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Do I Need Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment?

outpatient treatment

We’ve all heard it before: the first step to getting better is admitting you need help. While this is (obviously) true when it comes to addiction recovery, let’s not disqualify the nuances. They’re some of the most prominent reasons why a person won’t actually seek help. Exhibit A: what does “help” mean?

At the very base level, addiction treatment, or “help,” diverges into two paths: inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment.

Addiction is a complex disease, so it requires equally complex treatment. In many cases, it’s recommended that a recovering addict progress through the full continuum of addiction recovery treatment. That means detox, residential, and then an intensive outpatient program. However, as the disease varies in scope and severity, not everyone will require the full expanse of treatment. Detox and an inpatient residential treatment will be necessary for some while others may benefit more from outpatient treatment.

What Is Inpatient Treatment?

The biggest difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment is that a client will live in-house while completing an inpatient program. Individual counseling, group therapy, and other recovery methods all occur on-site. Inpatient programs can include detox, residential, or both.

Recovering addicts who are admitted to an inpatient program typically require more structure and medical supervision. These are generally higher-risk patients, whether that means they are struggling with more detrimental substance addictions, have more severe co-occurring disorders, or cannot successfully maintain sobriety and independence.

Pros of Inpatient Treatment:

  • Provides more structure while adapting to life without drugs
  • Clear, unbridled access to counseling
  • Safe living environment
  • Food and other household necessities are taken care of so that you can focus on your recovery

Treatment Length:

Detox: 7-10 days

Residential: 30-90 days

What Is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient, as the name suggests, does not include housing. Participating in an outpatient treatment program means holding yourself accountable to commute to the program facility every day to attend counseling.

Outpatient treatment is best for clients who have already achieved sobriety but still require a therapeutic program to address their addiction problem. Most outpatient programs are structured by tiers that become less intensive as a person progresses through the program. While therapy schedules vary, a typical schedule is 5 hours per day / 6 days per week. It will taper down from there. Program features include both individual counseling and group therapy. AA meetings are typically required and a client will voluntarily submit to random drug screenings.

Outpatient treatment also focuses on building more recovery skills, including daily sobriety maintenance and crisis planning. It’s a great way to continue actively working on recovery while still maintaining independence. This type of treatment holds a lot of appeal because a client can generally continue with school or a career while completing the program. Outpatient programs also provide support if a client is trying to transition back to work or school after completing an inpatient program.

Pros of Outpatient Treatment:

  • Clients have more independence
  • It’s possible to continue with school or a career during treatment
  • Overall treatment is longer but it’s less of a time commitment each day

Treatment Length:

90+ days

Whether you have an idea about which type of treatment is right for you or not, we can help get you the answers you need. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, our specialists are available 24/7 by phone: 855-997-4702

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