Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab 

If you or someone close to you is just starting their journey to recovery, congratulations! The first step is always the hardest part. A significant aspect of this first step is deciding the kind of treatment that is appropriate for the individual. Specifically, choosing between inpatient or outpatient rehab. 

At this stage, you likely have a number of questions. What is the difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab? Which one is better for addiction treatment? Which one is more appropriate for the individual in question? Which one is more affordable?

To learn more about inpatient and outpatient rehab methods, including the pros and cons for each one, take a look at the article below. We cover everything you need to know so that you or your loved one can receive the most appropriate treatment. 

What Is Inpatient Rehab? 

Inpatient rehab is a type of residential drug abuse treatment program where patients live full-time at an accredited facility. Patients typically stay here from 30 days to 6 months. This option is ideal if you are struggling with severe substance use issues.

Pros of Inpatient Rehab

The biggest benefit of inpatient rehab is that it provides a safe environment where the patient will be able to focus on getting clean. They won’t have to worry about dealing with outside distractions, such as work, school, family obligations, etc.

Patients are closely monitored by trained professionals who work hand-in-hand with doctors and therapists. It provides a safe environment where patients have access to medical staff 24/7. They can receive counseling, therapy, medication management, and other services as needed. 

Cons of Inpatient Rehab 

The downside of inpatient rehab is its cost. The patient may not qualify for financial assistance if they do not meet certain income requirements. However, there are many programs that offer scholarships and grants. Additionally, insurance companies often reimburse for inpatient rehab. 

Another drawback to inpatient rehab is that they require a lot of time commitments. Most facilities don’t allow patients to leave until they are ready. So, you may find yourself stuck in a facility for weeks or even months.  

Finally, in an inpatient facility, it might be hard for the patient to see their friends and family regularly. It may be that the closest available facility is a long way from their home. The facility might also impose restrictions on visitors. 

What Is Outpatient Rehab? 

Outpatient rehab is a less intensive alternative to inpatient rehab. Patients attend group sessions every day and return home after the session is complete. These groups usually last anywhere from 4 hours to 8 hours per day. 

Pros of Outpatient Rehab 

One major advantage of outpatient rehab is that it allows the patient to continue working while receiving treatment. This means that they can still earn money to pay for food, rent, utilities, etc. Outpatient treatment is also less expensive than inpatient treatment, so the patient will be far better off financially. 

Outpatient facilities are also more common than inpatient facilities. As such, there should be an outpatient program available in the patient’s hometown. This prevents them from having to travel a long way to receive treatment. 

Additionally, outpatient rehab doesn’t require living at a facility. Therefore, it isn’t as restrictive as inpatient rehab. You can go out and visit friends and family without having to worry about being away from the facility. 

Cons of Outpatient Rehab 

Outpatient rehab has some drawbacks too. One of them is that it requires a lot of self-motivation, which can be tricky for someone struggling with addiction. If the patient misses a session, they could fall behind in recovery.

Also, since this is a non-residential setting, it isn’t as safe as an inpatient facility. There aren’t any professional counselors monitoring the patient around the clock. As such, when the patient is at home, they may feel a strong temptation to engage in destructive behaviors.  

Finally, whilst being close to friends and family can be a positive aspect of outpatient rehab, it can also be a negative one. If friends and family are a source of stress or enable the patient’s addiction, being around them can make recovery significantly harder. 

What Should I Consider When Choosing Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab?

As mentioned above, both inpatient and outpatient rehab programs provide similar services. The main difference lies in how long you will need to stay at the facility, the severity of the addiction, and your financial situation. 

Treatment Length

Treatment length varies depending on the specific needs of each individual. Some people need only a few days of treatment before they are able to live independently again. Others need several months of therapy.

The average stay in residential rehab ranges between 30 to 90 days. Inpatient facilities tend to have longer stays because they provide 24/7 care. They offer counseling, medication management, education, and other services throughout the entire duration of the stay.

Outpatient programs typically last between 6 to 12 weeks. However, some facilities offer extended stays. For example, many facilities allow patients to remain in treatment for up to 2 years. This can be very useful for many people with addictions. 

Addiction Severity 

If you are certain that you are able to remain sober after leaving the rehab center every day, then it would make sense to choose an outpatient program. If you don’t trust yourself or the people around you to encourage your sobriety when at home, an inpatient program might be better suited for your needs.

If you’re unsure which type of program is best for you, talk to your doctor about what they recommend. Your doctor should be able to tell you whether you need inpatient or outpatient rehab and give you advice on the necessary length of your stay and the type of therapy you require. 

Financial Situation 

As discussed above, inpatient rehab centers are far more expensive than outpatient rehab centers. In some cases, you can receive financial aid. Check here to learn more and see if you are eligible for a financial grant. 

