Inpatient vs. Outpatient Drug Treatment Centers

Drug Treatment Centers

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), individual treatment results will always vary due to the nature of the addiction, quality of treatment services, and quality of interaction between patient and treatment professional. However, the majority of drug addicts, who remain in inpatient treatment, are able to overcome their addiction and improve their work, social, and personal functioning. Below explains the difference between the two major types of drug treatment centers.

Inpatient Treatment Offers Structure

Inpatient treatment programs typically last between one to three months. Depending on the nature and severity of the addiction, some programs last up to a year. Inpatient treatment programs are unique in that the patient lives in a licensed facility under the supervision and support of trained professionals. These residential programs offer structure and a busy schedule, both of which keep the inpatients totally focused on recovery. In fact, many new patients experience a ‘blackout’ phase during the first 30 days. During this time, the patient does not leave the facility without a chaperone and is 100 percent focused on breaking their addiction. This is an essential key to drug addiction recovery.

Every day, inpatients participate in either individual therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, or in group therapy sessions. One of the benefits of these sessions is that patients feel less isolated and more hopeful. They also have positive interactions and support from fellow recovering addicts. Addicts can freely participate in other wholesome, in-facility social activities. Inpatient treatment centers are safe facilities that keep the patient free from distractions or negative influences. These facilities often have excellent amenities and provide nutritious meals and other healthful activities. Statistically speaking, inpatient treatment programs are the best option for addicts hoping to recover.

Outpatient Treatment Offers Flexibility

Outpatient treatment centers offer similar services as inpatient treatment facilities. However, they do not require the patient to live in the facility. Instead, patients are allowed to selectively attend day services while working and living at home. Outpatient treatment sounds more appealing, because it offers more privacy, anonymity and freedom. However, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), intense treatments are directly associated with better outcomes. Inpatient treatment facilities are a more comprehensive treatment approach.

The major disadvantage of outpatient treatment is that patients experience weak social support and life structure. As a result, they may be exposed to temptations and experience more difficulties maintaining sobriety and their commitment to recovery. Therefore, outpatient treatment is not recommended for patients attempting to quit cold turkey. In fact, many drug treatment centers prefer graduates of inpatient treatment facilities because they have the self-control, determination and maturity.

To summarize, drug treatment centers have long been considered the best way to treat drug addictions. However, inpatient treatment facilities have statistically higher success rates. Patients who have successfully completed inpatient treatment experience lower recidivism rates and improved life functioning.

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