

  1. Living Arrangements

  • Inpatient Rehab: As the name suggests, if you enroll in an inpatient setting, you will be living at the facility for the duration of your treatment. You will receive all housing, meals, counseling, therapies and medical care at the facility.
  • Outpatient Rehab: If you opt for an outpatient rehab program, you will provide your own housing and you will commute to the rehab facility for your treatment.
  1. Length of Time

  • Inpatient Rehab: The minimum enrollment in an inpatient treatment facility is 28 days. However, depending on the severity of your drug or alcohol dependency, you may enroll for a longer period of time, with program lengths of 60, 90 and 120 days or longer available.
  • Outpatient Rehab: The average length of time that an individual is enrolled in an outpatient program is between eight and 16 weeks, and there is often a weekly time commitment, which can range from six hours up to 20 hours. Again, the amount of time you will be enrolled in the outpatient program will be related to the severity of your dependency.
  1. Family Involvement

  • Inpatient Rehab: Generally speaking, most inpatient rehab facilities limit the amount of contact you will have with your loved ones while enrolled in the treatment program. The primary reason for this limited involvement has directly related the chance that having contact with your loved ones could trigger a relapse, thus setting you back in your recovery.
  • Outpatient Rehab: The amount your loved ones are involved in treatment while you are enrolled in an outpatient rehab can vary. For example, you may require the assistance of your loved ones to take you to and from your treatment sessions. Likewise, you may need them to help you cope with the withdrawal process and shield you from the potential of relapse during your recovery.

Similarities Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

Though there are distinct differences between inpatient and outpatient rehab, there are also certain similarities between the two. Some of the most notable similarities include:

  • Detoxification. In order to successfully go through recovery, you must go through a detoxification period, whether you are enrolled in an inpatient or an outpatient program. You cannot recover without ridding your body of the drugs and/or alcohol, and ridding your body of these chemicals requires the process of detoxification.
  • Counseling and Therapy. In both settings, you will be engaged in counseling. Counseling typically involves individual sessions as well as group sessions. You may also be required to partake in psychotherapy and behavioral therapy programs, as these types of programs are typically the cornerstone of drug and/or alcohol treatment.
  • Medical Assistance. Depending on your unique situation, you may require medical assistance during your treatment, which can be provided in both the inpatient and the outpatient setting. For example, you may need to take medications to help you cope with tremors or nausea while going through the detoxification and withdrawal processes.

Effectiveness of Treatment in an Inpatient vs. an Outpatient Rehab

Your dependency on drugs and/or alcohol is unique to you, which means your recovery will also be unique to you. With that in mind, the success of your treatment choice will depend on your willpower, your personality and your desire to be successful.

Generally speaking, there isn’t a significant difference in terms of the effectiveness of inpatient and outpatient rehab, once patient characteristics are controlled. The results of one study that assessed the effectiveness of inpatient vs. outpatient substance abuse treatment clearly illustrate this. The findings of this study indicate that subjects benefited the same from outpatient and residential care, regardless of the extent of their drug and/or alcohol dependency.

On the other hand, preliminary findings from a study of 183 people in inpatient rehabs and 120 people in outpatient rehabs reveal that outpatient facilities were four times as likely to result in early treatment failures, regardless of psychiatric severity.

That said, do keep in mind that if there are definite triggers that lead you to use drugs and/or alcohol and you are exposed to those triggers during recovery — which will more likely be the case in an outpatient setting — your chances of relapsing are greater than if you are not exposed to these triggers during your recovery period.

Likewise, if you are suffering from a dual diagnosis — meaning you have another disorder, such as depression, anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder, in addition to your substance abuse addiction — you may benefit more from an inpatient setting.

On the flip side, if you have a good social support system of friends and family members, you may do well in an outpatient setting.

outpatient treatment

Choosing the Right Rehab Option for You

Once you have decided you want to take control of your drug and/or alcohol dependency, the next step is deciding whether an inpatient or an outpatient rehab is right for you. How do you know which option is the best choice for you?

