Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab: Which is Best For You?

In the United States, one person dies every twenty minutes from a drug overdose. And sadly, these numbers are only increasing as time passes.

Many people have ideas and plans on how to curb this problem. The newest government legislation believes threatening people with increased jail time can solve the problems. Some people believe that trading in addictions for legal marijuana.

But this too can result in conflict. Because marijuana is often just trading one addiction for another.

Addiction is a disease. And like any other disease, it is one that requires treatment. The most common form of treatments can include going to groups. But a successful alternative is rehabilitation.

Inpatient and Outpatient rehab show a 30% success rate for patients who complete the programs.

But which is best for you? Let's look at inpatient vs. outpatient rehab options and advantages.

What are the Main Differences When Between Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab?

While the labels of these rehabilitations may make this answer appear obvious, there are more than just geographical differences when it comes to inpatient treatment and outpatient rehab work.

Inpatient Treatment:

The most defining trait of inpatient rehab is that the person stays in a facility. Facility types vary. Some are cabins in the woods, and others are more traditional with a hospital appeal to them.

The time at these facilities can vary as well. Some programs last about 28 days. But they can last anywhere from 90 days to six months through a year. Remember when you are looking at programs to make your comfort a priority, and this includes timewise.

One of the many benefits of choosing inpatient substance abuse treatment is that it often gives patients a safe space to detox. Detoxing can be harder at home because one often has easier access to people and places where they can obtain a substance.

However, this is not an option when you choose inpatient treatment,

Detoxing via an inpatient program can also be easier because many inpatient treatment locations can provide medications to make this process easier on your body. However, this is not always the case with all facilities. So if this is a perk you want, it is best to ask before you go.

Outpatient Treatment:

Outpatient treatment allows recovering addicts to live at home. It is very common that they can continue with particular parts of their everyday. For example, several people who choose outpatient still go to work and school during their treatment.

These individuals will usually be expected to commit about ten to twelve hours a week to outpatient rehab work. They will attend individual and group therapy once or more times a week.

There are several forms of therapy that can be used for outpatient rehab for substance abuse. Some of the most common ones are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Contingency Management, Motivational Interviewing, Matrix Model, and Multidimensional Family Therapy.

Pros and Cons of Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

Pros and Cons of Inpatient Treatment

Pros: An inpatient treatment environment is going to stay sober and stable. It is much harder to have access to drugs and alcohol, and in turn, inpatient facilities have a higher success rate.

There are always doctors and psychiatrists on hand at almost all rehabilitation facilities. This may not seem like too big of a deal to you right now. But a body going through withdrawal goes through some long, and sometimes recurring, mental and physical health side effects.

You have a built-in support system at an inpatient facility. The people around are either other people trying to recover or the support staff trying to help everyone get better.

There is a reduction in stress and triggers that can result in relapse because everyone around is either fighting the same battle or there to help you fight yours.

Cons: Inpatient treatment is an intense form of therapy for a reason: for you to get the most help when you need it. Therefore, you often have limited time to the people you are close to. You are also separated from your day-to-day responsibilities like work, home, and school, and this is not realistic for all people who are trying to recover.

Because of all the amenities often needed for inpatient treatment, it can cost more than other forms of treatment. If you have questions about how to get help pay for such amenities, there are resources available to help.

Pros and Cons of Outpatient Treatment

Pros: Outpatient rehab for substance abuse is a cheaper option because you do not have to pay for room and board. It also allows you to continue your cash flow by attending work (or school) while receiving care.

You will have access to your friends and family members. And for many people, this means having a stronger support system.

Outpatient also allows you to deal with reality and relapse prevention in real time. Because while you are receiving treatment, you are dealing with the stressors of your everyday life.

Cons: With outpatient rehab, you do not have access to twenty-four hour a day care. And for several people, being in outpatient treatment can be a hostile environment for their addiction. One has easier access to substances, and in turn, has a higher chance of relapsing if something tempting or stressful happens.

One of the most concerning factors with outpatient treatment is detoxification. With some substances, you are putting your body in a dire situation. If a person is not careful with where and how they detox, the consequences can literally be deadly.

The Road to Recovery

Recovering is not easy for anyone, but trying to face your addiction alone is harder.

Whether a person chooses inpatient vs. outpatient rehab, in the long run, they need to do what is best for themselves as an individual.

Getting help can be a scary feeling, but not getting help can be a death sentence.

If you feel like you are ready to get help, take some time to look at your options, and contact the resources available to you.

Ready for a change? Please feel free to contact us.



Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on October 5th, 2018.

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
Latest posts by Vicky Magobet (see all)