You have decided to turn your life around by entering a substance use treatment program, but you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all the choices you will need to make. One of the first decisions regards the level of care. This handy guide will familiarize you with the features and differences between outpatient versus inpatient treatment programs, and help you make your selection.
What is outpatient addiction treatment?
Outpatient treatment programs are best suited for individuals with less severe substance use disorders. The outpatient program allows you to continue residing at home while enrolled in treatment. Outpatient programs offer a variety of levels of care determined by the individual’s specific recovery needs. These will dictate the number of hours of participation required per week. The three levels of outpatient care include basic outpatient, intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs.
What is inpatient addiction treatment?
An inpatient, or residential, program, offers a more intensive immersion into a broad range of treatment modalities. Inpatient programs provide housing at the recovery center for the duration of treatment, providing them with 24-hour monitoring and support. The inpatient setting is highly structured, with a variety of therapeutic activities to take part in. Most inpatient programs offer alumni services and case management to help the individual transition back to a home setting with support sources in place.
What to expect in outpatient versus inpatient treatment?
Treatment for a substance use disorder follows a multi-dimensional protocol. Both outpatient and inpatient treatment aims to achieve the same outcome, which is guiding the individual into a life of sobriety, helping them learn how to change unhealthy thought patterns, and providing the tools to help them sustain sobriety.
Treatment elements included in inpatient programs include:
- Individual psychotherapy sessions
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Medication supported recovery
- 12-step program integration
- Holistic and experiential activities
- Nutrition and fitness
Outpatient therapy includes many of these same elements, but in a less intensive manner.
How can you choose between outpatient or inpatient treatment?
You may wonder how to know which level of care is the best option for you. Here are five considerations to keep in mind when choosing between outpatient and inpatient treatment:
- Severity of the substance use disorder: Generally, inpatient treatment is the recommended level of care for a moderate to severe substance use disorder. Inpatient programs offer a more controlled environment and allow you to remove yourself from exposure to substances.
- Insurance coverage: Financial considerations are often the deciding factor when choosing between outpatient and inpatient care, as outpatient care is less expensive. Which treatment setting you select may depend on your specific health plan’s coverage and/or your financial resources.
- Whether you have a co-occurring mental health disorder: A dual diagnosis inpatient program is the optimum treatment setting for an individual with co-occurring disorders. These programs include psychiatric care, as well as substance recovery specialists. Some outpatient programs also offer mental health support.
- The ability to take an extended leave: If you have work or family obligations that prevent you from taking an extended leave, an outpatient program may be the answer. These programs provide more flexibility and, therefore, accommodate your need to continue fulfilling work or parenting responsibilities.
- Whether or not you have a supportive home environment: Outpatient treatment is a viable option when your home environment is supportive of your recovery efforts. If it is not, you may consider sober living while enrolled in an outpatient program, or choosing inpatient treatment instead.
Also, keep in mind that, for many individuals, an outpatient program is an excellent step down from inpatient treatment. The good news is that there are so many options available to suit your personal recovery needs.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call 866-313-6307.