Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment: Discussing the Choice

by Jan 7, 2019SUD Resources0 comments

When exploring options for treating substance abuse disorder – specifically that of inpatient vs. outpatient care – there are several factors to consider. This blog provides insights that will help you in deciding on which is best for you or your loved one.

Inpatient treatment entails the patient staying in the treatment facility for a closely monitored recovery. Along with 24-hour medical and emotional support, inpatient care provides a living structure designed to modify addictive behavioral habits by eliminating the distractions from recovery and “triggers” to relapse that were present in the patient’s living situation.

Inpatient treatment may last from 28 days to 6 months, depending on the patient’s circumstances. Along with potentially significant expense, inpatient care means a disruption to one ’s personal and work life, so it is important to speak with employers as well as family members about this option prior to taking action. It is also important to keep in mind that remaining in inpatient treatment throughout the entire prescribed time will give the recovering patient a better chance to succeed, so it is essential to plan for a substantial amount of time in treatment. And following their inpatient treatment, the individual will be referred to outpatient treatment and/or aftercare programs to help reduce the risk of relapse once they leave the residential setting.

The outpatient substance abuse treatment option includes a variety of recovery programs Commonly, outpatient programs entail visiting a treatment facility for education and counseling on achieving recovery, for 10 -12 hrs per week over a period of 3 months to 1 year. Along with being more affordable than inpatient treatment, this approach is less disruptive to one’s living situation and does not limit social interaction with family and friends or cause one to change their work hours, as recovery sessions and meetings can generally be scheduled to accommodate one’s schedule.

In outpatient programs, counseling and education are tailored to the individual patient’s characteristics and needs. Some outpatient programs are also designed to treat patients with medical or other mental health problems in addition to their use disorders. 12 Step groups may be used as part of the outpatient program to provide another layer of recovery to the individual. Addiction is a chronic illness, and recovery is a lifelong process. Medical professionals, mental health counselors and community groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can teach the necessary skills to avoid relapse.

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