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Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab

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Inpatient vs outpatient rehab

Addiction treatments, be it for alcohol or drug abuse, are usually divided in two main categories – inpatient and outpatient rehab. Though they both focus on rehabilitation and a smooth transition to sobriety, each is unique in its own way and has different benefits to offer. They are also designed to fit the needs of different patients who may not have the means to attend one or the other. We at Lantana Recovery are a top Charleston outpatient rehab and we ensure that our clients receive the best of care to help them build a healthy, happy life.

Inpatient patient treatment is primarily focused on intensive, long-term healing which requires the individual to stay at the rehab center for a certain duration. On the other hand, outpatient treatment is less intensive and will require patients to attend daily or weekly therapy sessions to heal mild cases of addiction.

Whichever addiction treatment you pick, it is paramount that you first fully understand what you are committing to and how it will help on your road to recovery in the long run. Exploring both options is crucial to a healthy detox and achieving long-term sobriety.

What is inpatient treatment?

Inpatient treatment, also referred to as residential treatment, requires patients to stay at the facility. Depending on the patient’s history of drug abuse, age, withdrawal symptoms, etc., they may be asked to stay at the center for a couple weeks or even up to a few months.

One of the most important features of inpatient treatment is that it is thorough and intensive. Individuals are kept under 24/7 monitoring and this greatly helps in avoiding temptations and influences which may trigger your substance abuse. Inpatient facilities offer a healthy, safe, secure, and productive environment that supports a speedy and long lasting recovery.

Most inpatient treatment programs are fully licensed. They bring three crucial phases of recovery for any patient of addiction: detoxification, self-reflection, and healing. Keep in mind that detox is different from inpatient treatment program and is a mandatory initial phase before the treatment begins. These steps enable individuals to freely adapt drug and alcohol-free lifestyles, while also reflecting on toxic behaviors, mental health issues, and challenges in personal and close relationships.

Upon successful completion, inpatient programs will generally require patients to transition into an outpatient treatment program or group therapy outside of the facility to continue sobriety and reinforce positive behaviors.

Licensed inpatient facilities offer 24-hour support and intensive care. They incorporate three phases of recovery into their treatment plans: detox, reflection, and growth. They are focused on helping patients learn to adopt drug- or alcohol-free lifestyles after treatment. Many of these programs involve a step-down approach to help patients transition from inpatient care to individual or group counseling outside of the facility.

There are both short-term and long-term residential rehab programs. Patients typically stay at long-term residential facilities from six months to a year, while short-term facilities require stays of about three to six weeks.

What to Consider When Enrolling into Inpatient Treatment

Before you decide to enroll into an inpatient treatment facility, you should consider a variety of factors so you could reap the several benefits of the program and enjoy a smooth, successful recovery journey.

It is crucial to understand that both long-term and short-term inpatient addiction treatment programs are designed to help you overcome addiction, successfully complete detoxification, and prepare for a life of sobriety.

Unlike shorter treatment facilities, inpatient rehabs provide in-depth, 24/7 intensive care, which means that you are never alone and always under the supervision of nurses, clinical staff, etc. This greatly helps to prevent any risks of relapse.

Inpatient substance abuse treatment is also highly structured and is uniquely designed to fit each individual and their needs. Inpatient treatment ensures that your rehab plan focuses on all aspects of addiction as well as external factors such as relationships, lifestyle, personal history, mental conditions, etc.

Additionally this treatment facility also provides safe housing and access to medical professionals at all times. This is especially useful for patients who are suffering from severe levels of substance abuse, mental health disorders, and other health concerns.

Besides the aforementioned factors, it is also crucial to consider the costs of residential treatment programs. Such intensive care treatments that require you to stay at the facility can be pricey compared to outpatient treatment centers. Most inpatient facilities can be paid for with insurance. Always check with your insurance provider and the rehab facility if this can be arranged.

When you join an inpatient alcohol rehab center, you will have to separate yourself from your daily life, work, as well as your loved ones for a certain duration of time. This is mandatory in order to recover from substance use disorders. If you are worried about leaving work for a time, it is wise to get in touch with your employer and discuss with them beforehand. Most employers in the United States will allow a leave for rehabilitation purposes.

Finally, keep in mind that this inpatient treatment requires dedication, resilience, and stronger commitment than outpatient treatments do. You will undergo rigorous treatment and a structured routine monitored by healthcare professionals at every step.

What are the advantages of inpatient rehab centers?

Addiction can be extremely challenging to overcome, especially if you do not have the necessary supervision, medical advice, and a strong support system in the shape of friends and family. This is where inpatient facilities can prove to be extremely efficient and valuable.

When you decide to enroll in an inpatient rehab, you take a step back from daily responsibilities, work obligations, relationships, etc., to focus entirely on your well-being. This program helps you prioritize your mental and physical health, and it also teaches you the value of self-care.

One of the greatest advantages of inpatient rehab is that it allows you to stay under supervision. You are surrounded by medical professionals who motivate you and help you overcome any urges. You are also surrounded by others who are in similar situations, providing you with a safety net that helps with relapse prevention.

