What are the Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation?

Do I really need to go inpatient?

The need to seek drug and alcohol treatment on an inpatient or outpatient basis depends on the nature of the addiction. If detoxification is needed, inpatient treatment is most definitely needed in order to get through all the stages of withdrawal and recovery. Otherwise, the decision may have to be made by a professional. One of the problems with addiction is denial – few people will willingly acknowledge the severity of the problem, instead taking the position that it is a manageable situation. An outside, impartial observer is better equipped to make the assessment.

If that is not feasible, there are many “tests” and “quizzes” available to help you at least identify that a problem exists. If you take one, and agree with what the results indicate, seek help. Once you contact a treatment facility, the staff will be honest with you as to whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is best.

Is outpatient treatment enough for me?

Just as with determining if inpatient treatment is needed, the same applies for outpatient treatment. It depends on the severity of the addiction, and how much the daily environment contributes to the pattern of addiction. If it is determined that individual or group therapy on a daily or weekly basis is effective, as well as participation in 12 Step programs, then outpatient treatment may be an effective treatment program. However, if the abuse continues despite these programs, then the move to inpatient treatment may be needed in order to lay a thorough grounding in recovery processes.

Talk to a professional and get an assessment

If you believe you have a problem with drugs, alcohol, or process addictions, the best path to take is to speak with a professional in the field to get a competent diagnosis. These healthcare professionals are fully licensed and credentialed in the field of substance abuse, and will be honest in their assessment. An additional benefit of visiting with a professional is the opportunity to be assessed for a co-occurring disorder that may be underpinning the addiction. If such a condition exists, its identification greatly increases the chances of successful recovery.


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