Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Treatment For Addiction

Written by Jackie Calkins

Addiction can be a difficult and tiring journey, but there is hope for recovery. However, choosing the right treatment program can be overwhelming and you might be wondering what options are out there

Inpatient and outpatient programs are two common options in addiction treatment. Both have their advantages and disadvantages depending on your unique situation. In today’s post, we’ll explore the differences between inpatient and outpatient treatments so you can make an informed decision on which one suits your needs best.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Treatment: What’s The Difference?

When seeking addiction treatment, the first decision you’ll need to make (With a healthcare provider) is whether to go for inpatient or outpatient care. The primary difference between the two is where you will live during treatment.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment requires patients to stay at a facility full-time, typically ranging from 30 days to six months. Outpatient care allows individuals to receive services while continuing with their daily lives and staying at home, or more likely, a sober living facility.

Another significant difference between these two types of treatments is their intensity level. Inpatient programs provide round-the-clock medical supervision, intensive therapy sessions, and structured schedules that leave little room for outside distractions.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient programs offer more flexibility in terms of scheduling and allow clients to continue with their work or school commitments. However, they may not be as effective as inpatients when dealing with severe substance abuse issues that require close monitoring.

Ultimately, the choice between inpatient and outpatient treatment comes down to your individual needs and preferences. However, these decisions should never be made on expediency, and should always be discussed with an addiction specialist who can help determine which type of program is best suited for you.

Pros And Cons Of Inpatient Treatment

There are several benefits to inpatient treatment, including more intensive therapy and support from peers who are also in recovery.

One advantage of inpatient treatment is that it removes patients from their typical environment, which may have contributed to their substance abuse. This allows them to focus solely on their recovery without distractions or triggers.

Another benefit is the 24/7 medical supervision provided by healthcare professionals trained in addiction medicine. Patients can receive immediate medical attention if needed, reducing the risk of complications during detoxification or withdrawal.

However, there are also some drawbacks to inpatient treatment. For one, patients must take time off work or school to attend the program.

Being away from family and friends for an extended period can also be challenging for some individuals. In addition, being isolated from regular life circumstances may not help completely with building coping skills when returning back home after completing the program.

Pros And Cons Of Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment offers flexibility and convenience for those who may not be able to commit to inpatient treatment.

One of the main benefits of outpatient treatment is its flexibility. Patients can schedule their appointments around work, school or family obligations. They have access to support from therapists, doctors, and other healthcare professionals without having to take time off from their daily lives.

However, one disadvantage could be that the individual’s environment may trigger relapse as they are still exposed to triggers outside the facility. In addition, patients must have reliable transportation available since they will need to attend regular sessions often several times each week.

Outpatient care can provide effective addiction management for those with mild-to-moderate substance use disorders who cannot commit full-time residential care.


PHP and Intensive OUtpatient Treatment

In between outpatient counseling once a week and a full-time inpatient program there are more intensive levels of outpatient treatment. These levels of care are often used as a “step-down” from inpatient or residential treatment before a person completes their program. In some cases a patient may start their addiction treatment at one of these levels of care. These levels are the Partial Hospitalization Program or PHP and the Intensive Outpatient Program or IOP.

Both have similar features to inpatient/residential treatment, but the primary difference is they are outpatient and there are fewer hours of treatment per week. In PHP and IOP treatment, clients do not sleep overnight in a clinical/medical facility. They attend groups and therapy at the treatment center during the day.

Differences Between PHP and IOP Treatment

Treatment in PHP is usually about 4-6 hours a day, 5 times a week, so it’s still a commitment that may mean postponing school or work. IOP treatment is usually about 9-10 hours per week total, spread across 2-4 days, but programs vary. This leaves some more free time, but not as much as a conventional outpatient treatment, which is usually only once a week for 1-2 hours. 

You Can’t Get Too Much Help, But You May Get Too Little

These options allows a person suffering from addiction some options as to what will best meet their needs and fit their lifestyle. Clients in PHP or IOP programs usually live at home, if they are local, or in safe, supportive housing, but attend extensive treatment and therapy sessions at the facility. The best decision is generally to get an assessment by a professional first and then follow recommendations however.

Remember that it is impossible to get “too much help” for a problem and that the consequences of not getting enough help can be serious. It’s best to err on the side of safety and get as much help as you realistically can. This will improve your chances of remaining sober so you don’t have to attend treatment again. 

Looking For Help For Yourself or a Loved One?

Deciding between inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment can be a difficult decision. Both options have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, depending on the individual’s needs and circumstances. Remember to consider Intensive Outpatient Treatment as an option as well. 

For those who require intense, 24-hour medical supervision or have severe addictions that require detoxification, inpatient treatment may be the best option. On the other hand, outpatient programs can provide flexibility for individuals who need to maintain work or family responsibilities while seeking treatment. For people needing a level of care between the two, IOP might be the right option. 

It is important to carefully consider all factors when choosing a treatment facility including location, cost, types of therapies offered and staff qualifications. Again, these decisions should always be made in consultation with a professional addiction specialist who can help you or your loved ones understand what kind of treatment is needed and what will be the most effective.

Whatever choice is made regarding substance abuse rehabilitation should always prioritize one’s recovery journey with a focus on achieving long-term sobriety as it will positively impact not just themselves but their loved ones as well. If you’d like to speak further about our options at Journey Pure, please give us a call at (888) 985-2207.