If working whilst you recover is important to you, an outpatient facility will be more appropriate. You may not be able to work full-time depending on the intensity of your program, but you will certainly be able to work part-time. For some, working is a positive aspect of recovery. 

Preparing for Inpatient Rehab 

If you or a loved one decides to enroll in an inpatient facility, there are a few necessary preparations to make. We’ve listed the most important ones below. 

Get Your Affairs in Order 

You’ll need to get all of your affairs in order before entering rehab. This includes paying bills, getting prescriptions filled, making sure you have enough funds to cover basic necessities, and arranging transportation to and from the facility. You will also need to talk to your employer. 

Make Sure That You Have Enough Funds 

You’ll need to ensure that you have enough money to pay for your stay and other essentials during your stay.

It’s also important to save money so that you don’t run into financial trouble once you leave rehab. If you struggle with this, ask a trusted friend or family member for help. 

Arrange Transportation to and From the Facility

It’s important to arrange transportation to and from the rehab center. Many facilities will provide transport if you ask them. Otherwise, you can take public transit, rent a car, use a taxi service, or ask for a list from a trusted friend or family member.

Arrive Early 

Many inpatient centers require you to arrive early. This gives you time to settle into your new environment and meet with staff members. It also allows you to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the facility.

Understand The Rules Of The Facility 

Most facilities have rules regarding what types of behavior are considered inappropriate. Don’t engage in any activities that violate these rules. It is also important that you understand what is required from you as an inpatient. 

For instance, it is likely that you will be required to take part in a number of different therapies, activities, and educational classes. It is also likely that you will need to maintain a clean environment and set goals for yourself. 

Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab TreatmentPreparing For Outpatient Rehab 

There are a few things that you should do to prepare for outpatient treatment. Here are some of the most important: 

Be Honest With Yourself And Your Family About Why You’re Going To Rehab 

It’s important to be honest about why you want to attend rehab. Do not lie to anyone about why you are going. Doing so could lead to relapse. Also, be prepared to answer questions honestly. 

Find A Treatment Program That Works Best For You 

There are many different treatment options available. Some people prefer individual therapy while others benefit more from group counseling sessions. Find out which works best for you. 

Set Realistic Goals During Your Program

During your stay at rehab, you may find that certain aspects of your life become unmanageable. Set realistic goals for yourself during your recovery. Whatever your goal is, try to make it attainable. 

Take Care Of Yourself While In Rehab 

While you are in rehab, it’s important to take care of yourself. Make sure that you eat well, exercise regularly, sleep soundly, and keep busy. These habits will help you recover faster and feel better overall. 

Ask For Help When Needed 

If you ever get overwhelmed by anything, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Most programs offer support groups where you can seek advice and encouragement from fellow patients. They can also help you deal with issues related to addiction. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions 

If you have any concerns or questions, don’t be afraid to ask someone. Staff members are there to help you. They know what they’re doing and can give you all the information you need. 

Get Involved At Home 

In an outpatient facility, you will go home every day after attending your therapy sessions and classes. It’s important to remember that living sober doesn’t mean you won’t slip up occasionally. If you start to feel tempted to use when you’re at home, talk to your doctor, counselor, and trusted loved one immediately. 

Breaking Free From Addiction 

Addiction is a condition characterized by the compulsive use of substances. When you become addicted to drugs or alcohol, your body becomes dependent upon these substances. It develops physical symptoms if it stops using the substance.

It can feel physically and psychologically painful to withdraw from drugs or alcohol. When you stop using addictive substances, your body goes into a state of physiological dependence. Your brain actually changes to accommodate the absence of the drug and you will experience symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cravings

Withdrawal from addictive substances is very dangerous. Without the drug, your body will experience severe symptoms. This is why it is incredibly important to receive the proper help and care. Both inpatient facilities and outpatient facilities can provide such care. 

Breaking free from addiction is no easy task, but it is one of the most rewarding, worthwhile, and life-changing things you will ever do. Inpatient and outpatient rehab are there to support you along your journey to better health. 


Addiction is not something that just happens overnight. You must work hard to break free from this disease and live a healthy lifestyle. However, inpatient and outpatient facilities are there to make the recovery process easier. 

Both types of rehab provide excellent support and guidance in recovery. The choice between one type over the other comes down to personal preferences, requirements, and budgets. We hope that this article has helped you or a loved one take the necessary first steps on the road to recovery. 

Other Services Offered By Trupath Recovery

Different Addiction treatment Service
12 Step Program
Drug And Alchol Detox
inaptient outpatient rehab
Outpatient Drug Rehab
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Holistic Therapy for Addiction Treatment
Executive Treatment
Intensive Outpatient Programs
Dual Diagnosis Treatment