Inpatient vs. Outpatient: How Do I Know Which is Right for Me?

If you or if a loved one are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, undergoing drug rehabilitation and treatment is an essential step in breaking the devastating cycle of addiction. While there are many types of drug treatment programs that are available, most of these programs can be classified into two categories: inpatient drug treatment and outpatient drug treatment. Inpatient and outpatient drug treatment programs are extremely beneficial in helping an addict achieve sobriety and long-term recovery, but you may not know which type of program you or a loved one would find the most benefit. It is important to understand what both inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment provide and be able to ask the right questions to know which treatment type in best for you or your loved one.

What is Inpatient Drug Treatment?


Inpatient drug treatment programs take place in safe and structured environments where patients are away from the temptations and triggers that fuel the urge to use substances. When patients enter inpatient drug treatment, they do so voluntarily and undergo an intensive level of treatment and care while in these facilities. The normal length of day in an inpatient drug facility is 28 days, but can be longer depending on the severity of one’s addiction.

Since addicts are removed from the negative influences in their lives, they can begin to work on building the life and coping skills that had been interfered with due to their addiction. Inpatient drug rehab offers medical detoxification services in order to help minimize withdrawal symptoms that are associated with ceasing substance use. Additionally, these types of programs offer patients family counseling and programming as well as aftercare options such as sober living housing, employment assistance, as well as help with finding housing.

What is Outpatient Drug Treatment?

Meeting Of Support Group


Outpatient drug programs provide patients with essential counseling and therapy services, but in a less structured environment. This type of treatment program provide patients with more freedom which allows them to maintain a regular commitment to their families, work, and education. The length of time an individual attends outpatient drug treatment is dependent on the severity of one’s addiction. For example, those with more severe addiction would attend treatment several times weekly while those with lesser issues may attend programming once a week.

Along with counseling and therapy, outpatient drug treatment programs are similar to inpatient programs in the focus on family support and involvement. Depending on an individual’s drug and alcohol abuse history, there can also be aftercare options available with outpatient treatment. Additionally, medical detoxification is not a requirement for people to attend drug treatment in an outpatient setting.

Which Type of Drug Treatment Program is Best for Me?


Both inpatient and outpatient drug treatment programs provide the counseling, therapy and peer interaction that is needed to give you the tools and empowerment they need to break the cycle of addiction. However, the process of determining the treatment option that best suits your unique needs can be challenging. There are specific questions that you need to ask yourself and a treatment professional before making your final decision on whether an inpatient or outpatient drug treatment program will work the best for you.

One important question that you need to answer is ‘am I physically and psychologically addicted to drugs and alcohol?’ If you answer yes to this question, then inpatient drug treatment is the appropriate option to pursue. Depending on the severity of your addiction and the drugs that you are addicted to, there are physical and psychological symptoms that can be life-threatening if you immediate stop using drugs. Inpatient drug treatment programs feature medical detoxification services onsite and are staffed by qualified and experienced personnel that can help minimize the harm that is associated with withdrawal. If your addiction issues are more moderate, an outpatient drug treatment program may be more suitable since detox is not a requirement.

A second question that needs to be asked is ‘have I tried and been unsuccessful in the past at stopping my use of drugs and alcohol?’ If you have failed in previous attempts to get clean and sober, then inpatient treatment would be more beneficial in terms of long-term recovery. Since patients reside onsite at an inpatient treatment facility, counselors and other treatment staff is able to provide counseling and therapy that is more focused and intense and patients can focus on the underlying causes of their addiction.

Another question that you may ask is ‘do I have the dedication to complete drug treatment on my own?’ If you have the drive and determination to complete drug treatment and don’t need to have strict structure, then an outpatient drug rehab would be the better option. With outpatient drug treatment programs, you can attend programming during the day or in the evening as many times a week as advised by treatment staff. An additional benefit of outpatient treatment is the fact that you are able to attend drug treatment while still being able to attend to your important family and work commitments.

Additionally, a question that you may ask yourself is ‘in my current situation, are there temptations to use based on my daily stresses and relationships with my family and friends?’ If this is the case, then inpatient treatment is the better option. Since patients in an inpatient drug treatment setting reside within the facility, they are away from the temptations and triggers that can lead to substance use and abuse. With those outside influences removed from the addict’s life, they can focus on their recovery and can find encouragement and support from their peers who are undergoing similar situations.

Are You Unsure of What Treatment Option is the Best for You? Call Dream Center for Recovery

Both inpatient and outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs have substantial life-changing benefits, and understanding which program will best help you achieve long-term recovery is one of the first steps toward becoming sober. If you are unsure of which program is best for you, contact Dream Center for Recovery and talk to our experienced treatment professionals. We understand that each client is unique, and are able to create a specific and individualized treatment plan that takes into account each client’s strengths and weaknesses. We provide a comprehensive array of therapies and programming in both inpatient and outpatient settings that will suit the needs of any client. Don’t wait another day to start on your journey to recovery; call Dream Center for Recovery today.