Last Updated on January 25, 2023

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab: An In-Depth Comparison

Is Inpatient or Outpatient Rehab Right for You?

Inpatient residential rehab and outpatient rehab are two popular options for addiction treatment, but which one is right for you? Making an accurate comparison and choosing the best rehab facility for yourself or for a loved one is a difficult process. With more than 14,500 specialized drug treatment centers in the U.S. that offer counseling, behavioral therapy, case management, and other types of substance use disorder services, it can be tempting to randomly pick the first drug treatment center you come across.1

While most drug treatment centers will use similar treatment models, it’s necessary to take some time to weigh your options and evaluate the pros and cons. Finding a program that fits well with you or your loved one’s situation increases the likelihood of achieving recovery.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the nature of addiction, the need for professional addiction treatment, and the main differences between inpatient residential rehab and outpatient rehab in Austin. It’s our hope that this information will help you make the decision that is best for you and your long-term recovery.

The Nature of Addiction and the Need for Drug Rehab

Addiction is characterized by the inability to consistently abstain from drugs and alcohol.2 These symptoms are also combined with an impairment in behavioral control, cravings, diminished recognition of significant problems with interpersonal relationships, and dysfunctional emotional responses.

Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Addiction is a progressive disease and can result in disability or even death. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, fully overcoming addiction can be difficult.

What is the Definition of Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient rehab is a form of drug treatment that does not include living at a rehab facility. Outpatient programs allow the client to continue to live at home or in a sober living home while completing treatment. In addition, outpatient rehab programs tend to cost less than residential treatment.

The length of an outpatient rehab program varies according to the facility as well as the specific needs of the individual. Most recovering addicts can expect to spend one to three months in outpatient care. Family, group, and individual counseling services are usually offered at an outpatient rehab program.

What are the Primary Benefits of Outpatient Rehab?

  • Reduced cost (there are no fees for room and board)
  • More privacy and anonymity (no need to take leave from work to attend treatment)
  • Flexibility to tend to other obligations while in treatment, such as work or school
  • Opportunity to practice relapse prevention techniques in the real world
  • Ability to live at home throughout the duration of treatment
  • Access to experienced support staff and a sober community of peers

Who Is a Good Candidate for Outpatient Rehabilitation?

Outpatient rehab is often used as a way to extend treatment after a person has completed residential rehab. The focus of outpatient rehabilitation is usually centered on the 12-Step Program or building a new life away from substance use. Sometimes people choose this program type due to their insurance benefits, childcare commitments, or job.

People who might not be an ideal match for outpatient rehabilitation programs include:

  • People with addictions to multiple substances
  • People who have been sober and relapsed several times
  • People who have a dual diagnosis (a substance use disorder coinciding with a mental health disorder.)

What is the Definition of Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient treatment programs are often referred to as “residential” programs and typically range from 28 days to 90 days. These programs include clients living at the facility and incorporate programs with a strict daily schedule to follow. Clients in residential drug rehab programs work on recovery goals and build life skills that have been lacking due to the substance abuse problems within their life.

Clients eat, sleep, and participate in clinical and support groups throughout the day. Because of this high level of care, inpatient addiction treatment programs are ideal for people who have unsuccessfully attempted to overcome addiction.

One primary benefit of inpatient residential rehab in Austin is the supportive community environment. These types of treatment facilities provide a community of clients who support each other through treatment by encouraging sobriety and providing accountability to stay on track.

Although many inpatient drug rehab programs are only 30 days, research shows that 90-day addiction treatment provides the best opportunity for lasting and positive results.3

What are the Primary Benefits of Inpatient Rehab?

  • Ability to stay in a stable, sober environment for an extended period of time
  • 24/7 access to clinical and medical care
  • Supervised environment helps prevent relapse
  • Access to specialized treatment such as art therapy, animal-assisted therapy, and music group
  • Intensive individual and group therapy sessions
  • Luxury, upscale amenities (at a luxury facility)
  • Structured daily schedule
  • Ongoing life skills training and addiction education
  • Experienced support staff

Who Is a Good Candidate for Inpatient Rehabilitation?

Inpatient rehab or residential rehab is a great way for a person to remove themselves from the temptations of daily life and be at a place where they can focus solely on getting sober. Some people choose inpatient drug rehab because it is a place focused entirely on sobriety and recovery. It is far removed from the distractions and temptations of daily life, which can increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety.

Inpatient rehabilitation is a good choice for anyone struggling with addiction. It is especially beneficial for those who have tried to get sober and relapsed and who have a long history of substance use.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab: Making the Decision

Choosing the right drug rehab in Austin for you or a loved one can be a difficult process and there are many pros and cons to consider. Counseling is the cornerstone for any addiction treatment program, but if you have a history of unsuccessful sobriety, are a danger to yourself or others, or your home environment is unhealthy, an inpatient drug rehab might be the better choice for you.

In general, it’s best to let an expert help decide on the proper treatment placement. A licensed counselor or interventionist can assess the severity of the addiction and successful treatment from any drug or alcohol addiction depends on the willingness to change from the client. Whether you decide on residential or outpatient rehab in Austin, Texas, we can help you recover from addiction.

When you or a loved one are ready to enter treatment for a substance use disorder, call Nova Recovery Center to speak to an admissions specialist and learn more about our Austin recovery center.

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