One of the biggest defining factors in the overall success of drug addiction treatment is the individual. In order to have the best chance at long term recovery from drug abuse, one needs to select the best treatment option for them. In order to do this they will need to have a thorough understanding of the treatment options available and how they differ in terms of combatting drug and alcohol addiction.
In this article, we’re going to look at inpatient vs outpatient treatment so that you can decide which of the two is better suited to your individual circumstances.
Difference between inpatient and outpatient Drug Rehab
So, what is the different between inpatient and outpatient care? Read on and we will outline what both treatment types are, how they work, and what you can expect from each of them.
What is inpatient treatment?
What is inpatient rehab treatment? Inpatient recovery programmes (aka residential rehab), requires that a patient be checked into a controlled rehab facility in order to combat and overcome their addictions.
When taking part in inpatient addiction treatment programmes, the addicted individual will stay at the inpatient rehab clinic in question and receive 24-hour medical supervision and emotional support from licenced medical professionals.
The duration of treatment will vary from one individual to another, typically ranging from 28-days to 6-months.
Depending on the severity of the addiction, inpatient rehab treatment might be the preferred option.
How inpatient drug rehab works
The first step to take with inpatient rehab is preparing for time away from your life. Once you have an entry date for rehab, it is important that you take your time to have your affairs in order and that your family, friends, and employer know what to expect.
- Speak with your employer and arrange the appropriate length of time off work
- Arrange suitable living arrangements for your children or other family members, if necessary
- Figure out how you will be getting to the rehab facility and then returning home afterwards
- Speaking with your rehab centre and finding out which items are allowed and which are not so that you can pack appropriately.
Related: What is a rehabilitation centre
Family support system and how contact works during inpatient rehab
The best inpatient rehab clinics understand that having the family involved in the process is crucial to a patient’s recovery. As such, you will be pleased to learn that family members can remain in contact with their loved ones in residential treatment facilities, in order to offer emotional support and further encouragement.
The frequency at which family members can contact a rehab patient will vary from one facility to another. This is why it is important to speak with your chosen treatment facility in advance and figure out a visitation plan, for the best results.
A brief glance at daily life as an inpatient
While you undergo your inpatient treatment, you will be able to focus entirely on getting well and returning to sober life without any distractions. On a typical day in a residential treatment facility, you will have a structured routine with all of your movements carefully accounted for.
You will meet with psychologists, counsellors, and medical professionals individually, and as a group. That way you can explore any underlying mental health issues, attend family therapy, take part in group therapy, and work on coping mechanisms to help you stay sober.
In the early stages on an inpatient treatment programme, you will begin with a medically assisted drug detox. A medical professional and addiction specialist will be present to monitor the patients’ vitals as the drugs are flushed out of their system.
There will be some strong cravings and painful withdrawal symptoms (which is why addicts relapse so often), however, with constant medical care throughout this stage, particularly in a secure facility, it is much easier to avoid relapse. [Source]
What is outpatient treatment?
What is outpatient rehab treatment? Outpatient rehab is substantially different from inpatient treatments as the recovery programmes are far less restrictive. When you are an outpatient it is typically only required that you spend 10-to-12-hours a week visiting a local outpatient rehab facility – so as little or as long as is necessary (some people take part in outpatient treatment programmes for a year or more).
For some individuals with work and familial obligations, or perhaps do not have as severe an addiction to drugs and alcohol, outpatient care offers more flexibility.
How outpatient drug rehab works
Outpatient care sessions focus on drug abuse education. This is done with individual and group counselling, and teaching those suffering with addiction how to better cope without the need to use their drug.
Outpatient rehab can be a great standalone option for someone who only struggles with a minor addiction. Or alternatively, it can be included as part of a long term treatment programme. Again, outpatient rehab can last anywhere from 3-to-6-months and over a year in some cases.
For patients who are experiencing mild drug withdrawal symptoms, they may find outpatient care and detox a better alternative to having to commit to residential treatment.
During this time, patients must pay regular visits to a hospital or other licenced treatment facility in order to receive physical and mental health check-ups. Depending on the drug being detoxed, a medical professional might prescribe certain medications on-site in order to help alleviate some of the withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and an increased heart rate.
Social support during outpatient rehab
Outpatient rehab programmes allow those who are in recovery to remain at home with their friends and family during treatment. They will be able to continue working and remain close with their loved ones, rather than be isolated from them in a residential facility.
Outpatient treatment centres often conduct their meetings in the evening or early mornings, thus giving those taking part in their treatment programmes the freedom and flexibility to maintain their usual schedules.
Various twelve-step groups such as the UKNA (UK Narcotics Anonymous), may be used as part of the outpatient treatment, depending on the individual. Studies demonstrate that those who participate in recovery programmes such as these are much more likely to stay sober.
It is also not uncommon for individuals suffering with a substance abuse disorder to attend outpatient treatment after having completed an inpatient programme – as part of their dedication to continued recovery. After all, recovery from addiction is a lifelong process.
Which type of drug rehab should you choose?
So, which type of drug rehab should you choose? How do you decide which is the best option for you. You are likely better off speaking with an addiction treatment specialist so that they can advise you accordingly, but the decision is ultimately yours.
First, have an honest conversation with yourself and weigh up your options. How severe is your addiction? Do you believe that you will honestly be able to stay focused on your recovery as an outpatient? Or will you have a better chance of success under constant supervision, absent distraction?
It is also important to remember that inpatient treatment programmes typically cost more than outpatient rehab. This is due to the on-hand medical assistance and psychotherapy that is available at an inpatient facility. The price different shouldn’t be the deciding factor, however.
Take your time, speak with family and friends, and think carefully about what type of treatment is the most suitable to your situation. If you need further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to us today for some confidential advice.