Inpatient vs. Outpatient Drug Treatment: How to Choose the Right Option

If you’re considering seeking treatment for drug and alcohol use and aren’t sure if you should choose inpatient or outpatient drug treatment you’ve come to the right place. A multitude of factors will influence your decision, find out more about drug treatment programs and how they can fit into your life below.

Two Options, Same Goals

Asking for help to stop drinking or drug use is courageous, even though you might be frightened of change, or don’t believe you are capable of changing. You are capable of making different choices for yourself, and you are strong enough to overcome substance use disorder, also known as addiction. Millions of Americans live every day with substance use disorder, and many never receive the help they need, about 1 in every 10 people receive treatment. 44% of people referred for rehab are from the legal system, and only 6% are from healthcare providers. To say that addiction is a serious problem in the US is an understatement, substance use disorder accounts for 20% of deaths and contributes to or causes more than 70 other medical conditions. 

So where does this leave you? Fortunately, you’ve already done the hard work of evaluating your life, and have realized you need to make changes. That’s why you’ve been researching drug treatment and have ended up on this page right? The good news is that admitting to yourself and others that your drinking or drug use is affecting your life and relationships is a huge step toward recovery. This brings us now to the topic of drug treatment programs, and how to pick which one will work for you.

A drug treatment program aims to provide support while undergoing therapy and to set you up with the skills you need to handle strong emotions positively. What that support looks like varies with each program, but the goal is the same to help you succeed in your recovery. 

Inpatient Treatment Basics

As the name suggests an inpatient drug treatment program is a program where you stay at the treatment facility. The facility will have 24/7 medical supervision with nurses on duty, and a doctor on call after hours. You might have your bedroom, or you might share a bedroom with another patient. You’ll spend the majority of your day attending therapy sessions such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT is one of the most common therapies used in addiction treatment. CBT aims to diminish the symptoms of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression by helping a patient discover the thoughts and feelings that motivate them to engage in certain behaviors. Once these feelings and thoughts have been identified your therapist will work with you to challenge unhelpful or untrue thoughts, leading to a new way of thinking.
  • Biofeedback therapy. Using sensors on the skin to monitor brain waves your therapist will look for patterns in your brain, and allow them to recommend techniques to change these patterns.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy. DBT is a form of CBT  that helps you learn to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with strong emotions, improve your interpersonal relationships, and regulate your emotions without turning to alcohol or drugs. During DBT you’ll learn how to build emotional resilience through talk therapy.
  • Anger management. During anger management therapy you’ll learn to prevent and control your anger while acknowledging feelings of frustration or fear.
  • Psychodynamic therapy. This type of therapy focuses on the subconscious mind, bringing suppressed thoughts and emotions out and examining the impact they may have on your substance use disorder.
  •  Experiential therapy. This non-traditional form of therapy is highly tailored to each individual and will be different for everyone. It may include things like art therapy, music therapy, hiking outdoors, and even rock climbing. The goal is to allow you to express yourself healthily and build skills.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy. This type of therapy encourages you to challenge negative thought patterns, and replace them with a solid recovery plan. 
  • Holistic therapies. Offered alongside clinical treatment holistic therapies such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness exercises to help promote a sense of well-being.

Needless to say, inpatient therapy is an intensive, structured experience that offers many benefits to those aiming for recovery. If you decide inpatient drug treatment is right for you expect to spend full days attending solo and group therapy sessions, and nights relaxing in our facility building friendships with other patients, or at sober living housing. The typical length of stay in inpatient rehab is 30 days, however, longer periods of 60 to 90 days are also available to those who feel they need it.

The Intake Process for Inpatient Drug Rehab: What You Should Know

Outpatient Treatment Basics

Again the name is the clue here, if you choose outpatient drug treatment programs you’ll attend therapy in the daytime at our facility, but return to your own home at night. The same therapies are offered as an inpatient program, except that you may only attend half a day rather than a full one depending on your needs. While in our outpatient program, you’ll also participate in group sessions on various topics like

