Everyone has their own perception of drug addiction treatment and how it works. Many often imagine it as living in a dormitory with a clinical theme, constantly surrounded by nurses, doctors, and other addicts. However, this is not what every rehabilitation center is like, nor is it the only method of rehabilitation.

While it is common to seek rehabilitation through an outside source, such as a treatment center where addicts may temporarily live, there are methods of working on and building treatment at home. These methods are known as inpatient care and outpatient care respectively, and there are a number of differences between them and how they may benefit an addict.

What Defines Inpatient and Outpatient Care

Inpatient and outpatient care vary in how the methods of a patient’s treatment is handled. While they may share a handful of methods, the general process is largely different.

Inpatient care is more in line with what most people think of when it comes to drug addiction treatment. Patients stay in medical rehabilitation centers or hospitals and are required to stay in the duration of their treatment. During this specific period, they must be monitored by a nurse or doctor. From there, they receive treatment, therapy, and exercises from within a facility for a set period of time, depending on their treatment plan.

For outpatient care, the addict in question does not need to be hospitalized overnight. They are free to leave after any procedures or sessions if no major concerns are raised. Otherwise, patients are free to return home or can even be visited by therapists if necessary.

The Advantages of Inpatient Care

Many people fear the elements that define inpatient care; from an outside perspective, it can feel ensnaring and limiting. Patients may feel trapped in a rehabilitation center or intimidated being surrounded by others. But getting over these fears can help reach an effective form of treatment.

Inpatient care is focused and consistent—it can give a feeling of isolation, but it allows for a break from the stressors of daily life and the temptations to fall back into addiction. There is also comfort to be found in inpatient care with other addicts, allowing for you to relate and connect with others in a therapeutic fashion.

While under inpatient care, addicts are also much more closely monitored by doctors, nurses, and therapists who can study their behavior to better determine how much progress they have made in the recovery process. Inpatient care is also considered safer because of this, although some patients might feel more restricted in the process than others.

The Advantages of Outpatient Care

When it comes to outpatient care, there are two major benefits that come to mind.

An addict is able to stay in the comfort of their home rather than be obligated to stay inside a rehabilitation center which—depending on the individual—can be more stressful than necessary. They can work on recovery with visits to doctors or group therapy sessions and tend to family and work obligations without their lives being put at a standstill by enrolling in a rehabilitation center. In some cases, a doctor or therapist may visit them instead.

Unlike inpatient care, outpatient care does not have the burden of greater costs. While insurance can cover the costs of staying in rehabilitation centers, longer stays may be more problematic and, ultimately, more expensive. This can make outpatient care the more cost-effective choice, and likely better for those who have a low budget.

The choice between inpatient and outpatient care is something that should be determined by the patient’s preferences overall, as well as the potential severity of their addiction. There are benefits to be found in both methods, but patients should decide accordingly.

The Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Care

If you or a loved one is considering rehabilitation for drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab program in Tennessee. You might also investigate Discovery Place’s own recovery programs, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Recovery Program or our Long-Term Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.


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