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outpatient treatment

Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment: What’s the Difference?

Sadly, alcohol abuse is responsible for approximately 88,000 deaths each year and takes away roughly 2.5 million years worth of potential life that could have been lead!

This is why the need for rehabilitation programs is so critical. However, when you choose one for yourself, or if you’re helping a loved one, you need to be clear on the differences between outpatient treatment and inpatient rehab. 

It’s the only way you’ll find the right treatment plan for you. So, we’ve broken down the main differences between the two here in this article. Let’s dive in!

Addiction Therapy

As we’ve just said, treatment for drug and alcohol addiction usually fall into one of two categories:

  1. Inpatient rehab
  2. Outpatient rehab

Both of these treatments focus on rehabilitating the addict, and each one has significant advantages and disadvantages. 

Here’s a brief explanation of what each of one of them does:

Inpatient rehabs: These are residential facilities designed to treat those who are severely addicted.

Outpatient rehabs: These are part-time programs, meaning the person receiving treatment can continue working or going to school during the day. It’s a far less disruptive approach. 

Inpatient Rehab

This is also known as “residential treatment” so don’t let the overlap in terminology confuse you. 

Inpatient rehab usually requires the patients to register themselves and to stay in a facility offering 24-hour medical support. 

As this is a more extensive process,  it’s essential you get your affairs in order before checking yourself in. For example, you’ll need to:

  • Make arrangements at work
  • Organize care for your children
  • Arrange transport to the rehab center

You get the idea! Most inpatient programs run between 28 days to six months, so the level of disruption will vary depending on the rehab course you select. 

Some inpatient rehab clinics provide more support for the addict’s family than others. Some even offer counseling and emotional support specifically for the relations of the patient. If you think this could be useful, find a course that provides these kinds of services. 

The Pros of Inpatient Rehab 

Residents opting for inpatient rehab can focus all their energy on getting better without the temptations and distractions that accompany day to day living.

Inpatients also have continual access to psychologists and counselors, who can either consult with addicts on a one-to-one basis in addition to group therapy- both of these techniques are beneficial for kick-starting the recovery process. 

Outpatient Rehab 

The main advantage to outpatient rehab is that it gives the patient far more freedom. This is especially handy for addicts who need to hold down a job or care for children. 

Typically, patients only need ten to 12 hours a week to participate in outpatient programs. Providing they can get themselves to their local treatment center, this is often a more practical option. 

Usually, these meetings are scheduled during the evenings, early mornings, or weekends, the patient can maintain their usual routine. 

Another bonus to outpatient care is that on the whole, these services are far less costly than inpatient rehab. 

What Do These Sessions Involve?

You’ll be pleased to hear outpatient services offer loads of different types of therapy. This means you can choose the level of intensity you’re most comfortable. 

These sessions usually provide all of the following services:

  • Education on drug and alcohol abuse
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Coping methods

If you or a loved one is suffering from a mild addiction or looking for something to supplement a more extensive treatment program, then outpatient treatment could be a fabulous option for you.

You should note: if you opt for outpatient treatment, patients still need to visit either their GP or a specialist for regular check-ups. This is to ensure both your physical and mental wellbeing is all in order. 

You may also find that in addition to outpatient sessions you’ll need medication with the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Increased heart rate
  • Headaches

These are all withdrawal symptoms that need to be handled with care to reduce the likelihood of a relapse.

The Pros of Outpatient Rehab

Other than the greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness of outpatient rehab, patients can benefit from all of the following:

  • Emphasis on overcoming subtle signs of addiction: as these programs tend to handle early-stage addicts, outpatient rehab is sometimes better at focusing on symptoms that aren’t as obvious, and methods for coping with them. 
  • There’s something to suit everyone: more often than not many outpatient centers take a multidisciplinary approach. This includes an emphasis on religion, cognitive patterns, education, community, and medicines. When you tackle addiction from more than one angle, the recovery rate is far greater. 
  • Access to support systems: People recovering from addiction need support, and outpatient therapy provides a network of people necessary for that.  

Just to name a few! 

Who Shouldn’t Use Outpatient Rehab

Although there are plenty of benefits to outpatient rehab, you might be better suited for inpatient care if any of the following applies to you:
You continually experience intense urges to use: If this is a struggle for you, you may need access to constant support- any time of the day or night. Unfortunately, outpatient services aren’t open around the clock.
You struggle to go to group sessions alone: If you can’t commit to attending outpatient rehab sessions, the chances of success rapidly decrease. If you benefit from the support and accountability that comes with a residential facility, an inpatient program might be a better fit.  
You need help with numerous disorders: if you need help tackling more than one medical or psychiatric complaint, an outpatient service might not provide the kind of medications you need. Alternatively, you might be better to suited to a more intensive recovery program.


Did You Learn a Thing or Two About Outpatient Treatment?

We hope this has given you a better idea of the kind of treatments available to you and your loved ones. Here at BrainSpark health, we want to help you get on the road to recovery.

If you have any questions about the outpatient treatment you’ll need to conquer addiction, please feel free to drop us a line, and one of our professionals will get back to you as soon as they possibly can. Speak soon!