A Elements Behavioral Health Guide to Drug Rehab
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The Differences Between Outpatient and Inpatient Drug Rehab

Drug Rehab Information
The Differences Between Outpatient and Inpatient Drug Rehab

The Differences Between Outpatient and Inpatient Drug Rehab

Once the person struggling with addiction is ready to ask for help in changing their life, they will be faced with a major decision: should they seek inpatient drug rehab or outpatient care? There are ways in which both approaches to treatment are alike and ways in which they differ. There are advantages to each approach just as there are certain drawbacks on both sides. Understanding how the two approaches compare can be helpful in deciding which is best suited to the person and their situation.

Similarities in Outpatient and Inpatient Drug Rehab

Apart from their obvious shared goal of helping patients achieve a drug-free life, there are a few things inpatient and outpatient drug rehab programs have in common. Both approaches to drug rehab rely on group and individual therapy programs. Addiction is more than mere physical dependency. There are underlying causes which lead to addiction and there are triggers which spark addictive behavior.

Therapy helps the person addicted and those closest to him/her to recognize these and address them in positive ways. Addiction never affects only the person who abuses, but touches everyone around them. Therapy is usually made available to spouses and family members to help them work through issues as well as become more educated about addiction and recovery.

Differences in Outpatient and Inpatient Drug Rehab

The main difference between the two treatment methods has to do with where the patient resides. Outpatient drug rehab allows the patient to continue living in their present home situation. The number of hours/days required for outpatient treatment varies according to treatment guidelines and the individual’s needs. Inpatient drug rehab requires the patient to live 24 hours/day at the treatment facility. Most inpatient treatment programs last three to six weeks though some are several months in duration. The length of treatment depends upon the facility policies.


Before deciding to enroll in either an inpatient or outpatient drug rehab program, consider the following:

  • Inpatient care is usually expensive.
  • Outpatient care usually costs less and allows the person to continue working and providing for their family. 85 percent of people in recovery programs choose outpatient care.
  • Inpatient care provides an environment free from the negative influences which are the leading cause of relapse.
  • Outpatient care cannot remove all the negative influences.
  • Inpatient care allows the person to focus entirely on recovery.
  • Outpatient care requires that the person be able to cope with the daily demands of life while they are working on recovery – not something that everyone can do.

While weighing the pros and cons of alternative drug rehab treatments will aid the person addicted and his/her loved ones in making the wisest choice, nothing is more important than the overall commitment to the program. Whichever drug rehab environment is decided upon, nothing will produce success unless the person is 100 percent invested in the recovery process. Inpatient or outpatient is not as important as the commitment to beat addiction and live sober.


We Understand Your Confusion

What type of drug rehab is right for me? Will my loved one stay in treatment long enough to get the benefits of rehab? Will my insurance cover drug rehab?

You have questions. We have answers.

Take some time to review DrugRehab.us and learn about your treatment options. If at any time you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or confused, please pick up the phone. Our expert advisers are here to help.

Whether you decide on an outpatient drug treatment program or an inpatient residential drug rehab, you are making a choice to move forward with your life. You are choosing to reclaim your life from drugs and alcohol.