Description of Outpatient and Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment


Description of Outpatient and Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment

Both outpatient and inpatient substance abuse programs are very effective for individuals needing alcohol or drug treatment, but it's often hard for a person to determine which option would be the most beneficial in helping them personally reach long-term sobriety. Everyone that suffers from alcohol or drug addiction is different.


The type of treatment needed to reach and maintain lasting abstinence greatly depends on the individual and their level of substance abuse.

There are some similarities between outpatient and inpatient substance abuse treatment. When it comes to outpatient and inpatient alcohol or drug treatment, both of them offer the same type of therapy and the client has the opportunity to take advantage of individual and group therapy sessions. Both inpatient and outpatient substance abuse programs generally offer clients the opportunity to attend 12 step groups and other support groups as well, these are extremely beneficial during recovery.

Outpatient and inpatient substance abuse programs also have similar rules and expectations for their clients. For example, individuals must remain clean and sober while participating in both outpatient and inpatient programs. Another similarity is that clients must attend therapy sessions and other recommended forms of treatment on a regular basis. Clients may even have to show proof of their attendance to their therapist in order to continue with their therapy.

Although all substance abuse treatment programs vary in the services they provide, below is a general description of what outpatient and inpatient treatment generally entails.

Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Because outpatient treatment involves part time enrollment, it's best for individuals that moderately abuse drugs or alcohol. When a person enrolls in an outpatient treatment program they can still remain employed or attend school every day and continue to spend time with family and friends. This is one of the advantages of outpatient substance abuse treatment, the client can still engage in daily activities while receiving treatment.

During outpatient treatment, clients generally receive up to 4 hours of individual and group counseling every day. Because clients have to follow certain rules or may have to report directly to a therapist about their activities, outpatient programs can be more effective for individuals who are more independent. When a person is able to remain sober and continue being independent, it can help them feel stronger and more in control of themselves.

Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Although inpatient treatment can benefit anyone struggling with substance abuse problems or addiction, this level of care is necessary for heavily dependent and addicted individuals because it provides full time counseling and therapy. The length of stay in inpatient treatment is typically around 21 to 45 days. Inpatient treatment consists of sleeping, eating, and working on interpersonal and intrapersonal issues related to the individual's substance abuse.

Inpatient treatment provides a structured substance free environment for the newly sober person, this way they can feel more secure and continue to remain abstinent. Individuals usually have to follow specific schedules and engage in productive activities throughout the day, this helps to distract them from the desire to drug or use drugs. This is one of the many advantages of inpatient substance abuse treatment.

There are many other advantages of inpatient treatment, a client can receive various important and effective therapies when they're enrolled in this level of alcohol and drug treatment. Inpatient treatment includes cognitive, emotional and behavioral therapies. These effective therapies focus on helping the individual identify reasons they chose to abuse drugs, alcohol or both and provides them with helpful skills to solve problems and modify their unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.

Relapse prevention techniques and substance abuse education classes, practical life skills and social services are additional benefits some inpatient treatment centers provide to help their clients in achieving long-term sobriety. Statistics show that individuals that dedicate more than 30 days to an impatient treatment program almost double their rate of success for long-term sobriety and they're not nearly as prone to relapse.

Which Substance Abuse Program Would Work for Me?

Remember, every person that suffers from drug or alcohol addiction is different. Some people respond better to outpatient treatment while others respond better to inpatient treatment. Studies have shown that those attending extended stay in inpatient treatment programs are much less likely to relapse. Because of this, each client should discuss their needs with an intake counselor at any substance abuse rehab program and together determine what type of treatment plan would work best for them personally.

Many people begin with an inpatient program and then follow up with an outpatient program. Although some people do better by attending outpatient substance abuse therapy in the beginning, it doesn't matter which type of treatment you use as long as your treatment plan is effective for you personally.

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