Is Inpatient Rehab a Better Choice than Outpatient Rehab?

Drug and alcohol addiction can damage your health, relationships, and opportunities for the future. Most people with addiction require comprehensive, compassionate treatment and ongoing support to recover and live healthy, sober lives.

Seeking substance abuse treatment can be life-changing, but finding the right type of care to meet your needs is important. One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when choosing a treatment program is whether to seek inpatient or outpatient rehab.

This guide will outline what happens in both inpatient and outpatient programs. If you need to find supportive, empowering substance abuse treatment, reach out to the Arise Treatment Center team to explore our rehab programs.

An Overview of Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab Programs

All substance abuse treatment programs aim to provide effective treatments that allow people to overcome the complex physical, emotional, and behavioral aspects of their addiction. No two people have the same experiences or needs, so it’s important to tailor treatment programs for each person in recovery.

To meet varying needs, addiction treatment programs are available in many settings and several levels of care. There are two primary levels of addiction treatment: inpatient and outpatient.

Inpatient rehab

Inpatient treatment programs offer intensive treatment services and round-the-clock supervision for people with severe addictions. Many people begin their recovery journey in an inpatient program that includes medically-supervised detox services.

In an inpatient program–also called a residential program–patients live in the treatment facility and participate in several hours of treatment each day. Inpatient treatment is ideal for people with deeply-rooted addictions, co-occurring mental illnesses, and those who lack access to safe, stable housing.

Some inpatient programs offer luxurious amenities, such as professional chefs on-site, spa services, and access to yoga classes, massage, and more. Others provide a more hospital-like setting with fewer high-end amenities. Regardless of type, inpatient treatment programs offer a safe, secure, and supportive environment for people who need intensive addiction treatment.

Outpatient rehab

In an outpatient rehab program, people participate in treatment activities in a rehab facility but live at home. Outpatient rehab programs are more flexible than inpatient treatment, allowing people the freedom to work, socialize, and engage in hobbies while getting the help they need.

There are several levels of outpatient rehab, including:

  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs)–patients typically engage in 5 to 6 hours of daily treatment most days of the week
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs)–patients participate in treatment for about 3 hours each day on 3 to 5 days per week
  • Outpatient detox programs–patients check in regularly during the detox process for medical and mental health assessments

Some people start in an outpatient rehab program, while others transition to outpatient care after inpatient treatment. People must meet specific criteria before selecting outpatient care, including having access to reliable transportation and stable housing. People must also be free of intense cravings and be motivated to engage in treatment.

The Benefits of Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab Programs

Inpatient and outpatient rehab programs offer different levels of care and benefits. Ultimately, the best level of care for you is the one that can meet your needs and help you achieve your unique goals.

Here are some of the benefits of both levels of care.

Benefits of inpatient rehab

Some of the benefits of inpatient rehab include:

  • Intensive treatment
  • Constant supervision and access to care
  • A safe, controlled environment
  • Mental health and medical treatment as needed
  • Adequate time in treatment
  • Ability to focus completely on recovery
  • A community of peers and staff

Benefits of outpatient rehab

Some of the benefits of outpatient rehab include:

  • Flexibility to work and care for family members
  • Staying connected to your support system
  • Freedom to socialize and engage in hobbies during treatment
  • Ability to practice relapse prevention skills in your daily life

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab Success Rates

Determining the long-term success rates of inpatient and outpatient rehab programs can be challenging. Some of the research into the success rates of addiction treatment programs don’t take into account people who require inpatient rehab services because of the severity of their addiction or mental illness.

Typically, people in inpatient programs spend more time engaging in therapeutic activities like:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Education sessions

Because the level of treatment is more intensive, inpatient rehab programs are typically shorter than outpatient programs.

On the other hand, outpatient rehab provides flexibility and freedom that people enjoy. Those in outpatient rehab programs can often balance the demands of work, home, and treatment activities. So, which level of care is right for you?

Before beginning a treatment plan, a doctor or addiction specialist will assess your needs by giving you a substance abuse evaluation. This assessment will include a physical exam, lab testing, and questions about your substance use, family history, and more.

The results of this assessment will help your treatment team determine whether you require inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Find Help Now

If you or someone you love needs treatment to overcome addiction or support in recovery, reach out to the Arise Treatment Center specialists today. Our holistic, comprehensive treatment programs empower people as they work toward the healthier, more fulfilling futures they choose. Don’t wait another day to get the help you deserve. Call us today to start your recovery journey.


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