The Difference Between Inpatient & Outpatient Addiction Treatments


Modern America has plenty of problems, but one of the biggest issues facing the United States is the so-called addiction epidemic. This goes along with a wider mental health decline. With powerful drugs available on streets and in our pharmacies, it is easy to get access to substances that are highly addictive. In response to the growing addiction problem in this country, there is also a growing response to it. Substance abuse, dependence, and rehab treatments have all evolved to meet the need. There is one major difference between addiction treatments today—inpatient and outpatient.


After accepting that there is a problem and treatment is needed, the patient will go through detox. Detox is the process of withdrawal from substances that occurs after they stop using. Depending on the drug and how long the person has been addicted, withdrawal symptoms vary.

You really don’t know what is going to happen until the person stops using their drug of choice. Detox should be supervised for these reasons. Some substances have worse withdrawals than others. When someone is addicted to alcohol or opioids, for example, they should certainly go to inpatient treatment such as a Florida detox center where detox supervision is provided.

Inpatient vs Outpatient

Inpatient treatment is what you likely think of when you picture addiction rehab. It is where the patient stays in the facility for about a month. During this time they go through withdrawals and detox supervision before moving on to long-term treatment. Both inpatient and outpatient have the same kind of recovery modalities.

For example, the patient sees an addiction counselor for sessions. They will also attend support group meetings where they’ll begin the 12-step program and get a sponsor. Both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatments take the same approach to addiction recovery. The main difference is that outpatient treatment doesn’t require the person to stay overnight at a facility.

Outpatient treatment, instead, is designed for functional substance abusers who need treatment to stop using but can live the rest of their life while they do it. For people who need to work, be at home, or take care of their families, outpatient treatment can help guide them through the process better than attending a 12-step meeting alone.

Furthermore, another thing that both inpatient and outpatient should have is dual diagnosis treatment. A dual diagnosis is when someone who has an addiction is also struggling with a co-occurring mental health issue. Typically, when there is a dual diagnosis they begin using drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. However, self-medication doesn’t work. When these people come in for addiction treatment, they may or may not know that they have an underlying condition. It is the job of the addiction specialists to provide dual diagnosis treatment to comprehensively treat the whole person, not just the dependence.

Types of Inpatient Rehab

The clinical setting is the most common form of addiction rehab, but it’s just one version of inpatient care. In addition to going to a drug rehab center, there are residential addiction treatment options. For example, inpatient care takes place in a home where counselors treat patients who live there for the duration of their treatment. Not only does this provide a sense of comfort because it removes the clinical setting, but the people also who live at the home support each other and hold nightly meetings.

Residential inpatient treatment can turn into sober living too. Whether the person goes to inpatient in a center or at a home facility, they can live in a sober living home as a form of aftercare. If the person isn’t comfortable living with people who aren’t in recovery, sober living provides a context and environment for them to continue their sobriety and make it last.

Finally, luxury rehabs are a form of inpatient treatment. Luxury treatment can be clinical or residential. They are luxury because they provide more privacy, some of the best paid addiction specialists, and all kinds of amenities. If you can afford luxury treatment and want to get away from it all, it might be a good option for you.

There are a lot of different addiction treatments, but the biggest difference is whether they have the patient stay overnight or go home. With this initial decision, the rest of the questions can be answered. So, which is better for you or your loved one struggling with addiction?


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