What’s the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?

What’s the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?

Recognizing you have an alcohol or drug addiction is a monumental first step on a journey to recovery. Cutting through the denial and admitting to the destructive behavior is difficult and even painful for both the addict and surrounding family and friends.

Americans Required Treatment for Substance Abuse

Remember that you are not alone. Consider the following statistics from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence:

  • Addiction was ruled a disease by the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1976. And in 2012, an estimated 23.1 million Americans required treatment for problems related to drugs or alcohol.
  • Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. An estimated 6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence.
  • Twenty million Americans used an illegal drug in the past 30 days. This includes marijuana, hashish, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, and prescription drugs used without a prescription.

Becoming aware of the destructive effects of alcohol and drugs is the first step to recovery. The next step will require another brave resolution. The subsequent action is to realize that you or your loved one requires assistance and reinforcement in defeating the addiction.

Find the Courage to Ask for Help

There is no disgrace in asking for help during your fight to free yourself from your alcohol or drug addiction. Too many times those who abuse alcohol or drugs use the excuse, “I can get sober on my own.”  Unfortunately, it is simply not a reality to learn to manage your life without alcohol or drugs unless you reach out for support.

When you are on your own, it’s all too easy to get discouraged and rationalize “just one more pill” or “this will really be the last drink.”

It may seem embarrassing to reach out and admit you have a weakness, but the truth is that it is a signal of strength – and a signal that you are ready to change. It is also true that you will greatly benefit from a support system in place.

 A wide variety of effective alcohol and drug treatment options are available to help end the addiction.

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, “No single treatment is appropriate for everyone. Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s particular problems and needs is critical to his or her ultimate success in returning to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and society.”

Other research by the same institute reveals, “Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical…Recovery from drug addiction is a long-term process …”

Know You Have Options

Individuals entering rehabilitation programs have choices. First, you should decide between the following two classifications:

  1. Outpatient Treatment – These programs focus on treatment within a facility for several hours on a regular schedule, but does not involve overnight stays.
  1. Inpatient Treatment – These are primarily residential facilities that provide housing and treatment for an extended period of time, 24 hours a day.

Outpatient Programs

If an individual struggling with addiction does not have the flexibility to interrupt work or the freedom to leave his or her family, outpatient rehab care may provide treatment within the parameters of his or her schedule.

Individuals who do not wish to disclose their addiction to their employers, acquaintances or other groups of people in their lives may prefer outpatient rehab centers. While many experts believe hiding treatment is detrimental to complete and lifelong recovery, some people are more willing to enter an outpatient program and at least receive some sort of help.

Most outpatient rehab programs offer similar treatments as other alcohol and drug recovery programs. This usually involves the following:

  • One-on-one therapy
  • Group counseling sessions
  • Educational programs
  • Family healing courses
  • Long-term support

But there are caveats in choosing outpatient treatment, such as the following:

  • Attempting to overcome alcohol or drug addiction as an outpatient requires immense dedication and commitment because the addict is on his or her own for a majority of time.
  • Outpatient programs can be a challenge because the addict must confront problems at work and home.
  • With the freedom of outpatient therapy comes increased temptation to relapse.
  • Compliance to regularly attend counseling sessions can be an obstacle for recovery.
  • Reliable transportation and a stable place to live are not always available to a recovering addict.
  • Outpatients have access to the very substances that caused their addiction.
  • Continued exposure to work, family and daily stressors may hinder success and recovery.
  • Experts do not recommend outpatient rehabilitation programs for people with serious or long-term addictions.

Inpatient Programs

Also referred to as residential treatment centers, inpatient rehab centers and programs provide a structured environment, usually isolated from the anxieties, temptations, and perceived threats from daily life.

Inpatient treatment centers are more structured and comprehensive than most outpatient programs. Residential programs for the treatment of addiction involve the following:

  • Living at the facility fulltime
  • Committing to residing at the center for a fixed period of time, usually between one and three months
  • Regularly scheduled, intensive drug and alcohol treatment programs daily
  • One-on-one sessions
  • Group therapy
  • Inclusion of family support and involvement
  • Significant after-care programs

Inpatient alcohol and drug rehab programs have advantages over outpatient options. For example, inpatient treatment centers offer the following:

  • Around-the-clock support. The benefits of 24-hour supervised care should not be underestimated. Access to extensive support offers significant advantages, especially in the most difficult situations.
  • Elimination of distractions. This allows the client to fully concentrate on his or her recovery program and long-term sobriety.
  • Comradery. Living with others who are experiencing similar challenges allows people to build comradery. Engaging in treatment in a community-oriented environment and bonding with others experiencing the same challenges is a significant benefit in the road to recovery.

One study examined 183 inpatients and 120 outpatients and their success in treatment. The findings indicated the following:

Outpatient Treatment More Likely to Fail

  • People in outpatient treatment were four times more likely to have previously failed at early treatment.
  • The failure rate was greater in outpatient compared to inpatient substance abuse treatment programs.

A primary reason medical specialists believe inpatient drug and alcohol rehab is successful is due to constant monitoring by professionals. Consider the following information about the monitoring that takes place in a facility:

  • Any potential for relapse can be addressed immediately.
  • On-site support during a moment of weakness is immediately available.
  • Other recovering individuals in a community-oriented setting are present to support the client.
  • Consistent monitoring can identify any potential temptations.

