Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab

When you’re ready to start a treatment program, you will have to decide between an inpatient and outpatient program. Each one has advantages and disadvantages to consider. For most people, there is no right or wrong decision. It’s about choosing the route of treatment that will accommodate your personal needs and help you heal from your addiction.

Choosing between an inpatient vs outpatient treatment program is a major decision that will affect your treatment experience. Because of this, we would like to take some time to address the features and benefits of both types of programs. The River Source is proud to offer inpatient and outpatient rehab, so you can count on us to provide you with honest feedback on the two approaches.

Let’s begin!

Why Get Professional Treatment

We know more than ever before about addiction. We still have a long way to go, but the modern view of addiction is that it’s a complex brain disease that is characterized by the compulsive use of drugs or alcohol, despite negative consequences. While researchers don’t know for certain what causes addiction, it’s believed to be the “perfect storm” of genetic, environmental and behavioral factors.

In many cases, drug use starts as a voluntary behavior, usually as a form of recreation or relaxation. Not everyone gets addicted, but some do. As an addict falls deeper into the disease, changes in the brain begin to take place. Over time, addicts find it difficult to get pleasure from everyday things in life. The only thing that brings them “happiness” is getting high.

It is very difficult to stop using drugs and alcohol on your own. If you are addicted, professional help is probably needed. Not only will an addiction treatment program help you detox and withdrawal in a safe, medically supervised environment, but also you will learn new skills and coping mechanisms to navigate the world without needing your constant: drugs or alcohol.  

Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab

When making the decision to seek treatment, you have two main choices: an inpatient rehabilitation program or an outpatient rehabilitation program. Your needs and the severity of your addiction will largely drive the selection process.

  • An inpatient program requires you to live at the treatment facility. The benefit to this is that you receive around-the-clock supervision by the support staff. Whether it’s a side effect from a medication or a difficult day in recovery, the help you need is just around the corner. Additionally, a residential treatment program gets you away from everyday distractions and temptation that you might have at home.

  • An outpatient program does not require you to live at the facility. Most programs entail some type of daily treatment, but you return home to your family. The main benefit to outpatient treatment is that you can tend to your responsibilities such as work and family. This makes getting help more attractive and feasible. Outpatient care is also less expensive.

Generally speaking, inpatient programs are best for treating moderate to severe addictions. Addicts need to be in a sober, supportive, distraction-free environment so they can focus on getting better. Outpatient programs work well for recovering addicts, after an inpatient program has been completed. They provide structure and motivation for staying clean, but often aren’t enough to handle serious addictions.

Features of Inpatient Treatment

The River Source strongly recommends inpatient treatment to those who are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. We realize that outpatient care may look attractive, but severe addicts need to be able to focus on their sobriety with no distractions. By choosing a residential program like ours, you can expect the following benefits.

  • Supervised detox. The recovery process starts with detoxification. The River Source staff effectively manages side effects, keeping patients as comfortable as possible. It’s reassuring to know that you can detox safely, with access to doctors, nurses and support staff.

  • Administration of medication. If you need any type of medication, an inpatient treatment program is qualified to administer it. The River Source has a wide range of conventional and holistic medicines that we use during detox, and we can successfully treat a dual diagnosis.

  • Group and individual therapy. A large part of the treatment process involves therapy. You will start treatment with a lot of therapy, and it will taper off based on your needs. Group therapy is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with others, avoid isolation and practice empathy. Individual therapy is a time for you to learn about yourself, identify the reasons for the abuse and work toward positive changes in your life.

  • Amenities/Therapies. Treatment facilities vary. Some offer high-end services such as horseback riding, fine dining and private accommodations. Others are more practical in their offerings. The River Source has an active and engaging program schedule that includes yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, infrared sauna therapy and vitamin therapy.

  • Desirable location. Most inpatient treatment programs are located in desirable settings such as beaches, mountains and deserts. The reason for this is to offer a calm, peaceful environment to seek treatment in. It’s mentally and physically rewarding to look out at a vast desert and watch the spectacular sunsets as you reconnect with your spiritual side.

  • Supportive environment. It’s very difficult to stop the cycle of abuse when you return home to the same environment where you’ve used drugs and alcohol. Things are compounded if you have family that drink alcohol or friends that use drugs. An inpatient program removes you from this environment and puts you in a safe, sober community with people who support your recovery.

  • Distraction free. Another great benefit of inpatient rehab is that it is free from distraction and temptation. You can focus entirely on your recovery without having to worry about what’s going on at home or work. This focus provides the foundation for a successful recovery.

Features of Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient rehab appeals to many people because of its flexibility. If you need support, you can get it while still attending school, going to work or raising your family. Outpatient treatment is a wonderful extension of treatment. If you can’t afford a longer stay in a residential program, or you find that you need a bit more support in early recovery, outpatient care offers structure and stability. It can also be effective for some addicts.

The features of an outpatient treatment program are:

  • Live at home. Not having to leave your home and family is a major perk to outpatient treatment. You can receive counseling in a variety of forms, and be held accountable for your actions without having to leave your spouse or children behind.

  • Continue working. Even though addicts have rights in the workplace, it’s understandable that not everyone can leave their jobs. If you are someone who needs to keep working, you can do so with an outpatient treatment program. If you are in school, you can continue your education as well.

  • Support network. If you have a good support network at home, you might not want to leave it during treatment. Not everyone has this type of system at home, but you may. If you feel that your family can help you stay on track with your goals, outpatient treatment may make sense.

  • Therapy and education. Even though you are not living in a facility 24/7, outpatient care still provides you with essential therapy and education. You will learn many effective skills to help you lead a sober life and have the chance to practice them in the real world.

  • Less expensive. Outpatient programs tend to be less expensive than traditional residential facilities. For a family that doesn’t have a lot of money, this can be a huge factor. Luckily, many treatment facilities do accept insurance and have options to reduce the cost of care.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment: What’s Better?

Remember, it’s not about making the “right” choice but rather about the type of program that is going to serve your needs and help you achieve sobriety. We’ve highlighted the features of inpatient vs outpatient alcohol treatment and we hope that you have a better understanding of what to expect.

To summarize, intensive inpatient treatment allows for a higher likelihood of success and a reduced risk of relapse. Outpatient treatment lets you to practice relapse prevention techniques in the real world, during the treatment process.

With the benefits to both treatments, The River Source often recommends inpatient and outpatient care. We feel that the treatments can be highly effective for people with chemical addictions. It’s a time and financial investment, we do realize, but it can make all the difference between succeeding in recovery and not.

Because each person is unique, we highly recommend calling the treatment center of your choice and moving forward with an assessment. The River Source assesses all new patients so that we can confirm a diagnosis. It’s possible that you may have a co-occurring disorder such as anxiety or depression that needs to be addressed as well. When we know what we are dealing with, we can advise you of the options that will best fit your needs and help you reach your sobriety goals.