Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment: The Differences

For many people struggling with addiction, choosing a type of treatment is a huge step. By making a move to get professional help, individuals can start progressing toward real recovery. Typically, individuals in need of immediate emergency care should head to the nearest hospital. Once their health stabilizes, patients will enter one of two types of supplementary care. The choice is usually deciding on inpatient vs. outpatient treatment—the differences between the two centers around the intensity of supporting an individual’s needs.

What Is Inpatient?

For patients recently released from emergency care, the most likely next step is an inpatient facility. Often located on or near a hospital property, these facilities provide ongoing medical support. Due to their proximity to hospitals, doctors and nurses can continue working with a patient after they leave the hospital. In addition to regular doctor visits, a full staff of healthcare workers is available continuously.

Inpatient is generally a residential situation, like hospital care. As such, patients workday day in and day out with behavior experts and therapists. Besides monitoring an individual’s health, inpatient treatment continues to provide the necessary time to fight early withdrawal symptoms. Besides this, on-staff professionals work to teach patients basic skills to fight their addiction.

What Is Outpatient?

When it comes to what happens inside inpatient vs. outpatient treatment, the differences are intentionally few. Outpatient facilities continue the work of the inpatient, just as the latter does with hospital care. Once released from inpatient, outpatient treatment is optional though strongly advised.

The goal of this treatment is to provide a haven of support as individuals return to normal life. Often this takes the form of regularly scheduled sessions at an outpatient facility. Patients receive more training and therapy to help deal with the added pressures they’re under. In some cases, individuals may even reside in an outpatient facility full time for a period.

Understanding the Difference

In short, the inpatient tends to be more focused on initial detox and dealing with extreme withdrawal. Patients just recovering from a medical emergency because of their addiction likely will be placed in one near where they received emergency care. Outpatients facilities provide similar services but are more focused on the return to life. Therapy and treatment provided generally centers around finding new and healthy ways to cope.

Wherever you are, both options should be available in your area. A cursory search of the term ‘drug rehabilitation centers near me’ should reliably turn up several options. Be sure to research each option individually to find which will most effectively cater to the needs of your unique situation. Both methods are effective in treating addiction and behavioral issues. However, the needs of your loved one and the issues they’re struggling with will make one choice over the other more clearly.


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