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How Is Inpatient Care Different Than Outpatient Care?

Inpatient Care, How Is Inpatient Care Different Than Outpatient Care?

Addiction and mental health conditions are typically treated in either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Often, patients will begin in an inpatient facility, then continue treatment and recovery in an outpatient program. But what’s the difference? We’re here to give you the ins and outs of inpatient vs outpatient care. 

Inpatient Care Programs

Inpatient care, which is also commonly referred to as “residential” treatment or “rehab,” is a recovery program that requires round-the-clock supervision and staying in a care facility. The biggest identifier for inpatient is quite literally the “in.” 

In these programs, patients admit themselves into a controlled environment to address their addictions, co-occurring mental health conditions, and other behaviors. Patients will stay in a residential treatment center full-time while they undergo detox with medical and emotional support.

There are different levels of residential treatment centers — some are more hospital-life, while others seem more like a spa or hotel — but the core concept that they all adopt is 24-hour care and support. 

Life in Inpatient Care Programs

The typical inpatient program lasts for 30 days, but patients may stay for longer or shorter periods of time based on their level of addiction and needs. Families will be able to offer support, but for the most part, patients will be with other residents for the duration of their stay. 

Residents are entirely focused on detox and sobriety during inpatient treatment. This begins with a medically assisted detox during which time physicians and addiction specialists will monitor your progress 24/7. This environment helps patients avoid relapse and get past the most difficult stage of recovery. 

Once these symptoms subside, patients will begin a structured program to help them gain skills that they can take back into their lives and continue their recovery.

You’ll have physical activity, meals, and meetings carefully planned throughout your day. The most effective programs are tailored specifically to the individual in question rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone’s addiction and circumstances are different, the most successful programs address the whole person and meet you where you are.

From here, you build life skills that you can take into the outside world and resume your life and responsibilities. Often, this will involve continued treatment in an outpatient care program, which we outline below.

Outpatient Care Programs

Outpatient treatment is less restrictive than inpatient treatment programs. Most often, outpatient treatment occurs after a residential treatment stay, but other times outpatient care is just a better fit for some people’s circumstances.

For example, if you have a job or family, outpatient care may be a better option. Also, if your addiction isn’t so severe that you require a full detox and round-the-clock supervision, outpatient care addresses your addiction in a flexible program built around your schedule.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) offer the perfect step down from inpatient treatment. In these programs, you will attend meetings, have therapy sessions, and take drug tests to ensure your continued sobriety. This allows you to readjust to the world with the support and practice the skills you learned in residential treatment. 

Life In Outpatient Care Programs 

Outpatient care is built around your life and circumstances. If you have to work a 9 to 5 and pick up your kids after school, you can continue these responsibilities, then attend meetings and therapy sessions in the evening.

The goal of the program is to help you build a support network through peer support groups, give you a sounding board via counseling and therapy sessions, plus teach you recovery skills that will help reduce the chance of relapse and promote long-term recovery. 

Choosing the Right Treatment Option for You

When it comes to choosing the right treatment option for you, evaluate your individual circumstances. 

Is your addiction so severe that it’s overcoming other aspects of your life? Are you struggling at work or did you lose employment because of your addiction? Are your relationships and health suffering? Are you making risky decisions to get high instead of taking care of your responsibilities?

If so, you may require inpatient care to detox and begin your road to recovery.

On the other hand, if your addiction lingers in the background, occasionally making you feel less present and engaged in your life than you’d like to be, holding you back from career growth, or slowly draining your funds, but you still have work and family responsibilities you need to continue, then outpatient care may be your best option.

If you’d like help choosing what is best for you, give us a call to discuss your options. We’re here to help you choose the best path to long-term recovery.

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About programs offered at Eagle View Behavioral Health

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