Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab: Which Is the Best Treatment Option for You? 

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on July 11, 2022.

Choosing to receive treatment for substance-related issues is a courageous step toward recovery. But recovery is an ongoing and sometimes unpredictable task — one that inpatient or outpatient drug rehab centers can help you through.

Both types of programs can provide detox, therapy and group counseling programs to provide treatment and help you maintain your sobriety. The main difference is that inpatient drug rehab is offered in a supervised setting, whereas you can attend outpatient programs while living at home.

Neither plan is better or more effective than the other. Your needs will determine which is right for you. Learn about inpatient vs. outpatient rehab programs to discover how you can receive help and support.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient programs provide flexibility and professional care. This type of care involves:

  • Daily treatment at a facility: Outpatient programs provide a structured daily treatment plan that involves individual therapy, counseling or group sessions at an intensity that depends on your needs.
  • Living at home while in recovery: Those who choose outpatient drug rehab can continue living at home while receiving treatment. You might care for children or family members, go to work or stay on track at school while overcoming your addiction.
  • Step-down approach: Outpatient programs use a step-down system, which means group counseling or individual therapy sessions will become less intensive and frequent as you learn and grow throughout treatment. Professionals will track your progress and customize it based on your needs.

In outpatient care centers, you'll work with therapists, doctors, group counselors and peers. In group counseling, you'll have the opportunity to listen to and learn from others while offering support and encouragement to those struggling similarly. You'll also learn coping mechanisms and healthy hobbies to replace substance use habits.

Doctors will create a personalized treatment plan depending on your unique situation. These programs are designed to help clients overcome substance use disorder and maintain long-term recovery. You'll identify triggers and gain aftercare tips to stay sober post-treatment. You might also receive medication and therapy for co-existing conditions such as depression or anxiety while in outpatient care.

Outpatient programs typically cost less, though support is less intensive. You can also use these programs alongside other forms of treatment, such as partial hospitalization or residential treatment programs. They allow clients to seamlessly transition back into their daily lives while recovering from substance use.

Who Is It For?

The recovery process can be challenging and unpredictable, which is why outpatient care programs can be highly beneficial for many people. You might do well in outpatient rehab if you:

  1. Require flexibility: One of the benefits of outpatient drug rehab programs is the ability to receive treatment while living at home. This allows you to keep up with your daily obligations, enjoy less-intensive care and create a treatment schedule on the days and times that work for you.
  2. Have a strong support network: Family and friends make a big difference in recovery. If you have a strong support network, you'll be able to attend therapy and receive encouragement from loved ones every step of the way.
  3. Can maintain long-term sobriety on your own: While living at home is one of the main benefits of outpatient care, it only works if you can maintain your sobriety for days at a time. Since outpatient programs are less intensive and don't involve around-the-clock supervision, you'll get the most out of your treatment if you already have healthy habits in place to avoid relapse.
  4. Have undergone previous treatment: If you've undergone previous treatment and have the coping mechanisms to avoid triggers, outpatient programs can provide the ongoing support and aftercare you desire.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient, or residential care centers, provide addiction treatment in a safe and supervised setting. If you choose inpatient care, you can expect:

  • Supervised, live-in care: At residential treatment centers, you'll live at the facility and receive around-the-clock supervision and care from highly-qualified doctors, therapists or counselors. Many treatment centers also include amenities such as fully-furnished rooms, swimming pools and on-site laundry.
  • Intensive therapy and treatment: Inpatient drug rehab is generally more intensive and frequent than outpatient care. You might receive detox and attend individual and group therapy sessions while living with others recovering from substance use disorder.
  • Treatment for severe conditions: Residential treatment is effective for those who require treatment for tough issues and can be helpful for those first entering recovery. You can receive medical treatment and therapy for co-occurring disorders such as major depression, anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) while in residential care.

Who Is It For?

Inpatient treatment programs allow you to take a step back from daily responsibilities and focus solely on your recovery. Individuals who might benefit the most from inpatient care include:

  • Those with more severe health issues: In residential treatment centers, you'll have constant supervision and help from highly-qualified doctors, therapists or counselors. These professionals are experienced and well-equipped to make your recovery process as safe and comfortable as possible. They're also trained to handle difficult situations or potential disruptions to your recovery.
  • Those who need intensive care: If this is the first step of your recovery process, you might require medically-assisted detox and therapy. Doctors will design a medical plan to ensure a safe and supervised detox to remove substances from your system and improve your health.
  • Those without a strong support network: One of the primary benefits of inpatient care is the supportive, non-judgmental approach they take to aid your recovery. You'll have help and encouragement from peers, doctors and therapists who have your best interests in mind. If you don't have the strongest support network at home, inpatient drug rehab might be ideal.
  • Those worried about potential triggers: Residential rehab centers provide comfortable, supervised recovery programs in a setting free of potentially triggering situations. In therapy, you'll learn how to identify triggers to avoid relapse and maintain long-term sobriety after treatment ends.

Learn More About Diamond House Detox's Treatment Programs

When you're ready to overcome addiction and take back your life, Diamond Detox is here for you. Our highly-trained doctors and therapists take a compassionate, discrete approach to your treatment with a custom recovery plan for your needs. Whether you require the intensity and security of inpatient care or the flexibility and affordability of outpatient treatment, you'll find support in a safe and comfortable setting.

We provide the same level of insight and commitment to both types of programs. Our top priority is to help you start and stay on your path to recovery.

If you or a loved one is struggling, learn more about our addiction treatment services today.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Diamond House Detox
Vicky is a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She began her nursing career in healthcare by working in the intensive care unit, and then an inpatient psychiatric hospital. After realizing the mental health needs of both the patients and the families she served, she became a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Throughout her experience working with clients, she has developed a passion for those with dual diagnoses and specializes in helping individuals recognize the issues driving their substance use. This recognition has been crucial to the individual’s success in treatment. Vicky opened Diamond House Detox so that she can address these issues early on in a therapeutic environment to allow clients to transition to the next level in their recovery.
Vicky Magobet