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Detox Methods: Inpatient vs Outpatient

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | By Ardent Digital

drug and alcohol detox los angeles

Table Of Contents

If you’ve decided to give up drugs or alcohol, then a rehab treatment program is often the best choice for beating addiction.

But you have a choice: inpatient vs outpatient. Which one is better suited for your situation? We explain the details of both so you can make the best decision.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab is the ideal way to recover and detox from addiction. When you go to inpatient rehab, you’ll live in a specialized rehabilitation center and spend all of your time there. There’ll also be experienced medical professionals who understand what you’re going through and how to handle it.

Furthermore, you will have access to medication to help deal with the side effects of detoxing. In some cases, this might be essential to ensure your safety. For example, if you have a severe alcohol addiction, you might be prescribed a benzodiazepine to prevent you from having a seizure.

Inpatient rehab is best for those who want to fully commit to their recovery with zero distractions from the outside world. Not only will you go through the detoxing process, but you’ll also attend various counseling sessions, including group therapy.

Inpatient facilities are also ideal for those with a history of relapse, or are afraid of it. If you feel tempted to use drugs or alcohol again, you’ll have instant access to the support you need. Since you live in the facility, it’ll be near impossible for you to get hold of any drugs or alcohol.

Advantages of Inpatient Rehab

  • You get to live in a stable environment, free of any bad influences or triggers
  • Less of a chance of relapse since you don’t have access to drugs or alcohol
  • Higher chance of success than other methods
  • You have the option of choosing a luxury facility
  • Round-the-clock medical and psychiatric monitoring

Disadvantages of Inpatient Rehab

  • Limited access to the outside world
  • You’ll need to take time off work or school
  • Treatment costs more since you’re paying for room and board, as well as treatment
  • Somewhat cut off from friends and family

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab is more suited to those who can’t fully commit to an inpatient program. If money is an issue, you may go to outpatient rehab instead of inpatient, as it’s much more affordable.

You also might have a lot of responsibilities such as work, school, or childcare. Not everyone can just take time off from their everyday life to go to rehab.

When you attend an outpatient rehab program, you’ll continue to live at home while making frequent visits to the rehab center for treatment. This means outpatient rehab is not necessarily suited for those with serious addiction problems. If you’re an alcoholic, for example, you might need to have constant medical observation while you detox.

Like with inpatient rehab, you’ll attend group and solo counseling sessions.

Advantages of Outpatient Rehab

  • Costs less than inpatient rehab
  • You can continue to go to school or work
  • You can be supported by your friends and family
  • You get to put the relapse prevention techniques you’ve learned into practice in the real world

Disadvantages of Outpatient Rehab

  • You’ll still have access to drugs and alcohol
  • You won’t get 24-hour care
  • Doesn’t protect you from a stressful home environment
  • Difficult to manage life-threatening withdrawal symptoms

Inpatient vs Outpatient: Which Is Right for You?

In terms of services available, inpatient rehab definitely has more to offer. With round-the-clock care and isolation from drugs and negative influences, your chances of recovery are high.

That being said, inpatient rehab simply isn’t an option for a lot of people. If you can’t afford to spend time in an inpatient center, outpatient treatment is the next best thing.

If you can afford inpatient treatment but you have responsibilities such as work or school, you should do your best to negotiate some time off. If you’re not able to do that, then enroll in an outpatient program.

For some people, their home environment is not suitable for outpatient rehab. If you live with other people who abuse drugs or alcohol, the chances of you being able to recover are significantly reduced.

On the other hand, if you have a strong support network at home, outpatient rehab could actually be very effective. If you’re considering outpatient rehab, you need to think carefully about your situation at home.

Get to the Root of the Problem

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are so much more than simply detoxing from drugs and alcohol. Once you’ve detoxed, you’ll find your journey into recovery is only just beginning.

It’s vital that you not only get clean, but also that you address any co-occurring disorders you might have. In the majority of cases, those who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction have some kind of psychological issue. It’s impossible to treat the addiction without addressing these issues as well.

Often, addicts are not aware they have a mental disorder. Once you have a greater understanding of the psychological issues you face, the easier it is to stay sober.


After you complete a rehab program, you’ll need to put the techniques you’ve learned into practice. Some people are able to go straight from rehab back into their normal lives, but others might need to take further steps. If you feel you’re at risk for relapse, you might want to consider spending some time at a sober living facility.

A sober living facility is somewhere former addicts live. There, you’ll have access to counselors to talk to if you feel tempted to use drugs or alcohol again. Eventually, you’ll be ready to start living independently again, but you may need to make some lifestyle changes if you want to avoid relapsing again.

Get Healthy Again

When choosing inpatient vs outpatient care, there are a lot of things you need to consider. Your responsibilities, money, and home situation, just to name a few.

If you’re still not sure which would be best for you, don’t hesitate to get some professional advice. All medical personnel are there to help you on the best road to recovery.

Need to talk to recovery specialists? Then get in touch with us now.

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  • Going to treatment at circle of hope was one of the best programs Ive participated in, they helped me get my life back. They have amazing staff and over all good natured people. They focus on all aspects of counseling , case management, meetings, different types of therapy, including trauma, one on one counseling. This is coming from someone who has been traumatized and neglected. They helped me get to the root of the problem. Which most times can feel very uncomfortable but they provide groups that you participate in and communicate to other addicts and hear their life stories. They really are an organization of team working to help heal the conflicted minds of us addicts that we faced everyday. I would highly recommend this treatment program to anyone suffering from substance abuse or mental health.

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