Inpatient Treatment Vs. Outpatient Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Addiction is a complex condition that necessitates a comprehensive approach to treatment. Achieving sobriety from drug and alcohol addiction involves a full continuum of care that includes detoxresidential treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient treatment. In this blog post, we will delve into the dissimilarities between inpatient and outpatient treatment for drug addiction and assist you in determining which level of care is the most appropriate for your requirements.

Full Continuum of Care 

In addiction treatment, a full continuum of care is recommended for individuals to attain lifelong sobriety. This means each level of care serves a vital purpose. Two levels of care occur in an inpatient setting, and two levels of care which occur in an outpatient setting. Detox and Residential (RTC) levels of care occur in an inpatient treatment facility, and Partial Hospitalization (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient (IOP) occur in an outpatient treatment setting. 

Is Every Care Level of Treatment Necessary? 

Detox Treatment 

The first step of addiction treatment is detox. Detox treatment typically is a 7-day duration but may vary depending on what substances are being used, how long they’ve been in use, and what dosages have been consumed. The purpose of this initial level of care is to stabilize individuals both medically and psychiatrically. 

Detox is vital step of treatment for anyone who is actively and regularly using a substance. A detox supervised by medical professionals prevents dangerous complications and lessens painful symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal. Detoxing from substances without medical supervision can be painful, dangerous, and even deadly. 

Residential Treatment 

After stabilization through the completion of detox, the client may enter the inpatient residential level of care. This level of care is typically a 28-day duration, but it may vary depending on many things. 

The purpose of the residential level of care is to adjust the lifestyle to a path where all aspects of living are aligned with sobriety, remain under 24-hour supervision to ensure stability and safety, receive therapeutic treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions, and to take a break from everything and take time to understand addiction and focus on a plan for lifelong sobriety. 

At the residential level of care, clients focus on the things in their lives which may support or provoke their addiction, such as co-occurring mental health conditions, triggers, as well as thought processes, mentalities about life and themselves, and much more. 

In Residential treatment, clients learn to take charge of their lives by taking accountability and acquiring tools such as support groups, reading material, and more. 

Partial Hospitalization

Once a client has completed detox and residential treatment, they then can qualify for the next level of care, which is partial hospitalization, or PHP, which is typically a 3-8 week duration. The purpose of this level of care is to take a big step towards re-entering the real world safely without relapse. PHP prescribes that a client lives in a sober living environment and attends group therapy and individual therapy 5 days per week, 6 hours per day. 

Sleeping at a sober living home provides clients with independence while being surrounded by support in a sober community. Continuing daily treatment 5 days per week allows clients to begin applying learnings from residential treatment in a supportive and therapeutic environment. This level of care is typically only available to those who have fully stabilized via inpatient treatment and have a minimum of 35 days of sobriety.

Intensive Outpatient 

After PHP is the outpatient level of care, or IOP, which is an 8-16 week duration. 3-5 days per week, 3 hours per day. While in the IOP level of care, it is recommended to continue living in the sober living environment. The purpose of this level of care is to taper clients back into daily life. 

IOP maximizes client success in lifelong sobriety. In IOP, clients make the next major step in transitioning to a life of sobriety while maintaining support in a sober community. Mental and emotional wellness is supported through continued therapy sessions, both in individual therapy and group therapy settings. 

The Biggest Differences Between Inpatient Treatment and Outpatient Treatment? 

While in inpatient treatment, clients are monitored 24/7. In detox, clients are monitored by medical staff who evaluate their physical, mental, and emotional state every thirty minutes. Once in the residential level of care, the nursing rounds decrease to hourly. 

In outpatient treatment, there is no 24-hour monitoring of mental, physical, and emotional health. Outpatient treatment typically only has a licensed therapist and medical professional supervision during the duration of daily programming. 

While in inpatient treatment, the staff is always ready and eager to provide support in any way possible, and peers oftentimes are as well. However, in Outpatient Treatment, support is limited to housemates for time outside of programming. 

Other significant differences between inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment include:

  • The duration of treatment.
  • The requirements of the clients to enter the level of care.
  • The cost.

Inpatient treatment typically includes things like a full psychiatric evaluation, while in Outpatient Treatment, clients are expected to be on whatever medications they need, and they are expected to be fully stabilized physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Inpatient versus Outpatient 

Simply put, if a client is unstable in any way, then they ought to receive inpatient treatment. If they are currently using, then they typically require detox. 

Inpatient treatment includes:

  • The coverage of psychiatric needs.
  • The treatment of co-occurring mental health conditions.
  • A level of support that disables any convenience to relapse.
  • An opportunity to “reset” or start fresh.

While more costly, the inpatient levels of care are more hands-on and intimate. 

Outpatient treatment is for those who have already attained 30+ days of sobriety. Those who qualify for outpatient treatment do not have a current dependency on substances. Typically they already have a sponsor and have established relapse prevention plans, their sobriety is strong enough to ensure evenings and weekends without active support and supervision. 

The cost of outpatient treatment is much less than the daily rate for inpatient levels of care since the client has more independence and responsibilities. 

Choosing Which Type of Care is Best For You

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, seeking professional treatment is the first step toward achieving long-term sobriety. Midas House Rehab in Lake Elsinore, CA, offers a full continuum of care to help individuals overcome addiction and rebuild their lives. Our experienced and compassionate team provides personalized treatment plans, using evidence-based therapies to address addiction’s physical, psychological, and emotional aspects. Contact us today to learn more about our inpatient and outpatient treatment options in Lake Elsinore, CA, and take the first step towards a healthier, happier life.

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