Is Inpatient Drug Rehab Better Than Outpatient Drug Rehab?
September 16, 2021
Drug addiction, or substance use disorder as it’s formally known, affects more than 20 million people in the United States alone. If you’re one of them, you may have heard of drug rehab, which is an effective way of getting back to a sober life.
There are two main types of rehab — inpatient and outpatient. In inpatient rehab, you will live inside a rehab facility for one to three months. In outpatient rehab, on the other hand, you don’t have to stay in a rehab center for a long time. You only have to go there during scheduled therapy sessions. Afterwards, you are free to go home. That means when you go through outpatient rehab, you can go on with your normal routines like work or school.
Many studies point to the higher success rates of inpatient rehab. Why is this so? What are the advantages of inpatient rehab over outpatient rehab? Let’s look at them in depth.
What are the differences between inpatient and outpatient drug rehabs?
The main difference is in outpatient rehab, you are not confined to a rehab facility for months. Instead, outpatient programs have anywhere from 9 to 20 hours a week of therapy. Depending on your treatment plan, the schedule can be daily or only on some days of the week. Outside of these sessions, you are free to do anything. That means you can still show up to work or school while going through treatment.
On the other hand, if you’re enrolled in an inpatient rehab program, you have to stay inside a rehab facility for the whole duration of the program. This can be anywhere from 30 days to 90 days, depending on the severity of your substance use disorder. During this time, you can completely focus on your recovery journey.
Each day in the rehab center will be completely different from what you’re used to. You will have to follow a daily schedule. Different activities are designated to different parts of the day. Meal times are definite, as well as sleeping and waking times.
Structured daily routines may be daunting at first, but they will help you build healthy habits. In turn, this new lifestyle will take you away from the influence of drugs.
Also, you will have access to 24/7 care in an inpatient rehab center. Any time you’re feeling ill or having a problem, you can call for a doctor, nurse, or mental health professional to help you out. They will also attend to you quickly in case of any emergencies.
Inpatient rehabs are usually advised if you have a severe case of substance use disorder. This is when you have the following patterns of behavior:
- Physical violence
- Verbal abuse
- Behaving in a way that’s dangerous to your immediate family or the people you live with at home
- Uncontrollable drug cravings
- Excessive drug use
- Neglecting important responsibilities
If your case is mild, and your behavior does not pose a threat to anyone around you, you may choose to enroll in an outpatient rehab program. In any case, your doctor or an addiction recovery professional will make the recommendation.
What makes inpatient drug rehab beneficial?
The main advantage of inpatient rehab is having an ideal environment for recovery. Inside a rehab center, there are no drugs or temptations to use drugs. The structured, organized routine you will follow each day ensures you are as far away from the influence of drugs as possible.
If your home environment is stressful, or if it’s full of temptations to use drugs, you will benefit a lot from inpatient rehab. For the whole duration of the treatment, you will be away from unhealthy environments. Thus, it’s the best place for you to concentrate on creating a healthy lifestyle.
Another huge advantage of inpatient drug rehab is 24/7 care. You don’t get this in outpatient rehab, as the only time you get in touch with therapists is during scheduled sessions. In inpatient rehab, though, you can call for help any time you need it. If you feel anxious or have thoughts that are bothering you, mental health professionals can take care of you at any time. If you experience any medical emergencies, doctors are there to tend to you.
This 24/7 care gives you extra assurance that there is always someone qualified ready to help you whenever you need it. This feeling of assurance also helps with your recovery journey. You’re certain that you’re in a supportive environment.
Being in the company of people also recovering from substance use disorder is a big plus. Inpatient rehab involves group therapy sessions, and each patient will share experiences with each other. You will also have your chance to share your recovery journey with your fellow patients.
These group sessions will give you a sense of companionship within the rehab center. You can encourage each other to stick to the treatment. You can also help each other build the discipline you need to keep going with your recovery.
Many inpatient rehab centers have recreational facilities like basketball courts, ping pong tables, tennis courts, and swimming pools. You’ll be allotted a few hours of free time each day, and you can do any activity that you enjoy. This is a great opportunity to get into a new hobby as well, which can effectively take the place of drug use.
Some rehabs also offer massage parlors, saunas, jacuzzis, and the like. These amenities also help you relax and unwind from a full day of therapy sessions. Other centers even have alternative therapies, which involve art, music, dance, and animal companions.
Painting, for example, can occupy your time in a healthy, creative way. If you get into your art, you’re essentially reprogramming your brain with a different activity that you associate with pleasure and fulfilment. The same thing goes if you get busy with music, dance, and pets. Pets, in particular, can be particularly relaxing, warding off stress in an instant.
None of these options are available in outpatient rehab. Thus, in many ways, inpatient rehab may be more advantageous for many people.