Today, the National Survey on Substance Use and Mental Health indicates that some 43.7 million Americans over the age of 12 need substance use treatment – or rehab. For many of us, going to treatment is a long and complex process, often involving research as we learn what treatment options are available, what they are for, and what kind of treatment we need. Whether you’re looking for yourself or for a loved one, making those choices can be difficult – especially if many of the words and therapy options are new to you.
Choosing between inpatient and outpatient rehab can be one of the first choices you have to make. And, while your admissions advisor will help, it’s important that you be able to make an informed decision.
Inpatient and outpatient rehab are exactly what they might sound like:
Of course, differences are more complex than that, as time spent on location impacts your daily life, what treatment you have access to, your exposure to peers, and your exposure to staff.
When most people think about rehab, they picture inpatient care. The classic “28 day” program of the 90s is also inpatient care. Today, rehab is much more versatile, with treatment options ranging from 14 days to over 18 months depending on the type of treatment.
However, all programs have one thing in common – you stay on location at the clinic, enabling 24/7 medical monitoring, constant contact with therapists and counselors, and removal from triggers and potential relapse during the initial recovery period.
Of course, these options vary significantly from treatment center to treatment center. So, it’s always a good idea to specifically ask what’s included in inpatient care at your facility.
Outpatient rehab normally involves staying at home or in a nearby sober living facility while going to treatment. Here, you’ll normally receive 12+ weeks of daily or 5 days per week sessions. These sessions are either during the day (9 AM to 3 PM) or at night (6 PM to 10 PM) but usually designed to allow you to either attend while children are at school or after you get off work.
That makes this treatment option more accessible if you can’t get away from responsibilities for the duration of treatment or, for example, if you can’t afford a leave from work.
With outpatient treatment, you attend therapy at a clinic or facility, which typically involves going to that facility 5 or more days per week for the full duration of the program. In addition, it includes everything from inpatient care but normally minus the amenities, social living, and close supervision and customization of inpatient programs.
Outpatient programs can be significantly customized, may have outings with peers, and may significantly involve group peers.
Most people can choose between inpatient and outpatient care based on their needs, addiction, and budget. For example, if you have tried and failed in outpatient rehab before, it’s probably a good idea to go to rehab in an inpatient setting. If you have children who are in school and no options to have someone else take care of them for the duration, you may prefer outpatient care. Here, outpatient care is comparable to inpatient care for light to moderate addictions – meaning there may be no reason to go with inpatient care, unless you specifically want the extra support and removable from relapse options.
However, inpatient care offers detox, ongoing medical monitoring, and it does keep you in a sober living facility with your peers. That means more support, fewer options to relapse, and more opportunities to learn from therapists and counselors and from your peers.
In many cases, inpatient care can be the superior option, especially if you’ve had issues relapsing in the past, have a severe addiction, or show severe seeking behavior. If you still aren’t sure, you can ask the counselor at your chosen rehab center for more advice.
Going to rehab is a big step but it is one that will improve your life. That’s true whether you choose inpatient or outpatient care, because both will give you support, counseling, and skills to deal with cravings. In addition, many people choose to go to inpatient care first and then to outpatient care as part of ongoing aftercare, to extend the amount of time you have in treatment.
Eventually, choosing between inpatient and outpatient care depends on you and your situation. Good luck getting into treatment.
Asana Recovery is located in Orange County, California. and offers detox, residential, and outpatient addiction treatment services in our modern and comfortable addiction treatment facilities. Please contact us today to speak with one of our experienced addiction treatment team if you have any questions about our programs.