Inpatient Rehab Centers
Inpatient rehab centers or outpatient programs?
Often, the first step for rehabilitation in the case of a substance abuse program is treatment. Patients who want to recover need to seek effective treatment options or support for starting to become sober. These programs often are offered at different rehab centers or hospitals. When the person wants to start treatment, a question they need to consider is whether they should choose an inpatient rehab center or an outpatient intervention program. The person might wonder which option better fits their situation or which can be more effective to treat addiction. Let’s take a look at the different choices.
First of all, what does inpatient and outpatient mean? An inpatient program is one in which the person lives inside the facilities during the treatment. They might live at the hospital or at an inpatient rehab center. The center provides housing, meals, and around-the-clock attention in addition to the treatment program. Outpatient means that the person does not reside in the place of treatment. They can come in for the therapy sessions or medical evaluations, but they continue their normal routine.
Each modality has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at what these are. First, it’s worth mentioning that no approach is better than the other, and they can better serve patients under different circumstances.
An inpatient program tends to be more intensive. The patient’s whole day is focused on recovery, and it usually involves people who are not working or who are taking a rest from their usual routine. People might have limited contact with people from their daily lives and be very focused on their recovery at the time.
An inpatient rehab center usually offers more intensive medical care and can be more indicated for people who require medical supervision. For example, a person who needs to go through a detox process might have a higher risk of complications and should have a medical staff around the time when they are going through detox, as this process shouldn’t be attempted at home or without medical care.
An inpatient program also can help take the person away from their routine, which may involve using substances or interacting with people who can encourage them to use. It also limits the person’s access to substances and can force them to stay sober for a time, which can allow someone to reflect about their life situation and realize they do have a problem.
An inpatient is usually indicated for people who are placed in the program by a court order, as people who enter programs this way are likely to sabotage the process, feel unmotivated, or not recognize their need for treatment. In an inpatient program, the person will have to participate, whereas at an outpatient program, it’s more likely they will miss appointments or continue using the substance.
As for the drawbacks, there are also a few. An inpatient rehab center will usually be more expensive, as the patient needs to cover their housing, meals, and other things. It also requires the person to enter the program, losing the opportunity to fill their other obligations. While often there is no other choice, sometimes the person can not afford to quit or be fired from their job or has no opportunity to enter the program due to childcare or other responsibilities.
Now, let’s consider an outpatient program. It tends to be effective, but less intense. It might involve the person going in for treatment every day or several times a week. Often, an outpatient program is implemented after an inpatient program.
There are several advantages to an outpatient program. First of all, it tends to be less expensive. Many programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous, are free to attend. Depending on the program, it can be more affordable or even free, which makes a lot of difference to many patients.
Secondly, an outpatient program allows the person to continue their daily life. The person can still go to work, study, and meet their responsibilities, so they can avoid falling into debt or becoming unemployed.
Thirdly, an outpatient program can be effective like an inpatient program, but be more accessible. Many people might feel reluctant to enter an inpatient program for fear of the stigma, but find an outpatient program more manageable in relation to this aspect.
Another consideration is that an outpatient program may be more easily available. There are, for example, many Alcoholics Anonymous groups, but affordable rehab centers can be harder to come by or require the person to travel, adding to the overall expenses. The opposite may also be true in some cases.
So, inpatient or outpatient? The answer will vary depending on the patient’s circumstances. There are several situations where an inpatient program can be strongly recommended.
An inpatient program can be strongly recommended if:
- There is a severe substance abuse problem. The person is experiencing many negative effects due to substance use and it affects every or most areas of their life. The person’s addiction has both physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms.
- The person is likely to seek substances if left on their daily routine. The person has contant with people or situations that incite them to use substances or allow them access to these substances. The person’s circumstances are more likely to engage their use (for example, the patient lives with a partner who continuously uses substances and has friends over to do so).
- The person needs to go through a detox process or has other circumstances that require medical care. The person’s life or health are at stake if the person continues using the substance or if they use again.
- The person is not personally motivated to change. The person is likely to sabotage the treatment or is in treatment due to a court order or other external circumstances.
On the other hand, an outpatient program can be recommended if:
- The person has completed an inpatient program and wants to continue with the treatment.
- The person’s addiction is less severe. The person is able to adapt to their daily life.
- The person has obligations that they can not put on hold or pass on to others (work, childcare, caring for an ailing person, etc.)or the person is likely to significantly worsen their situation if they enter an inpatient program (for example, lose a job).
- The person is motivated to change and can make changes in their routine. The person is committed to getting better. The person’s circumstances do not directly incite them to use substances.
Overall, both inpatient and outpatient programs have their place and their effectiveness. Any program is better than no treatment, so depending on the person’s circumstances, it would be good to find the program that best adjusts to the person’s individual situation. An inpatient program can also be continued as an outpatient program.
While sometimes circumstances don’t allow for the best treatment, it is important to encourage the patient to continue some form of treatment and seek help however they can find it. Treatment, even if it’s not the ideal option, can make a real difference in the person’s life and enhance their opportunities, empowering them to seek more help in the future.