Here are some questions that will help you determine whether inpatient or outpatient rehab is right for you:

  • Are you regularly exposed to alcohol and/or drugs?
  • Do your friends and/or family members use alcohol or drugs around you?
  • Do you find that your willpower is weakened by specific triggers?
  • Do you have a strong support system that will provide you with the encouragement you need and that will prevent you from using drugs and/or alcohol?
  • Would you be able to leave your responsibilities for a period of time? For example, would you be able to take a prolonged amount of time off work or school, or would you be able to leave your family for an extended period of time?
  • Do you have access to transportation you can rely on to take you to and from your treatment sessions?
  • Have you attempted to recover from your addiction in the past but have relapsed?

It is wise to review these questions with someone you trust. As you go over these questions and provide your answers, you’ll have a better idea of whether an inpatient or outpatient setting would be the best option for you.

If you are uncomfortable reviewing these questions and making this decision with a friend or a family member, speak to a medical professional you trust. This professional will be able to help you make the best decision based on your unique situation and your responses to these questions.

Consider the Cost

The cost can vary significantly between inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab, as previously mentioned. Cost is an important factor that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing the right facility for you. Obviously, you need to be able to financially afford the treatment program.

Of course, you should inquire with the potential treatment facility regarding the cost of treatment. Different programs, different types of therapies and different lengths of time will all play a key part in the cost of the program.

If you find you are facing financial hardship, don’t let that deter you from getting the substance abuse treatment you need. There are options available to you, and these options include:

  • Contacting your medical insurance provider to find out if they will cover any of the expense. Depending on your medical insurance provider and the coverage you have, a percentage of your treatment may be covered.
  • Discussing payment plans with the rehabilitation facility. These facilities are run, owned and operated by people who understand how important recovery from addiction is. They may be willing to work with you regarding the financial portion of your recovery. Their goal is to help you successfully recover, and setting up a payment plan may be in your best interest.
  • Arranging for financial assistance. You may be able to apply for a personal loan to cover the cost of your rehab. Talk to your bank or another credit provider to find out what options are available to you.
  • Talking to friends and family. Do you have friends and/or family members who would be willing to lend you money? You can perhaps set up a payment plan with them so you can afford the cost of treatment. It is highly likely that your loved ones want you to get the help you need.

It is so essential that it bears repeating: Keep in mind that you should not let your financial situation deter you from getting the help you need. If you are experiencing addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, getting help is vital to your overall health and well-being.

How Long Do You Need Treatment?

Just like the type of treatment program — inpatient or outpatient — depends on your unique situation, so does the length of time you will need to be in a rehabilitation program.

Generally speaking, the more dependent you are on drugs and/or alcohol, the longer the time you may need to be enrolled in a rehabilitation program. Long-term treatment tends to maximize the success rate of recovery. The recommended treatment length may play a role in whether you should opt for outpatient or inpatient treatment.

Private Rehabilitation

If your privacy is very important to you, a traditional inpatient or outpatient rehab program may not be an option for you. If you want to maintain complete anonymity, you may want to consider a private treatment facility.

These private facilities tend to offer more amenities and than standard facilities, and they also provide private therapy sessions. Additionally, a private rehab may offer you holistic programs, equine therapy, adventure therapies, and other innovative recovery options. Private facilities also tend to be situated in secluded areas, affording you the utmost privacy.

If you are suffering from a drug and/or alcohol dependency, your first step toward recovery is acknowledging your dependency and committing yourself to treatment. Once you have done this, you can then weigh your options and decide whether an inpatient or outpatient treatment program is the right choice for you.

With dedication, a great support network, a well-rounded treatment program and the willingness to achieve recovery, you can put addiction behind you and live a happy, healthy life that is free from drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Get Help Today at JourneyPure Emerald Coast

If you have any questions about choosing between an outpatient or inpatient rehab program, contact us online or call us at 850-424-1923 to learn more about our services and programs. Here at JourneyPure Emerald Coast, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to answer any and all of the questions you may have.

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