Inpatient vs. Outpatient Alcohol Rehab: What Are the Key Differences?

Alcohol rehabilitation programs are often the best way, if not the only way, for people struggling with addiction to get the help they need. Most alcohol treatment programs are either outpatient alcohol rehab or inpatient rehab.

So, what’s the difference between inpatient vs outpatient alcohol rehab?

One takes place inside a facility while the other you can do from the comfort of your own home. Which one is right for you depends on the severity of your addiction and the demands of your personal and professional life.

In this article, we’ll break down the ways experiences of treatment differ between inpatient and outpatient recovery programs. Are you wondering, “Where’s an inpatient or outpatient alcohol rehab center near me?” We can help you with that, too!

Inpatient Recovery

An inpatient recovery program takes place in a controlled residential environment with 24-hour support. To participate in inpatient treatment, a person needs to check themselves into a facility.

The benefit of inpatient treatment is that patients can focus all of their energy on the treatment program. They don’t have the distractions of everyday life, work, relationships, and survival in the way.

Inpatient treatment requires a lot of preparation beforehand. Patients need to give themselves enough time to do things like notify their employers, make childcare arrangements, pack, and plan transportation.

During inpatient treatment, the daily life of residents is carefully scheduled to prevent relapse and focus on getting sober. Patients meet with mental health professionals regularly, both as individuals and in group therapy.

What’s Detox Like?

When a person enters an inpatient program, the first thing they do is go through a medically assisted detox. That means they have the medical support of doctors and addiction specialists during the detox process.

Having medical care and monitoring during detox can be very helpful in preventing relapse. Detox is one of the times when relapse is most common. This is because drug cravings are a common experience during detox.

It can be very difficult to navigate cravings and withdrawal symptoms alone during detox. In fact, withdrawal symptoms from certain substances can be life-threatening. It is always best to use medical supervision during withdrawal.

Can I See Friends and Family?

The best inpatient clinics understand the importance of community involvement in the recovery process. People recovering from alcohol and drug addiction need the support of their friends and family in order to succeed.

While in residential inpatient treatment, friends and family members are able to contact patients. Of course, each treatment center has its own policies. Some centers allow visitors, while others do not.

Certain treatment centers also offer therapy and counseling for the families of addicted persons as well.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

The length of inpatient treatment programs varies. On average, they can last anywhere from one month to six months. Some treatment centers offer one, two, and three-month programs.

Anything over three months is considered a long-term rehab program. Some last longer than a year. It really depends on what the patient needs.

Outpatient Recovery

Outpatient recovery is the opposite of inpatient recovery. Patients enrolled in outpatient recovery programs live in their own homes. They continue to work or go to school throughout the course of treatment.

It is also possible for patients to live in other therapeutic environments during outpatient treatment. This might be a form of safe haven like a sober living environment.

During outpatient rehabilitation, patients meet with a mental health or addiction recovery professional on a regular basis. This might happen in a treatment center, a hospital, a mental health clinic, or a therapist’s office.

Certain outpatient programs also hold group therapy sessions during evenings and weekends. This can make it easier for patients to balance their treatment with the obligations of daily life.

What’s Detox Like?

Detox during outpatient treatment typically takes less time than inpatient detox. It is best for patients with mild or moderate withdrawal symptoms.

When it’s time to detox, the patient will check into a hospital or treatment facility. This will enable them to have medical checkups while they go through withdrawal. It is not advisable to go through withdrawal without medical care.

When patients go in for a withdrawal check-up, a doctor may prescribe medications to lessen the symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms may include but are not limited to, anxiety, depression, and increased heart rate.

Can I See Friends and Family?

Because patients remain in their own homes during outpatient treatment, it is possible to remain in close contact with family and friends. Having a reliable support system can be the difference between recovery and relapse for many.

Some patients attend Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous in conjunction with outpatient treatment. Participating in a recovery group is a great way to garner community support during this challenging process.

It is not uncommon for patients to enter outpatient recovery programs after completing inpatient treatment either. Every path to recovery looks different. The goal is for every patient to get the support they require.

How Long Does Treatment Take?

Outpatient recovery is not as cut and dried as inpatient recovery. A person in an outpatient treatment program may spend 10 to 12 hours each week visiting their treatment center for meetings and therapy.

With outpatient treatment, the amount of time a person spends in the program depends on how much time and effort they put into it.

Choosing the Right Treatment For You

Fortunately, recovery programs are much less one size fits all these days. Treatment programs now take into account the individual person. That means you can find very specialized treatment programs to suit your needs.

This also means the process of choosing a recovery program is a little more complicated. However, the more thoughtful you are in choosing a program, the better your results will be and the more you’ll feel satisfied with the process.

Here are some things you should take into consideration when choosing a recovery program:

  • What type of addiction you suffer from
  • Your age
  • Your gender and sexuality
  • Your profession
  • Your religion, culture, and personal values
  • The location and amenities the program offers
  • Your finances

Remember that addiction is a chronic illness. Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process. Be patient with those who are struggling with addiction (even if it’s yourself) and help them find the right program.

Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Near Me

Both inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab programs have much to offer addiction sufferers. An inpatient program will involve more structure and takes place inside a facility. It requires that residents put their lives on hold while undergoing treatment.

Outpatient recovery programs offer a balance between life and treatment. Patients remain at homes and at their jobs while attending several hours of treatment sessions each week.

Looking for “the best outpatient alcohol near me” for treatment? Do you live within 20 minutes of Austin, Texas? Then contact Oakvine Recovery Center today to learn about the treatment options at our facility.