Understanding What is Inpatient Rehab vs Outpatient Rehab

Chemical abuse therapy clients can choose either to have outpatient treatment or inpatient care, and understanding which one is best for their individual needs is critical in order to give them the best opportunity at sustaining long term recovery. In any case, the goal of the therapyis to help people gain insights that lead them to discover the underlining reasons they turn to alcohol or drugs, and more importanty teach them the skills to cope with their problems and emotions without resorting to using drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.

Types of Therapy For Substance Abuse

Inpatient Therapy – One significant difference between an outpatient therapy and inpatient therapy in regards to substance abuse is the therapy's location. Inpatient treatment requires the client to live in a treatment center. Here, the individual lives with other substance abuse patients and attends support group meetings and daily therapy sessions.

Outpatient Therapy allows the client to live in their own homes and continue to do their daily tasks. Sessions take place with the client visiting the treatment center. These clients can go home after the substance abuse treatment is over.

Similarities in Outpatient and Inpatient Substance Abuse Recovery

Both types of  care offer similar opportunities. Clients can choose to attend either group therapy sessions, or opt for an individual therapy session. Also, both inpatient and outpatient programs offer opportunities for 12-step groups or other popular forms of therapy support groups.

Note… For faith based program participants, a powerful and effective 12 step group many opt for is called Celebrate Recovery.

They also have the same set of expectations and rules. An example would be that both inpatient and outpatient therapy groups require the client to be sober while attending the treatment. They are also required to attend these treatment sessions on a regular basis, often needing to bring back proof that they met with their therapist for the sessions to be valid and proceed further.  This is often accomplished through a system of checks and balances that places a degree of trust on the client while keeping them accountable.

Program Duration

Outpatient and inpatient treatment programs can last for a set amount of time. Inpatient substance abuse programs can last from 30 to 90 days, with some programs lasting as long as a year. The length of a treatment program wholly depends on a client's particular need, or if they have made sufficient improvements. Clients can opt to extend inpatient care to continue improvint until they are ready to leave the rehab center. An example would be that an agreement is made between therapist and client that they should extend a 30-day program to gain further help.

Outpatient programs are more flexible and open-ended. The client has the luxury of living at home and can extend the program's duration, attending therapy once in a week and discussing with their therapist if further sessions are needed, or if they need to stop or cut back on treatment.

Inpatient and Outpatient Program Advantages

Inpatient substance abuse programs may be more aggressive than outpatient ones. Clients who are participating in these sessions can get the following benefits:

  • Easy access to daily therapy sessions. Rehab program patients normally get to meet with their therapist once a day in group therapy sessions or individual treatment. A therapist is immediately available should a client feel an overpowering desire to regress back to substance abuse, or in the event that an emergency happens.
  • An environment with other recovering clients. Patients are surrounded by a similar group of people trying to understand and overcome their substance abuse difficulties. A group interaction makes them feel less isolated, which can be key to defeating the desire to consume alcohol or use drugs.
  • Convenient meals. Most inpatient programs offer regular meals for clients. The first excruciating week for a patient lets them deal with sobriety issues without worrying about preparing food to eat. The types of food served are healthy and are made to heal their bodies damaged by substance abuse.
  • A solid structure. Structure and rhythm helps clients take their mind off substances and make them feel secure. Inpatient programs have specific daily schedules that keeps the patients engaged in productive activities, further keeping their minds off their addiction and leads them moving steadily towards healing.
Note… A person who completes a 30-day inpatient program is more likely to double his or her rate of success, are less prone to relapse, and is more likely to be sober long-term.

The disadvantage of an inpatient program is that the client has to live at the center until the program is successful. Inpatient programs are excellent when it comes to support, but clients may need to file for a leave of absence or only see their families on visitation days while they recuperate in rehab.

Outpatient programs also provide some benefits to substance abuse clients. Some of them are:

  • Individuals participating in outpatient programs can move on with their daily life while getting help and support for substance abuse. Outpatient programs are less disruptive because patients can still work or spend time with friends and family as they choose.
  • Clients may feel trapped in inpatient rehab facilities, or may have problems following certain rules and schedules. They might also feel uncomfortable reporting to a therapist and having the therapist provide proof of a valid treatment session.
  • Outpatient treatment programs may work better with independent clients who are more likely to respond when they feel free and are more responsive when given the task of staying sober by themselves.
Which Type of Program Is The Best?

The answer is different for every patient and individual. Some clients respond better with a less controlling treatment program, while some clients prefer a solid structure and schedule to lean on. Research shows that clients who extend sessions in inpatient treatments are less prone to go into relapse. The best thing that clients can do is to visit an intake counselor at any rehabilitation center and discuss what type of treatment would work best. Clients can start off with an inpatient program, then transition to an outpatient program as they improve, while some patients can sign up for outpatient substance abuse programs right away. In the end, it matters little what type of treatment you choose, as long as the treatment program is effective.