Understanding the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

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When you first enter a treatment facility to seek help for substance use disorder (SUD), your doctor will examine your condition and develop a treatment plan that meets your specific needs. The next step is to go through the detox process. 

You will have the option to go through treatment and begin recovery in either an inpatient or outpatient environment. There are some benefits associated with either of these options, and you need to know what to expect before coming to a decision. While it is essential to always follow your doctor’s recommendation regarding choosing the treatment program that is right for you, it is still helpful to explore all options. 

Exploring Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab is most common if you have a more severe addiction, are addicted to dangerous illicit substances, or are at high risk of experiencing health emergencies while undergoing detox. When you choose this form of treatment, you will stay in a treatment facility full time during your treatment process. The length of time you will remain in inpatient care depends on the facility, the type of program, and your needs. 

Treatment programs can range from less than a week to more extended periods, like several months. Most treatment facilities allow your loved ones to participate in your treatment on some level. This could be through physical visits, communication via technology, and in many cases, private family counseling. There are a few things to consider ahead of time if you are entering inpatient treatment. Some examples include: 

  • You will have to communicate with your employer to arrange the designated time off of work.
  • If you are a full-time caregiver or have children, you will need to arrange for someone else to help care for any of your dependents during this period. 
  • Make proper transportation arrangements to and from the treatment facility. 
  • Take into consideration what items you will need to bring with you and check to see what items are and are not allowed. Some treatment facilities can be very particular about what you bring in with you. 

Benefits of Inpatient Rehab

There are some benefits you may want to consider in regards to choosing inpatient rehab. Some examples include: 

  • Most inpatient facilities offer regular if not constant medical supervision. This is important because, in the case that you were to experience a medical emergency, staff would be able to get to you right away. 
  • In inpatient rehab, you will have no access to substances like alcohol and other drugs, so the temptation has already been removed for you.
  • Inpatient facilities are free of distractions encountered in day-to-day life. You will not have to worry about anyone bothering you and can instead focus on your recovery while in a calm, peaceful environment. 
  • In an inpatient treatment facility, you will have a medically assisted detox, which can help better manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse. 

Exploring Outpatient Rehab

When you decide to do outpatient treatment, you will not be living in a treatment facility, but you also will not be going through treatment on your own. Instead, you will regularly visit a treatment facility and work with medical professionals for anywhere from three to six months. You may spend around 10 to 12 hours a week at the facility. This type of treatment can be a good fit if you have a less severe addiction or as a part of a long-term treatment plan. 

Outpatient detox is typically faster than inpatient treatment, lasting around six days. You will go to both mental health and physical health checkups during this time. Doctors will often prescribe medication to help reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms safely and effectively. If you choose this route, you will be recommended to attend support group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) during this time. 

Benefits of Outpatient Rehab 

There are some benefits you may want to consider in regards to choosing outpatient rehab. Some examples include: 

  • You have the ability to recover in the privacy and comfort of your own home. 
  • You will get in-person social support by being around your loved ones. 
  • This is typically a less expensive treatment option. 
  • You will not have to worry about needing to take time off from work or school. 
  • You will have the option to attend early morning or late night meetings to maintain your normal schedule. 
  • You do not have to worry about finding alternate care for your dependents. 

No matter what you decide to do, remember to listen to the medical professionals you are working with and weigh all your options. 

When a patient seeks professional help for a substance use disorder, they will have the option to go through treatment and begin recovery in either an inpatient or outpatient environment. There are some benefits associated with each of these options, and it’s important for the patient to have an idea of what to expect before making a final decision. With inpatient treatment, the individual will live in the treatment center temporarily. They will have medical supervision and doctors who can help manage their withdrawal symptoms. With outpatient treatment, the patient doesn’t live at the facility; however, they do visit the treatment facility regularly throughout their detox and the beginning of their recovery. Either option can lead to long-term success. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, our team at The Kimberly Center can help. Call (855) 452-3683 to learn more.

Kimberly Center Staff
Kimberly Center Staff
Publishing account for ADDICTION RECOVERY

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