When you come to terms with the fact that you need help to recover from an addiction, your next step in the process is determining what kind of help you need. Typically, people assume that inpatient addiction treatment programs are better than outpatient treatment programs. While it’s easy to see why this is a popular belief, it’s not necessarily true. In fact, each type of treatment as both benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to understand what each program entails. In the most general terms, inpatient addiction treatment is preferable for those who need help getting clean before they can go through a rehab program.

Once they get through a medically supervised detox, patients typically move into a residential treatment facility where their progress can be supervised. While an outpatient recovery program provides more freedom, it doesn’t come without its own set of responsibilities. Individuals who prove they’re unable to meet these obligations on their own may be advised to switch to an inpatient program. Those who find more success with outpatient treatment can experience the advantages this type of therapy provides, including family and community support.

What Does Inpatient Addiction Treatment Entail?

Inpatient addiction treatment is an intensive experience that helps recovering addicts adjust to sober living without distractions. They live in a facility with other recovering addicts and participate in many types of therapy. Each day, the individual has a strict schedule to follow from establishing a time to wake up in the morning and a time to go to bed in the evening. In between, the individual’s activities are monitored and organized, ensuring he attends meetings and therapy sessions. Since many people become addicted to drugs or alcohol as a means of self-medicating for mental illness, the individual is evaluated upon his or her initial intake. If the individual is found to suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any mental illness, a treatment plan will be developed that includes mental health therapy.

Additionally, peer group meetings help recovering addicts share their experiences and learn how to cope with stress and triggers that caused them to use in the past. Until family participation can be incorporated into therapy, peer group sessions help recovering addicts find a sense of emotional support. While individual sessions with a professional therapist help the individual confront the issues that led to the addiction, peer support helps by providing understanding and encouragement to stay sober.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment is a Little Different

While outpatient addiction therapy varies in that you don’t have to move into a facility full-time, it’s a mistake to assume it isn’t an intensive treatment program. You must adhere to a schedule of therapy sessions just like inpatient treatment, which means you will be in the facility for up to eight hours a day. Most outpatient programs also require you to submit to either random drug tests or daily tests to ensure you’re adhering to the no-tolerance sobriety mandate. As with inpatient treatment, you’ll attend one on one therapy and peer group meetings to help you deal with your addiction.

The big difference is that you can leave at the end of your day’s therapy sessions. This allows patients to continue working or to meet parenting obligations while attending therapy. Many facilities offer flexible scheduling to allow for night sessions, so patients can maintain daytime work schedules and family responsibilities. Outpatient treatment provides the added perk of allowing recovering addicts to benefit from family support. This helps family members understand what’s involved in recovery while giving the recovering addict the support of loved ones that help reduce the risks of relapse.

Comparing Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

A quick overview of the differences between treatment programs can make it easier to determine which program is best for your situation. Inpatient features include:

  • Patient lives in the facility
  • Treatment is more expensive
  • 24 hour medical support
  • Programs are short, lasting from 28 days to six months
  • More successful in treating serious addictions

Outpatient features include:

  • Patient lives at home and attends daily therapy sessions
  • Treatment is less expensive
  • Patient can rely on family and social support networks
  • Treatment programs are longer, lasting from three months to a year
  • Daily treatment sessions can last up to 10 or 12 hours a day
  • Works best with mild addictions

If you’re considering treatment, it’s important to select the program that will work best for you. By contacting one of our counselors at 770-299-1677, you can discuss your addiction openly and find out which program will give you the best chance of a sustained recovery. Our goal is to help you get the assistance you need as soon as possible, so you can reach one of our counselors 24 hours a day.