The difference between Outpatient and Inpatient rehab

Rehab: Are You In or Out?

For an addict, the decision to face up to drug or alcohol addiction and enter a rehabilitation programme is one of the most important life choices you’ll ever make. Now that you have taken that first crucial step, it is necessary to look at the treatment options available.

While methodologies may vary slightly from one place to the next, rehabilitation falls under two broad types: Inpatient or Outpatient.

What’s the Difference?

Inpatient Rehab is a fully immersive experience, where the addict is admitted as a full-time resident at a dedicated residential treatment facility with round-the-clock supervision and support. The patient is obliged to remain there for a specified period, following a regular routine of therapy and counseling. 

Outpatient Rehab is where the patient is free to come and go in between treatment at a care facility. The actual treatment is similar to Inpatient Rehab – including therapy, detox and counseling – but the big difference is, the patient continues living at home or if that environment is considered too risky, at one our sober houses (to minimize the chance of a relapse).

Note that we never talk about “part-time” rehab. Just as there is no such thing as being a “part-time” addict, the rehabilitation process is one that involves your conscious mind every hour hour of every day. 

The difference between Outpatient and Inpatient rehab

Whether you choose inpatient or Outpatient Rehab, it will require your full-time commitment to succeed. How long you continue with rehab will depend on your individual personality, how hard you are prepared to work at it and the extent of your addiction. In all cases, no less than 30 days is recommended.

Weighing Up the Pros and Cons

First, let’s look at Inpatient Rehab. Generally, this is the most successful option, with a number of positive aspects that contribute to recovery. For a start, you’re in a safe caring environment with no distractions; everything is focused on your well-being and recovery. Everyone you interact with, professional caregivers and fellow patients alike, shares your biggest goal: recovery. When the going gets tough (and don’t kid yourself, it probably will), they’ve got your back.

On the downside, Inpatient Rehab can feel constricting, with its rigid routines and lack of freedom to come and go. The discipline is of course, an important factor in your recovery. It’s no secret that when you’re out in the real world, you’re going to need that discipline every day to stay clean and sober. But it can feel like a drag.

The other negative aspect (and this is usually the deal breaker) is that you may not be able to afford Inpatient Rehab. Will you lose your job if you take a month off work? Can you find someone prepared to take care of your home? What about your kids? Or your pets? Even if you can make a plan, what if you just can’t come up with that kind of cash?

If you can’t get past these concerns, then consider Outpatient Rehab.

A major advantage of Outpatient Rehab is that it is more affordable than Inpatient Rehab. You also make your own times to visit the facility for counseling and therapy. Outpatients are often able to continue with their “normal” lives and may be able to continue working and looking after their families.

Sounds perfect, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Sometimes Outpatient Rehab is a bad idea

Outpatient Rehab is not recommended in the following cases:

If the addiction is debilitating or dangerous

In case of extreme addiction, an addict can pose a physical threat to himself or others. In this case it is unsafe for the addict to be left without the guidance and support of trained caregivers.

If the addict has relapsed

A person with a history of relapse finds it far more difficult to stay clean left to his or her own devices. Inpatient Treatment provides full-time support, with a disciplined programme that removes the day-to-day temptations and keeps the addict focused on recovery. Outpatients have to function in the same environment in which they have been living with their addiction – exposed to all the triggers and opportunities for another relapse.

If the home environment is addiction-enabling

It’s almost impossible for an addict to recover in an enabling environment, where alcohol and drugs are readily available, or where addictive behaviour is supported, whether by tolerating substance abuse or even supporting it with money hand-outs.

If the home environment is stressful

A calm and stable home environment is absolutely critical; emotional, physical or financial stress at home can be a major trigger to a relapse. Outpatients are already under serious pressure dealing with their addiction and trying to reconcile their treatment with their daily lives. If they also have to cope with additional stress on the home front, it can be enough to make them simply give up their struggle to recover.

But what if there is no alternative?

In an ideal world, addicts would be free to choose full-time Inpatient or Outpatient Rehab. Unfortunately, for many people Outpatient Rehab might seem to be the only option due to forces beyond their control. If you can’t afford full-time treatment, you are the sole breadwinner for your family or there is no-one available to take care of your children. In these cases, Outpatient treatment is the only alternative.

We do recommend however that addicts do everything in their power to minimize any threat to recovery. Attend as many therapy and counseling sessions as possible. Build up your support group – professional caregivers and especially other addicts who know what you’re going through – and don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and reach out to them any time.

Remember, you are not alone! Leaning on your support group is not a sign of weakness.
You have already found the strength to own up to your addiction and now you are taking responsibility for your recovery.
 Substance use disorder, or a problem with substance abuse, is not an easy issue to face. Your first step to recovery is contacting us, and we’ll work together on the most effective treatment for you.

Contact us to find out how we can help you or your loved one begin the journey of recovery.
First Step Rehab at 420 York Avenue, Ferndale, Randburg
tel: +27 879420044

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