Inpatient vs. Outpatient Drug Rehab

There are two main categories of drug rehab programs: inpatient and outpatient. In short, inpatient treatment requires that you live at a drug rehab facility for the duration of your treatment, while outpatient drug rehab allows you to live your life as normal while receiving part-time intensive treatment. Each type of treatment has it pros and cons.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

  • You are required to reside in the Inpatient program facility. Three types are available:
    • Residential Programs (basic) – provides live-in treatment with medical care, attend one-on-one therapy or take part in group sessions and other planned activities.
    • Luxury Programs– basic services with added amenities and services. You can take advantage of a masseuse, pools, horse grooming and riding, choices of different cuisines, and upgraded accommodations in more exotic locations, such as mountain retreats or lake/sea locales.
    • Executive Programs – all of the Luxury features with the addition of access to the Internet, private conference rooms, and individual work spaces designed for the use of executives or CEOs. 
  • 24-hour care provides comfort and safety.
  • 24-hour monitoring to ensure withdrawal symptoms do not become life-threatening.
  • Supervised detoxification.
  • Medication, if required, is administered.
  • Group and one-on-one therapy.
  • Patients are removed from temptation and can focus completely on recovery.
  • Inpatient programs last for one to three months depending on the needs of the patient.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

  • Daily treatment at a rehab center. When you are not in treatment, you may return to your regular life at home, work, or school.
  • Outpatient program cost less than inpatient programs. 
  • Supervised detoxification while you are at the facility.
  • Medication, if required, is administered during your daily visit to the facility.
  • Group and individual therapy, which could include some or all of the following:
    • Behavioral therapy – to lead you to insight into your own behavior that has led you to drug or alcohol abuse so that you can choose a healthier lifestyle.
    • Avoidance management – provides support and advice to find ways for you to avoid the temptation to use drugs or alcohol. Incentives could be included.
    • Motivational interviewing – to give you reasons to partake/continue in treatment.
    • Matrix Model - combines several of the above approaches with the specific purpose of stopping drug or alcohol abuse and to remain abstinent.
    • Family therapy – inclusion of family members in discussions to discover ways to facilitate your treatment and recovery.
    • Other programs available to provide skills training, supplemental educational and mental health counseling.


More severe addiction treatment will begin with detoxification. Professionals will determine whether it is best to stop your drug use all at once or to reduce the dosage gradually. Either way, patients will experience withdrawal symptoms. Patients will be monitored to make certain that withdrawal symptoms do not become too severe.

Medication Administration

Different medications are available to aid in the treatment of addiction. If a patient is addicted to two or more drugs, the situation is more complex. An inpatient venue offers the best way to deliver this type of treatment. Medication is not always used for detoxification and will depend on each individual’s type of addiction and the severity of that addiction. An in-depth assessment by a qualified professional is essential.

Preparing for Inpatient Drug Rehab

Before entering rehab, you need to take care of a number of things in your life, such as:
  • Talk to your employer to arrange leave; residential rehab requires a 28-day stay.
  • Check to see if you have insurance coverage.
  • Make arrangements for your children and other family members to be looked after in your absence.
  • Make sure you know how you will get to and from the rehab center.
  • Contact the rehab center so you know what personal items you can bring with you.
  • Set an entry date for you to arrive at the rehab facility.

Pros of Inpatient Drug Rehab Centers

  • 24-hour supervision by trained staff and therapists; you never battle your addictions alone.
  • You are part of a community made up of others who are also overcoming their addictions.
  • You will be given an intense level of care 24-hours a day. 
  • While in residence, you will focus completely on recovery, attend group and individual counseling, and take part in other treatment exercises.
  • In residence, there will be no distractions and worries from your home life.

Cons of Inpatient Drug Rehab Centers:

  • You are required to stay in residence without leaving.
  • Provides a structured environment – rising, meals, timing of your sessions, your free time and bedtimes are all scheduled. 
  • You will need to arrange leave from your job to participate in residential treatment.
  • Not all insurers cover inpatient treatment.

Outpatient Drug Rehab

As an outpatient, you will be required to be at the drug rehab center for determined times each day to take part in one-on-one counseling or to take part in a group session.

Aftercare outpatient services provide relapse prevention strategies, such as 12-step meetings, group counseling, individual counseling, vocational counseling, and recovery training.

You will be conducting your everyday activities and may still experience the temptation to use drugs and/or alcohol. If your addiction is severe, an outpatient treatment may not offer the best success.

Pros of Outpatient Treatment:

  • You can continue working and caring for your family.
  • Counseling sessions can be attended in the evenings and/or weekends.
  • You can incorporate what you learn into your daily life.
  • Family sessions can be arranged to give you a stronger support system.
  • It is a more affordable treatment option and is more often covered by insurance.

Cons of Outpatient Treatment:

  • You are not protected from the influences that led you towards addiction.
  • Access to drugs/alcohol is not eliminated.
  • You may be overcome by life distractions that could interfere with your recovery.
  • Your access to counseling is more limited than in a residential/inpatient facility.
  • You cannot bond with other people who are also facing recovery and who could be part of your sober support network. 

Costs: Inpatient vs. Outpatient Drug Rehab

Inpatient treatment programs, which could cost $10,000 to $40,000 per month, are more costly than outpatient programs. Luxury treatment programs are even more expensive. The cost of outpatient programs (generally under $10,000) could be covered by insurance companies. No so for an inpatient program. Therefore, it is important to check with your insurer.

Success Rates: Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

Success rates vary depending on the individual, the addiction, and the programs available. Studies of persons who have completed a rehab program reveal about 33% reported that they were able to totally abstain from using drugs or alcohol, and 50-57% reported a decrease in depression. Drop-out rates are higher for those who enrolled in outpatient therapy than for inpatient therapy, which gives rise to the suggestion that being fully committed to an inpatient program helps people to stick with a recovery program.

Even after successful treatment, many relapse and may have to continue treatment off and on for years to have complete recovery. Relapse is not a failure; it is an indication that treatment should be continued or adjusted.

What is needed to improve the success of treatment?

  • Ongoing assessment
  • Full range of services: medical treatment, counseling, and education
  • Interventions 
  • Continual monitoring
  • Continuing social support.
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process. Addiction is a chronic disease which requires extended treatment for some, as well as support through aftercare programs.
Need addiction help? Call one of the above drug rehab centers now.
You won't face your drug or alcohol addiction alone with the help of inpatient treatment centers in Ventura County.  You will be placed with other people who are working to overcome their own addictions. While in the inpatient drug rehab program, you can focus completely on recovery, attending group and individual counseling sessions, as well as other types of therapy and exercises.  As a full-time resident, you won't have the distractions and concerns of your home or professional life.  Take the First Step to a Better Life and call one of the inpatient drug and alcohol rehab centers above.
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