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Inpatient vs. Outpatient Addiction Treatment Rehab

Substance abuse, addiction, and physical dependence has become one of the largest mental health problems in America. It has only become easier to gain access to powerful drugs. Alcohol has been readily available since the end of prohibition. The 24-news cycle, uncertainty about the future, and the speed of the modern world has led to increases in anxiety and depression—leading to self-medication and eventual addiction.

To respond to the increase of addiction, there has been a response of the mental health and recovery community to create new treatment modalities and methods to help people stay sober. In the modern rehab world, there are two definitive types of rehabs—inpatient and outpatient. Below is how they differ and what might be right for the person who is struggling with addiction in your life.

Inpatient Rehab Treatment

Inpatient treatment is probably what you think of when you think about addiction rehab. It is the kind that you see in the movies. Someone goes in for a month of addiction recovery treatment. Depending on the drug and how addicted the person is to it, there could be withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawals vary greatly depending on the drug and how long a person has been using it. When it comes to detox from alcohol and opioids, supervision is typically required.

After detox, the long-term recovery begins. When you go into inpatient treatment, you will spend your time in one-on-one counseling with a professional and attending group meetings. This is when you begin the 12-step program and get a sponsor. For a month, you attend daily meetings and counseling sessions to perform a variety of treatment modalities.

One of these modalities is dual diagnosis, which refers to when a person doesn’t just struggle with addiction but another co-occurring mental health disorder. This is quite common. So many people begin using drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate their mental health issues. It could be a way to forget trauma.

When you go into inpatient rehab, it can be in a more clinical setting or in a residential facility. Residential facilities are the same inpatient treatments that take place in a home. Whether you are in a house or a more medical addiction treatment center, inpatients are set apart by the fact that the patients sleep at the facility.

Outpatient Rehab Treatment

Outpatient, on the other hand, doesn’t require the patient to stay at a facility. It is an addiction treatment designed for highly functioning patients. In a way, you can think of it as rehab for working professionals. When the person needs to go to work, be with their families, and fulfill responsibilities but still needs addiction care, outpatient treatment is a great option.

With outpatient rehab, you attend counseling sessions with a therapist or individual counseling. You attend group 12-step meetings. You get a sponsor who will help guide you through the steps. The treatment can be the same, you just go home at night.

Dual diagnosis can also be utilized in outpatient treatment. During this time, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in various forms of therapy, mental health treatment, and recovery resources. Outpatient provides the freedom to try other things.

The main difference between outpatient and inpatient is that you don’t have supervision. The person needs to really want and be able to stay sober on their own at night without people watching them. While the high-functioning person addicted to drugs might be able to stop momentarily on their own, they can also start up again.

Aftercare Treatment

Whether you go into inpatient treatment for a month or begin your recovery with outpatient services, recovery doesn’t end with these treatments. After care is essential to long-term sobriety. Talk therapy with a professional can help and 12-step group meetings are always encouraged. Working with a sponsor and mental health professionals are a form of aftercare. Depending on your situation, aftercare is necessary whether you go to inpatient or outpatient.

So, which is right for you or your loved one who is struggling with addiction? When someone needs to get away from temptation and have supervision so they don’t use drugs or alcohol, inpatient is the way to go. However, if the person can benefit from the flexibility and freedom to get treatment from multiple places at once and can stay sober without overnight supervision, being an outpatient has many benefits.

Written by Eric

37-year-old who enjoys ferret racing, binge-watching boxed sets and praying. He is exciting and entertaining, but can also be very boring and a bit grumpy.

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