The Differences Between Inpatient Treatment and Outpatient Treatment

When you’ve reached a point where you feel hopelessly trapped inside a drug or alcohol problem, it can be bewildering. There comes a time when you must begin by being honest with yourself. Substance abuse is treatable, but only if you seek help.

Once you make that single most critical step, you will find there is hope, and it comes in the form of treatment choices. Being close-minded about your problem is an obstacle toward recovery. Once you overcome this first hurdle, you’ll be presented with a couple of options.

There are fabulous professionals working at treatment facilities that can craft a treatment plan for your recovery. Two options you have for your treatment program are inpatient treatment or outpatient. Here are the differences between the two most common treatment choices, so you can decide which one is best for you.

The Basics of Residential Treatment

Your physical residence during the beginning stages of your treatment is the key difference between the programs. An important consideration between inpatient and outpatient treatment is where you’ll live during this phase in your recovery program.

Clients who elect an inpatient program will reside at the treatment facility for a prescribed length of time. This time structure is something that you will work through in an initial meeting with a trained counselor. However, there are some factors to keep in mind when considering the length of your residential treatment plan.

  • Nature of Your Substance Abuse – Certain types of narcotics and excessive abuse of drugs or alcohol invariably require longer residential treatment programs. This is an aspect of choosing between inpatient and outpatient that requires your rigorous honesty.
  • The Length of Time of Your Substance Abuse – Considering how long you’ve been abusing drugs or alcohol isn’t important by itself. When it does become an essential concern, is when the length of time of your substance abuse is extensive. This factor can also change depending on the individual.
  • The Nature of any Legal Consequences – Frequently, if your substance abuse issues have generated legal issues in your life, the court system may be the final determining factor. As part of a court arrangement, a decision will be in place on not only which treatment plan you must choose, but how long your treatment plan will be.

The Basics of an Outpatient Treatment Plan

As mentioned, the key difference between the two roads to recovery through treatment are where you live while you’re getting treatment. There are some considerations to take into account when deciding on outpatient over inpatient.

If any of the most serious substance abuse factors are present, you may wish to rethink outpatient treatment as an option. Here are some other elements of outpatient treatment that may make it a viable option when there is still some latitude in your choice.

  • The Intensity of Your Substance Abuse Problems – If you’re a client who a counselor feels hasn’t quite reached a dangerous level of substance abuse, you may be a candidate for an outpatient treatment plan.
  • The Nature of Your Employment – This can become a factor in making a final decision between an inpatient plan and outpatient services.
  • Health Issues – Sometimes health issues have been created by your substance abuse. While many treatment facilities can handle basic health concerns, you may be recommended for outpatient treatment if you have certain health issues that require constant monitoring.
  • Family Commitments – While your family should always be factored into your recovery decisions, sometimes it can be a struggle to leave your family for a sustained period of time to enter a residential facility. Again, recovery will need to be your ultimate priority, but certain types of home and family commitments can help you decide which treatment plan will work best.

Other Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

There are other factors that come into play when choosing between inpatient treatment and an outpatient plan. When discussing the severity of your substance abuse, you may elect outpatient treatment if it’s your first attempt at recovery.

  • Not the First Attempt at Recovery – If you’ve already tried an outpatient structured plan and it was not successful, you must weigh this as a strong indicator you may require something more. You may benefit from the elements of recovery that only a residential facility can provide.
  • Environmental Triggers at Home – There is also the environmental factor of where you live and what your surroundings are at home. When you live in an area where you are surrounded by substance abuse, sometimes the only solution is to get out of that environment.

When triggers are constantly present, it can be extremely difficult to prevent a relapse. Sure, there are going to be triggers abounding after you finish a period of inpatient residential treatment, but you’ll build a solid framework to help you address these scary triggers.

  • 24-Hour Support – Another aspect of an inpatient plan is the level of support you need. Outpatient plans will provide you with a strong infrastructure of support, but it is not quite at the same level of a residential facility. When you elect to choose an inpatient residential facility for your treatment, you’ll have 24-hour support from staff and other clients.
  • A Recovery Family for Life – An outpatient treatment plan will provide you with an excellent support system. However, inpatient residential facilities offer another level of relationships. You will not only develop unique bonds with the staff, but you could even establish family-like friendships that can last a lifetime.

Outpatient plans can be successful in beginning a life without the need for drugs or alcohol. However, an outpatient program simply cannot replicate the 24/7 support available at a residential facility.

Each of these elements will play a role in determining which treatment plan you should choose. Since the ramifications of substance abuse can be life-threatening, sometimes it’s best to use caution when making this decision. One thing you should never do is make it alone.

Making the choice between inpatient or outpatient treatment can be confusing. There is always a compassionate admissions staff member available at St John’s Recovery Place to help guide you towards the best choice for you. Whatever you do, don’t put the call off. Substance abuse can be a lonely place, but help is only a phone call away. Make that call today.

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