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Choosing Between Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

by | Last updated Jul 26, 2021 at 2:02PM | Published on Nov 29, 2019 | Rehab Programs

inpatient vs. outpatient rehab

When it comes to substance abuse treatment, there are two main types of programs: inpatient and outpatient. The goal of both treatment methods is to help the individual overcome addiction. However, each methodology works better for different people. Let’s explore the differences between inpatient vs. outpatient rehab programs are.

What Are Inpatient Rehab Programs?

Generally, most people will start their recovery journey with inpatient rehab. These programs have a minimum length of 28 days, and patients reside in a medically supervised treatment facility. Here, patients have a secure and safe place to undergo the more intensive treatment portion of their recovery plan.

Inpatient rehab programs follow a rigorous schedule and guidelines. These are meant to provide a sense of structure and allow patients to rebuild responsibility, integrity, life skills, and other attributes lost to addiction.

Thanks to the organized structure, patients are also removed from stressful home circumstances, environmental triggers, and other situations that can interfere in their recovery and lead to relapse. The idea is to focus on recovery, leaving all distractions outside the treatment facility solely.

Often, inpatient rehab programs will also offer partial hospitalization services. These can be beneficial for those struggling with the adverse health consequences of addiction. Focusing on a healthy body and mindset is paramount for recovery.

Read more: Inpatient Programs 101

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What Are Outpatient Rehab Programs?

On the other hand, intensive outpatient rehab programs allow patients to have the opportunity to continue living at home, pursuing their careers, and caring for their families while undergoing addiction treatment. Outpatient rehab programs have daytime or evening therapies, with each patient returning to their homes overnight.

These types of programs offer more flexibility, which is critical to encourage people to enter treatment. Most of the time, family obligations and things like school or work can prevent someone from seeking treatment.

However, the flexibility and lack of structured outpatient care also mean those in recovery are also exposed to social pressure, the stress of everyday life, and the toxic environment that revolved around their addiction at one point or another.

Inpatient or Outpatient Rehab Programs

Inpatient treatment is a common rehabilitation method for clients who require medical monitoring for detox or a controlled and drug-free structured environment. These programs require the client to live at a treatment facility twenty-four hours a day with a length of stay averaging between twenty-eight and ninety days.

On the other hand, if your therapist believes or feels you may not be ready for an outpatient setting, IOPs can be helpful. Intensive care with an outpatient setting can help those in recovery receive additional therapy sessions. IOPs also focus on other invaluable resources that will contribute to your long-term sobriety.

Inpatient Rehab

  • The average length is for short-term rehab is 28 days and the long-term treatment 130 days.
  • Most patients that need medical detox move to inpatient programs.
  • Patients move into a rehab facility for the length of their treatment.
  • These programs use an intensive schedule and structure that all patients must adhere to.

Outpatient Rehab

  • The average length is about 88 days but can extend to over 200 days.
  • Most patients complete inpatient rehab programs before enrolling.
  • Patients continue to live at home while attending therapy in the morning or the evenings.
  • These programs use a more flexible structure that allows patients to maintain daily responsibilities while seeking treatment simultaneously.

There’s no doubt that both programs have benefits and disadvantages. The type of treatment someone needs will vary according to many factors and should be considered personal. Let’s take a look at the differences between inpatient and outpatient rehab programs.


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Choosing Between Outpatient and Inpatient Treatment

The decision to enter an inpatient program is a major one that requires the entire family’s support and encouragement. Outpatient programs have more flexibility, so you can try to juggle both responsibilities simultaneously. However, when choosing between inpatient and outpatient treatment, the choice is a very personal one.

Ask yourself these questions to help you find the best option:

  • Will temptations and triggers around the home, family members, school, and work interfere with your sobriety?
  • Will social ties try to influence you back into substance abuse?
  • Have you been unsuccessful in rehab before?
  • Are you still physically addicted to drugs and alcohol?

If you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions, inpatient treatment might be the right option for you right now.

However, more than a simple quiz, you need to speak to a professional. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our addiction specialists discuss the different program options with our patients before they embark on their recovery journey.

We believe in the importance of creating a personalized level of care that caters to each patient’s unique needs. Most of the time, recovering addicts will start their journey with medical detox, then move into an inpatient facility. Eventually, they’ll move to an outpatient setting as they transition back into their daily responsibilities.

How to Pay for Inpatient and Outpatient Services

Considering that inpatient and outpatient care for addiction can often cost thousands of dollars, it’s vital to understand the different types of care available. Health insurance can also cover medical addiction treatment, depending on the insurance plan. However, it’s best to have an admission specialist talk directly with your insurance company to help you get admitted to the hospital and get coverage for the care you need.

In the end, the way you’re formally admitted plays a role in your insurance coverage.

For example, if you’re rushed to the emergency room for an overdose. This is considered a medical emergency that most health care insurances will have to cover. From there, your doctor might discuss moving you from the emergency department to a skilled nursing facility or extend your stay in a hospital that provides you with care 24 hours.

Another scenario might involve receiving outpatient care. This is another alternative that can be helpful for those with insurance that doesn’t cover extensive care. It’s also an excellent alternative for those who can’t leave their responsibilities to stay at a rehab facility.

Read more: How Can I Pay for Drug Rehab?

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment 

With so many alternatives for drug addiction treatment, it can be overwhelming. The most important thing is that you know seeking treatment should always be your north star. Substance use disorders can destroy your family and relationships, not to mention, they can lead you to a path of destruction that can be life-threatening. Don’t let drugs or alcohol win the battle.

At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, our intensive outpatient programs are prevalent among those seeking drug addiction treatment. However, we don’t believe in cookie-cutter treatment plans for our patients. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, contact us today to learn about our different treatment programs.

After a therapist evaluation, our clinic therapists recommend the best treatment plan that might incorporate drug and alcohol rehab, partial hospitalization, inpatient programs, follow-up with an outpatient program, and even suggest aftercare recovery solutions. We believe in doing whatever it takes to help you and your loved ones move past addiction and enjoy a full, healthy, and inspiring life.

Stop waiting for the right moment and reach out today to learn more about our insurance policies, treatment plans, and more.

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Lighthouse Editorial Team

Our editorial team includes content experts that contribute to Lighthouse Recovery Institute’s blog. Editors and medical experts review our blogs for accuracy and relevance. We consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA and NIDA to provide you with the most comprehensive addiction-related content.
Medical Disclaimer:

Lighthouse Recovery Institute aims to improve the quality of life for anyone struggling with substance use or mental health disorder. We provide fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their outcomes. The material we publish is researched, cited, edited, and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide in our posts is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be used in place of the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider.

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