Outpatient vs Inpatient Drug Rehab

At some point, most addicts will want to stop using drugs. Sometimes, an ultimatum has been given by the family, or the addict will simply want to regain control of his or her life. At times, rehabilitation will be ordered by the court if the addict has run afoul of the law. While it is possible to stop using drugs without treatment, because drug addiction involves both psychological and physical dependency, drug rehab can offer a way back to normal life.

Entering a rehab program, whether voluntarily or not, is an important first step to recovery and the possibility of living a normal healthy life once again. Both outpatient and inpatient programs have aspects that can recommend them, and success will depend largely on the type of addiction and the personality of the affected person. Many drugs actually cause changes in brain chemistry, and this is one of the most difficult aspects of drug addiction that must be dealt with. If the functioning of the neurotransmitters – the links in the brain that send messages between neurons – has been disrupted, this must be stabilized and overcome before recovery can occur.

Inpatient Drug Rehab

Those who enter an inpatient rehab facility will find themselves totally immersed in a recovery program. It has been found that in many cases, inpatient rehab has a higher rate of success than does outpatient. There are a number of very important benefits to residential drug treatment:

  • Because withdrawal and detoxification must be treated before actual rehabilitation can take place, inpatient facilities offer the physical and psychological support necessary to get the addict ready to take the first steps necessary to reclaim his or her life.
  • Treatment can take from one month or over a year, depending upon the individual involved. Inpatient care can provide the intensive rehabilitation that many long term addicts require. Therapy sessions, both group and individual, are usually available every day.
  • Because the day to day distractions of living have been lifted from the recovering addict, concentration can be made on getting better. Even such simple activities as preparing meals can be difficult when recovery is just beginning; inpatient centers provide healthy meals designed to strengthen the body and mind.
  • Simply being around other people who are also working at attaining a drug-free life helps to strengthen the resolve of the recovering addict. Mutual support can make a real difference.
  • Addicts understand that they are out of control, which is why so many of them seek help. The structure at inpatient rehab facilities provides the background and order that will assist the patient in overcoming their addiction. Because the day will be mapped out for them, the recovering addict can concentrate on that – recovering.

No rehabilitation program can guarantee 100% success the first time, but inpatient treatment can help to tip the odds in the recovering addict’s favor. Programs that last more than one month generally have a greater success rate than shorter ones. Finances, of course, will also have some bearing on the program chosen and its length.

Can an Outpatient Rehab Program Be Effective?

Even though there may be a higher rate of success and less chance of ‘falling off the wagon’ for those treated in an inpatient facility, there are still times when outpatient treatment can be effective.

  • Outpatient rehab can allow the family greater participation in the treatment. The family will have to work with the addict to help overcome addiction. Support of the family can help to provide the motivation for the addict to follow through with the program.
  • Normal activities, such as work or school, can be carried on when using outpatient treatment. Both daytime and evening sessions will be available to fit in with the patient’s schedule. This is a good option if the addict must continue to work to support the family. Care of children may also predicate that the recovering addict choose an outpatient program.
  • A favorable outcome is more likely at an outpatient clinic if the addiction is not of long standing. There will be less need of detoxification, and most outpatient rehabilitation facilities will require that the recovering addict already be over withdrawal.
  • In order for success at an outpatient rehab, the recovering addict must be extremely motivated to leave drugs or alcohol behind. Outpatient rehab absolutely requires an iron will to work.

Counseling is the first step the addict and the family will need, to determine which program has the greatest chance of success. A number of factors much be taken into consideration, such as the addict’s motivation, family support, financial costs, and level and type of addiction. Both the addict and the family should also realize that it may take several rehab tries before success is achieved.

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