Outpatient and inpatient addiction treatment each offer a unique set of benefits for recovery.
Personal needs and the severity of the addiction are the determining factors in deciding which route is right for you or your loved one. In order to make the best decision for your drug treatment plan, it is important to understand the pros, cons, and differences between inpatient and outpatient treatment.
Inpatient Addiction Treatment
Inpatient (residential) addiction treatment requires you to live at the facility for a certain amount of time. The time frame can be anywhere from a few weeks to sixty days.
Here are some benefits of inpatient treatment:
- Inpatient facilities provide medically safe detoxification.
- There is 24-hour care and supervision. Coming off of alcohol and/or drugs not only effects the body physically, but also puts one in a highly emotional state. Having 24-hour care can be essential in many circumstances.
- You do not have the stresses of outside life and can focus on your recovery.
- There are meetings, groups, and counseling sessions going on all day, providing an intensive program of treatment.
- Each day is highly structured, which builds a foundation for a regular daily schedule. Many people who struggle with addiction may have found themselves sleeping all day, up all night, and with no regulated daily activities except using. The daily life in residential treatment helps to get people back on a “regular” schedule with conventional mealtimes, wake time, and ‘lights out’ time.
- Staying in an inpatient facility protects the individual from outside temptation.
- Most inpatient facilities offer a variety of therapy options, such as art therapy, nature therapy, etc.
Here are some of the disadvantages of inpatient treatment:
- Having to leave your place of employment for an extended period of time.
- Having to find child care while you are gone.
- There is limited outside contact. Most inpatient facilities have certain times of the day set aside when phone calls to loved ones can be made and weekend days that are available for family visits.
- It is more expensive than outpatient treatment.
- Transitioning back home can be difficult and scary. Be sure to have a continuing care plan in place.
Outpatient drug treatment is a good option for some people.
Be sure to speak with a medical specialist and be honest about how much and how long you have been using. Detoxing from certain substances, including alcohol, can be fatal.
Some of the advantages of outpatient drug treatment are:
- Groups are small, often not exceeding more than ten people.
- Outpatient treatment can be scheduled around your other daily responsibilities such as work and child care.
- It is less expensive than inpatient care.
- There is no transition from inpatient to back home.
- Outpatient treatment usually meets a few times per week for a few hours. This time is used for group meetings and individualized counseling.
- Outpatient therapy can last anywhere from two to six months, depending on the needs of the individual. This can provide a good foundation for sobriety.
Some disadvantages of outpatient treatment are:
- Those in outpatient counseling will still have to face the outside temptations in early recovery.
- A good home support system is necessary for helping to deal with the emotional ups and downs that people go through in withdrawal. Not everyone has that support system to count on.
- There is less support if medical detox is needed.
No matter which route is chosen for addiction treatment, both are a choice in the right direction for taking back your life.