In or Out? The Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

Updated on February 6, 2022

If you’ve realized that you need help with a substance abuse problem and are looking for a way out, congratulations!

You’ve already conquered the first major obstacle to your recovery. As much as 90% of people in need of rehabilitation treatment never reach this stage.

The next big step is deciding which type of treatment you’re willing to try. There are two major options here – inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Centers

When you choose to sign up for an inpatient program, you’re committing yourself to at least 28 days of intensive treatment. You’ll remain at the rehabilitation facility all this time.

An inpatient rehabilitation center is usually fairly isolated from the outside world. This allows patients to focus fully on their recovery.

While staying at an inpatient facility, your days follow a rigid program from start to finish. There’s little time left for dwelling on your problems. Most of your schedule will consist of group and individual therapy sessions.

Usually, you’ll also enjoy opportunities for exercise and other constructive activities. You’ll receive regular balanced meals and there’s often a medical professional onsite or on-call 24-hours a day.

When you first arrive at inpatient rehab, the main focus is on a medically-supervised detox. Once all risk has passed, you’ll be able to join the other patients in their daily activities.  

Due to its intensive nature, inpatient rehab is the most expensive option for those seeking recovery.

Outpatient Rehabilitation Centers

If you opt for Santa Barbara outpatient rehab, you’ll continue with your daily life during treatment. This is a huge benefit for those with commitments that they cannot abandon for any extended time. 

There are two main types of outpatient rehab.

Day programs mean that the patient must report for therapy several times a week for up to 7 hours at a time. Therapies may include:

  • Group and individual counseling
  • Biofeedback
  • Art and music therapy

While they aren’t engaged in these sessions, patients continue with their usual lives as far as possible.

Intensive outpatient therapy requires a smaller time commitment. This makes it ideal for people who need to continue working during treatment. Sessions last for a few hours each week and focus on the patient meeting certain milestones.

As you progress, these time commitments will decrease. Common therapies used in an intensive outpatient program include:

  • Counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Relapse prevention education

Recovery support groups and a 12-step program are often included in this type of treatment too. 

Continuing Care

Continuing care is vital for any recovering addict, regardless of which initial treatment you seek.

This usually means regular attendance at group therapy sessions or ‘meetings’ as arranged by NA and AA. If preferred, you can opt for ongoing sessions with a trained addiction counselor or psychologist instead

However, most recovering addicts enjoy the support and sense of camaraderie that 12-step programs offer.  

Reach for Recovery

The decision between inpatient and outpatient treatment is an important one. Yet it’s equally important to realize that the responsibility for your recovery rests with you. 

Without commitment and hard work, no amount of therapy can give you the relief you seek.

Keep reading the ‘rehab’ section of our blog for more advice and information on beating addiction and making the most of your recovery. 

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