  • Daily Goals. The overall goal of this group is centered on your vision of their goals, what is important to you, your concerns, strengths, and resources, your motivational level and confidence, and your continued progress toward reaching their goals.
  • Life Skills. Throughout this group, patients are encouraged to identify and practice the skills to live their life self-sufficiently and independently. Discussing everyday and essential skills like cooking food, cleaning your personal space, balancing a personal budget, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, finding work, succeeding in a job, mastering interpersonal skills and communication techniques, and exercising proper behavior within social, relationship, and vocational spheres.
  • Seeking Safety. A Weekly group focused on the Seeking Safety Model, which is an evidence-based treatment for PTSD, substance abuse, and other problem behaviors that stem from emotional dysregulation. With a primary emphasis on establishing safety, each week the group covers one of several topics that address coping skills relevant to these disorders
  • 12 Steps Principles. Weekly group dedicated to exploring and discussing the spiritual principles of recovery, as guiding principles that correspond to the original 12 steps of 12-step recovery programs
  • Healing through Creativity. Weekly Creative Expression group focused on exploring the many ways that we experience life, pain, and healing by integrating art and creativity.
  • Psycho-education. The group focuses on receiving education about individual disorders and different ways of coping.
  • Health and Wellness. Weekly group focused on increasing knowledge of the different aspects of health including: emotional, physical, and psychological.
  • Nutrition Education. Education focused on nutrition and wellness.
  • Denial Management. The group focuses on learning how to identify the thoughts, feelings, urges, actions, and social reactions associated with denial patterns, and how these patterns might affect one’s ability to sustain sobriety.
  • Relapse Prevention. The group focuses on developing the skills to manage relapse triggers, in addition to increasing awareness of personal relapse warning signs and learning to manage them.
  • Health Awareness. Weekly group facilitated by a medical provider in which patients receive information related to HIV, Hep C, Covid-19, Medication Compliance, and other topics.
  • Aftercare Planning. Weekly group facilitated by case managers and focused on increasing ones undersign of aftercare planning as the foundation for ongoing recovery.
  • Cognitive Restructuring. The group focuses on learning to identify and dispute irrational or maladaptive thoughts known as cognitive distortions.
  • Strength Building. A weekly group focused on increasing positive emotions and personal strengths
  • Social Skills. Group focus on learning and practicing social skills so they can become socially competent, improve communication, develop refusal skills, and overall improve social skills and social confidence.

How to Get Your Loved One Into Drug and Alcohol Rehab

Who Should Consider Inpatient Treatment?

Inpatient treatment programs are a great option for anyone that has the time to dedicate themselves fully to recovery. It’s also a great way to bridge from a medical detox back into society. Medical detox is needed for anyone experiencing severe addiction, or anyone who has been using opioids, benzodiazepines, or alcohol for a prolonged length of time. Alcohol is considered one of the most dangerous substances to detox from due to the risk of seizures. You mustn’t attempt to detox on your own without medical supervision. Transitioning from a detox to an inpatient stay could also be the difference that helps you stay in recovery. Inpatient drug rehab programs are also a fantastic option for someone who doesn’t have a safe or sober home to return to, as the risk of relapse remains high after detox. Inpatient drug rehab programs generally offer 30, 60, and 90-day stays, although you are in charge of your treatment program at all times.

Drug and Alcohol Detox

Who Should Consider Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient drug rehab programs are a good option for anyone experiencing mild to moderate substance use disorders, and who also has obligations such as work, childcare, or school that cannot be paused for inpatient treatment. If you have a safe, supportive, and sober home to return to at night outpatient drug treatment programs may work wonderfully for you. It is also a good bridge between inpatient treatment and rejoining society fully. The benefits of outpatient drug treatment programs are flexible hours and a lower cost of treatment compared to inpatient treatment. Several different outpatient programs vary in the amount of time spent at treatment each day, your case manager will work with you to build and choose the treatment program that works best for you as an individual.

What Happens After Addiction Treatment?

Substance use disorder is a disease that requires a life-long commitment to keep it in remission, and aftercare planning is critical to your continued success in recovery. Your case manager will work with you to find and join the peer support group that is the best fit for you. The most well-known aftercare programs are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These programs focus on the 12 steps, faith-based principles, and match the newly recovered with a sponsor that they can call if they feel tempted, or relapse. It is important to note that relapse is not shameful but expected. Roughly 70% of people in recovery experience a relapse at some point in their lives, it’s not an indication of failure but just how powerful the disease of addiction is. If you experience a relapse the most important thing to do is acknowledge the relapse, and contact your sponsor, therapist, or trusted family member. Do not beat yourself up for making a mistake, we all make mistakes as humans. Look forward to a new day to make different choices. If you are uncomfortable with faith-based programs there are resources like Secular Organizations for Sobriety where you can receive peer support without religion. One of the most important factors in recovery is community support and making sober friends so that you can do sober activities with them. This will go a long way in helping you stay in recovery.

TruPath Can Help with Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment for Addiction

No matter what you are dealing with in your life there is hope for positive change for you and your family. Our network of expert clinicians and the high-quality therapeutic services we offer will help you make those changes, and help you achieve long-term sobriety. Our goal is to help those struggling with substance use disorder heal emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Our passion for helping those fighting for recovery find hope and healing is unparalleled in addiction treatment, and shows in every aspect of care, from our beautiful treatment facilities to our high staff-to-patient ratio. We are pleased to offer several locations with comfortable, well-appointed spaces and top-notch amenities including private chefs, lounge areas, and even pools. We accept many kinds of insurance and have admission specialists standing by 24/7 to answer your questions. There has never been a better time than right now to pick up your phone and call us at (888) 292-1933 to discover a new way of life, and unlock your true potential.

Leave a Comment