A good inpatient rehab facility will have professionally trained staff with the necessary skills for handling such difficult situations. They also prepare in case of any disruptions or obstacles in your way to sobriety.

You have access to cafeterias, gyms, swimming pools, computer labs, libraries, common rooms, as well as therapy centers at all times. Other amenities also include fully furnished bedrooms, on-site laundromats, televisions, etc.

What is outpatient treatment?

Outpatient addiction treatment requires individuals to visit the treatment center daily. Outpatient rehab treatment is especially useful for those experiencing mild forms of addition and who do not need to be kept under constant supervision.

Patients who are enrolled in an outpatient treatment are required to visit the center daily for therapy, counseling, group discussions, seminars, educational lessons, medical checkups, as well as routine drug testing. You can continue living at home with your family and continuing your daily chores, work obligations, etc., whilst attending these sessions on the designated times.

These features of outpatient treatment help you stay close to your children and other family members. It also allows you to fulfill your work responsibilities and stay on track in school without having to go on extended leave.

Outpatient substance abuse treatment does not include a safe house, 24/7 medical supervision, or other amenities such as televisions, gyms, libraries, swimming pools, etc. Since you are not required to stay for extended duration, these treatments also cost a lot less than inpatient rehabs.

Outpatient treatment is a step-down approach to most forms of rehab in which the patient is required to attend daily therapy sessions after a successful completion of inpatient rehab. Sessions become less intensive and frequent as time passes and you reach your milestones. The purpose of these counseling sessions is to maintain sobriety for longer and eliminate chances of relapse.

What to Consider When Enrolling into Outpatient Rehab

Before you enroll into an outpatient treatment program, it is vital to first consider several different factors including your lifestyle choices and personal history of substance use disorder.

Firstly, outpatient treatment allows you to receive medical and psychological help while you are still living at home with your family. This is especially beneficial for those who have a supportive friend and family group.

This type of treatment also costs a lot less than inpatient programs as it does not require you to stay at the rehabilitation center. Additionally, you can choose the intensity of the treatment depending on your addiction patterns and histories. You can get different counseling, therapies, etc., that suit you best in the long run and that are sustainable.

With outpatient treatment centers, you can also choose your appointment timings that work around your every day schedule and accommodate your job and family obligations. Be it mornings or evenings, you can schedule for sessions accordingly.

Patients who are suffering from co-occurring psychological problems such as PTSD, depression, stress, bipolar disorder, etc., can also greatly benefit from some outpatient programs. Depending on your condition and the severity of addiction, you will be recommended one of the different types of outpatient care. Standard outpatient care is difference from intensive outpatient treatment, which is apart from part-hospitalization rehab.

However, these outpatient rehab centers may not be the best option for you if you are suffering from severe addiction and substance abuse. Since these facilities are not round-the-clock, chances of relapsing are higher if your condition is severe.

You should also reconsider joining an outpatient program if you struggle showing up to group sessions by yourself or if you are unable to attend these sessions regularly. The success of any outpatient treatment depends entirely on your participation in these sessions and therapies. If you require a more rigorous treatment style, then an inpatient center would be a better fit.

It is also unwise to join an outpatient treatment center if you are suffering from several disorders and other challenges that require immediate medical attention or constant supervision.

What are the advantages of Outpatient Rehab?

There are numerous advantages of outpatient programs. The outpatient rehab success rates are quite high, thanks to the nature of the treatment and its unique style that complements each patient in their own way.

When enrolled in outpatient care, patients recover while staying with close friends and family, in the comforts of their own homes. This can make a huge difference when recovering from addiction and it also does not have to disrupt your work schedules and commitments.

You can organize your time as you see fit and dedicate suitable hours to therapy and counseling sessions each week when you are free from work and other familial obligations. You can benefit from these programs whether you are in your lounge, kitchen, patio, garden, etc.

One of the greatest advantages of outpatient care is that it is far cheaper than inpatient programs and does not require heaps of money. Even with health insurance, you can easily save a lot if you are enrolled in outpatient care instead. The difference in costs between inpatient and outpatient care is colossal and it can save you thousands of dollars if you stick to outpatient care instead.

If you cannot afford inpatient treatment centers, but you also feel that outpatient treatment may not be intense enough for your substance use or addiction treatment, then you can even try staying at sober living homes who will accept individuals as long as they have completed their detox phase successfully.

Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment: Which is better?

One treatment style is not better than the other. Both inpatient and outpatient programs come with numerous benefits and whether you benefit from them or not depends entirely on your situation, history, addiction levels, and lifestyle.

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment centers focus on rehabilitation and long term sobriety. Your primary healthcare provider will recommend the right alcohol rehab for you after careful evaluation and a full health assessment.

Whichever treatment you choose to go to at the end of the day, it is important to remember that will power and resilience are the most fundamental factors that contribute towards a healthy and sober lifestyle.



Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

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Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.