Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

Outpatient vs. Inpatient Rehab: How to Know Which One Is Right for Your Loved One

When you’re researching treatment options for a loved one, you’ll find a lot of choices. But all of those choices fall into one of two major categories: Outpatient versus Inpatient rehab. 


So, it makes sense to start your search here. But how do you know which is right for your loved one?  


In this post, we’re going to explore inpatient versus outpatient treatment to help you make that difficult decision with your loved one.  


But before we get started, know that regardless of what you choose, your loved one is moving in the right direction. The choice to get help is a big one, and it’s definitely forward motion.  

What Is Inpatient Rehab? 

Inpatient recovery programs are also known as residential treatment. And as the name implies, your loved one would have to check in to a facility where they will live for a period of time.  


One of the benefits of inpatient rehab is that there’s 24-hour medical and emotional support.  

How to prepare for inpatient rehab 

Because your loved one is going to live in this facility for a while, they will have to first get their affairs in order. This means paying all bills (or creating a plan for payment) while they are away. While they’re immersed in the inpatient program, they should not have to worry about things like whether they will have electricity when they get out. 


If your loved one is employed, they will also need to discuss inpatient treatment with their employer before they set a date.  

What to expect with inpatient rehab 

When your loved ones are immersed in inpatient treatment, you can expect that they will fully be able to focus on getting well. Most days are fully scheduled with activitiestherapy sessions, and meals to keep your loved one focused on the task at hand. A team of psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists are always at your loved one’s disposal. 


The first part of inpatient treatment focuses on detox. The next part of inpatient treatment focuses on secondary symptoms, cravings, and maintaining sobriety. 


What Is Outpatient Rehab? 

Outpatient drug rehab will allow your loved one access to recovery tools without having to live at the recovery site. These outpatient programs usually require 10 to 12 hours a week at the treatment center.  

How to prepare for inpatient rehab? 


Unlike outpatient rehab, there’s less of a need for preparation. Your loved one can maintain his or her job in most cases and can continue normal activities like paying bills.  


What to expect with outpatient rehab? 


While attending outpatient rehab, the patient can expect to focus on drug abuse education, receive individual and group counseling, and learning how to cope with drug or alcohol addiction. But because they are still living in the same conditions, much of the work will fall on your loved one’s shoulders. Inpatient treatments are usually much shorter than outpatient programs, and you might expect outpatient rehab to last a year or longer. 

Which is right for my loved one? 

When you’re choosing between outpatient and inpatient programs for your loved one, think about their level of physical addiction. If your loved one is likely to experience an intense physical detox when they stop using drugs or alcohol, an inpatient program is likely best.  

On the other hand, if your loved one isn’t as likely to experience life-threatening detox symptoms and feels confident that they can wean themselves off drugs or alcohol with a little help, an outpatient program may be sufficient and a lot less invasive. 

Remember that your loved one is making one of the best decisions for his or her life right now, and if you need help deciding, call a local rehab facility to talk it out.  


Photo by Creators Collective on Unsplash

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