Inpatient Vs. Outpatient

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient

If you are seeking treatment for addiction, one of the initial decisions you will need to make is whether to participate in an inpatient vs. outpatient treatment program. Each approach has its advantages, share many of the same features, and can be highly effective. However, each person and their needs are unique, and therefore, and one program might ideal for some but not for others.

Residential Inpatient Treatment

Many people engaging in addiction treatment choose to participate in a residential inpatient treatment program. The defining characteristic of inpatient rehab is that the person physically stays in the facility for an entire program stay ranging from 28 to 90 days, depending on the needs of the patient.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient | Just Believe DetoxWhether a person intends to undergo inpatient or outpatient treatment, the first step in the recovery process is usually detox. Detox occurs when the patient has ceased using a substance(s), but the body still needs to rid itself of toxins.

A medical detox is recommended for several reasons – one, detox can be dangerous, and withdrawal symptoms often lead to relapse. When a person is under clinical supervision, this is prevented from happening.

Two, the patient is closely monitored, and medication can be administered to help ease many of the worst symptoms of withdrawal, including both physical and mental effects.

Many programs integrate a structured plan for detox into their treatment approach. Once detox is complete, treatment evolves into therapy and counseling, and the person begins learning the coping skills needed to remain sober.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Outpatient differs from inpatient treatment primarily in the fact that participants reside outside the center, allowing them to work, attend school, and fulfill personal responsibilities. These individuals will participate in individual and group therapy sessions each week and can meet with a psychiatrist who can administer medication if needed and attend to other mental health issues.

The care rendered in both types of programs is similar, but inpatient is understandably more intensive and requires a 100% time commitment. Outpatient programs are useful for those who can’t take time off from life to engage in treatment and have less severe addictions.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient | Just Believe DetoxBoth types of programs, if evidence-based, should include psychotherapy, counseling, and group therapy/support as integral components of treatment.

Due to individual needs and preferences, it is important to consider specific variations in the two programs to determine which program is the most suitable for each person.

Advantages of Inpatient Treatment

  • Patients undergo care in an environment that is guaranteed to be safe and stable.
  • Continual medical and mental health care is rendered throughout recovery, which is essential for severe addictions and persons with a co-occurring mental illness such as depression and anxiety.
  • Significantly reduced exposure to environmental stressors and triggers and less relapse risk as a result of living in a sober, supervised environment.
  • Daily intensive individual and group therapy sessions and continual staff support.
  • Access to holistic treatment services such as yoga, exercise, meditation, as well as art and music therapy.
  • Research has found that individuals may have a higher likelihood of success when treatment is more extended in duration and intensity.


  • Individuals have limited access to the outside world and limited visits from family and friends. Cellphones and personal electronics are not typically allowed.
  • Individuals are required to take time off work, school, and the responsibilities of daily life.
    Treatment costs are often higher due to room and board provisions.

Advantages of Outpatient Treatment

  • Lower cost of treatment.
  • Schedule flexibility and the ability to attend school, work and fulfill family obligation while receiving treatment.
  • Increased access to family and friends.
  • The ability to hone coping and relapse prevention skills in the real world during ongoing treatment.


  • Lack of 24-hour care.
  • Individual may have easier access to drugs or alcohol.
  • A higher risk of relapse due to potentially stressful situations or environments that contain triggers

Determining the Best Option – Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Addiction Treatment

There are other factors to keep in mind when you are deciding on a program in which to participate:

  • Will you be exposed to drugs or alcohol in your immediate environment?
  • Will your living environment be stable, supportive, and relatively stress-free?
  • Do you have a strong network of support that will encourage you to remain sober?
  • Can you take time off from work, school, or home responsibilities for an extended period?
  • Do you have other mental health issues that required specialized treatment such as comorbid disorders such as depression?
  • Do you have the ability to commute from home to a facility multiple times per week?
  • Do you require other specialized services such as gender-specific rehab or handicap assistance?

Finally, keep in mind that whether a program is inpatient vs. outpatient, it should address and treat all aspects of addiction and mental health disorders. It should also be evidence-based, meaning that treatments should have been the basis of multiple, repeatable studies showing their effectiveness.

Find the center or program that is accredited and staff members should have credentials, often a masters degree or higher and certifications or licenses in the fields of addiction or psychology.

You Can Get Help Today, Whatever the Decision, Recovery is Around the Corner

If you or someone you love is abusing substances, please seek treatment as soon as possible. There are many resources available to help you or your loved one. Don’t go through the process of recovery alone. Get in touch with someone who can help.

Please call us today at 877-497-6180 for a free consultation.