The Added Risks of Dual-Diagnosis

Occasionally, after entering a professional rehab facility, an individual suffering from drug addiction and/or alcoholism will suffer from “dual diagnosis.”  This serious condition takes place when mental health issues and substance abuse occur concurrently. People with co-occurring disorders require specialized treatment from experts in the field.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse cautions there is no typical profile of how dual diagnosis occurs. They report that “Sometimes the mental problem occurs first. This can lead people to use alcohol or drugs that make them feel better temporarily. Sometimes the substance abuse occurs first. Over time, that can lead to emotional and mental problems.”

While dual diagnosis is a serious condition requiring specialized treatment, the statistics are devastating:

  • Over 9 million people have co-occurring disorders, meaning they have both a mental and substance use disorder.
  • Only 4% of individuals receive treatment for both conditions.
  • 56% percent of people receive no treatment at all.

Individuals identified as suffering with dual diagnosis issues may have a more difficult time during the initial detox phase of recovery.  These individuals are more likely to face withdrawal and cravings from substance abuse along with an encumbered mental state.  Cleansing drugs/alcohol from the body may actually involve excruciating physical and psychological symptoms.  It’s critical that this detox takes place under supervised medical care.

Know What to Expect

Whether you or your loved one suffers from addiction or dual diagnosis, entering an inpatient facility can initially be overwhelming and even a little frightening. It is important to realize the counselors and staff you will encounter throughout your treatment are on your side. Many are former alcohol and drug abusers themselves and understand the courage required to step through the door.

Since the majority of inpatient clinics are not hospitals, you will be encouraged to bring casual and comfortable clothes for your stay.

It is common for the first few days of treatment to be challenging. Addiction to alcohol and drugs for a prolonged period of time is not easily changed. In fact, as you enter rehabilitation, it is common to experience the unpleasant effects of withdrawal symptoms.

One of the greatest benefits of inpatient centers is the 24-hour care and support available during this tough stage of recovery. Detox is not a simple process, but it is the first step on your path to living a sober life.

The majority of clients remain at an inpatient facility for 30 to 60 days. There are options to choose a shorter time period, or you may also decide to extend your stay to allow for additional time to engage in the healing process. An experienced staff will help guide you in the details of your recovery.

Holistic Recovery Plans for Sobriety

 In Pennsylvania, the rate of drug-induced deaths is higher than the national average, and heroin is the most commonly cited illegal drug for people entering treatment. In this state alone, the number of drug overdose deaths increased by 89 percent since the turn of the century.

With numbers this astonishing and substances that can cause a range of effects, it may be difficult to decide where to begin your journey to sobriety. Every client has the same ultimate goal: to recover and live a sober life. Many medical professionals believe that addiction is not just a physical condition. In order to recover and rediscover your entire being, a holistic approach is frequently recommended.

A holistic treatment program is a progressive concept. This approach seeks to involve all components of a person’s life, not only the addiction. Think of it as a holistic plan that involves the mind, body, and spirit. This includes addressing the physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social needs throughout an individual’s therapy.

Beyond the Individual

 According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Family Behavior Therapy (FBT)… has demonstrated positive results in both adults and adolescents… Therapists seek to engage families in applying the behavioral strategies taught in sessions and in acquiring new skills to improve the home environment.”

Every family wants to experience long-term success and recovery from drug addiction. To do this, treatment plans should include FBT therapy options that promote the continued awareness of how the disease affects the entire family. Attending meetings from established support groups can also have beneficial results for family and friends surrounding the individual suffering from addiction. Learning how to best support your loved one, get rid of negative emotions and work towards forgiveness will ultimately help mend relationships that were damaged by addiction.

Treat The Whole Body at Clarity Way

Successful long-term recoveries also require ample time for reflection, and there’s no better place to rest and recharge than Clarity Way’s 15 lush acres of secluded and scenic rolling hills in Pennsylvania. Our exclusive amenities and confidential services make us a trusted choice among executives, celebrities, and professionals.

The staff at Clarity Way believes certain lifestyle activities not only help keep clients’ minds off using drugs or alcohol, but they also provide a path to fulfillment that will help them better enjoy life outside of rehab.

As a result, the comprehensive and holistic program at Clarity Way goes beyond the individual suffering from addiction. We understand that family involvement is a crucial part of the recovery process. Support sessions, open communication, and aftercare options are available for relatives, so everyone is involved in the path toward sobriety.

Aftercare Options

Regardless of a program’s length in weeks or months, support and long-term follow-up are crucial to recovery. Staying sober outside of residential treatment can be difficult. Long-lasting recovery from substance abuse requires more than spending a few weeks at an in-patient treatment program.

After your stay, you will remain engaged in active recovery through our personalized post-treatment program. As you travel your unique path to sobriety, we will develop an individualized Aftercare Plan that fits your specific post-treatment needs. If you or a loved one has been struggling with addiction, let our specialists help you find your path to recovery and begin your journey to lifelong sobriety.

Contact us today for more information, sign up for our newsletter, or visit the other resources on our website.


Posted on June 10th, 2015 in Blog


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