Pros and Cons to Inpatient Vs Outpatient Addiction Treatment Center

The first step on the road to recovery is knowing you need help to beat your addiction. Another big step is choosing between an inpatient / residential and outpatient addiction treatment center. Each type of treatment setting has advantages and disadvantages.  In this article, we share some of the advantages and disadvantages of inpatient / residential drug rehab facilities and the outpatient addiction treatment center.

Advantages of Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient, or residential addiction treatment for men and women with substance use disorder requires at least a 28-day stay. The actual length of a typical stay depends on your diagnosis, needs, situation, and insurance coverage.  The ideal stay would be more like 90 days although most insurance companies don’t cover beyond 60 days.

Pros of Residential and Inpatient Drug Rehab Facilities:

outpatient addiction treatment center•You receive 24-hour supervision by trained staff and therapists; you are never alone while battling your addiction.

•You are part of a community – other residents in the facility are also overcoming their drug addictions.

•You are in a program that provides an intense level of care – individuals who have tried to battle addiction previously may a more intense setting.

•Being in a residential setting, more time each day is focused on recovery, through group and individual counseling settings, as well as other treatment exercises.

•You do not have the distractions of daily life activities/worries while in treatment.

Cons of Inpatient and Residential Addiction Treatment Centers:

• You are not free to come and go and you, as you please.

• You are in a structured environment that dictates when you get up in the morning when you eat, when you have counseling sessions and when you have free-time. For many, though this seems like a “con” it is actually one of the best components of residential/inpatient treatment.

• Arrangements for childcare will need to be made while you are in treatment.

• Often, you will need to take a leave from your job to participate in residential treatment.

• Many insurers will only cover outpatient treatment.

Outpatient Rehabilitation Centers

As the name implies, you receive treatment as you come and go. You typically participate in counseling sessions for a specific time frame before you complete the program.  Drug tests via urine is part of the program.

Pros of the Outpatient Addiction Treatment Center:

• Outpatient treatment is structured so you can continue many of your daily activities such as work, caring for children etc.

• Counseling sessions are often offered in the evenings and sometimes even on weekends.

• You can apply what you learn in inpatient addiction treatment to your real life setting and start making changes immediately.

• Many outpatient programs include family sessions, to help your support network better understand the challenges you face.

• Outpatient is considered a more affordable treatment option and is generally covered by insurance.

Cons of Outpatient Addiction Treatment Facilities:

• You risk being exposed to the same influences, risks, and triggers in your life that pushed you towards drug or alcohol.

• You may still have access to drugs/alcohol.

• Daily life distractions could keep you from focusing on recovery.

• Access to your counselor is more limited than in a residential/inpatient facility.

• Many residential clients develop bonds with other people in treatment that later become part of their sober support network. In outpatient, you do not spend as much time with others in treatment, which makes building the foundation of this support network more challenging.

There are many pros and cons to rehabilitation facilities. You just have to choose which is best for you or your loved one.

Need Addiction Treatment and Help?

Our online drug addiction and recovery community helps men and women suffering from Substance Use Disorder, drug and heroin addiction who are sick and tired of being slaves and get the addiction help and treatment they want, need and deserve. For those ready for a chance, fill out our brief addiction treatment contact form. You can also call our drug rehab hotline at 215-857-5151.


Written by William Charles – Publisher of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

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