Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Rehabilitation: Which Is Right For You?

Drug addiction is a condition that impacts your brain and behavior and results in the inability to manage the use of drugs, whether legal, illegal, or medication. It can be caused by stress, parental guidance, early drug exposure, peer pressure, or sexual and physical abuse. 

The degree of addiction depends on the drug type and frequency of use. Sometimes you may need to increase the dose to feel high, or you need it to feel happy. As you continue using it frequently, you may find it challenging to go without the drug. Likewise, trying to cease using it can lead to severe cravings or withdrawal feelings. That's where rehabilitation comes in. 

Going to rehab offers several benefits to your recovery process. Firstly, the healing surroundings of rehab facilities give you the support you require to heal successfully. Secondly, in rehab facilities, you undergo personalized treatment plans that enable you to discover and conquer the primary issue that caused your addiction. Finally, it focuses on both your health and nutrition. The good thing is that you can easily find rehabilitation centers like the West Coast Recovery Centers that can help you connect with diverse treatment methods and fast-track your rehabilitation journey.

There are numerous types of rehabilitation, and they can be broadly categorized into outpatient and inpatient rehabs. This article mainly focuses on the advantages and drawbacks that can help you to select the best option for yourself or your loved one.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Definition

Inpatient rehabilitation describes the physical and therapy services you receive in a hospital. You must be admitted to the facility until you complete your inpatient rehabilitation plan. The length of your stay depends on your progress in terms of recovery and rehabilitation. 

Usually, when you're admitted to a rehabilitation program, a collaborative group of experts assesses your past and current condition, present ability levels, and many other factors in establishing rehab goals and devising plans for achieving these goals. As the treatment plan is put into practice, the rehab specialists monitor your progress as they make adjustments as necessary to ensure you attain your goals. You'll be discharged once you or the rehab team feel you've accomplished your objectives. 

Benefits Of Inpatient Rehabilitation

Inpatient rehabs offer plenty of benefits for your recovery. Below are some of them:

  • They provide 24/7 care support: In inpatient rehab, you access medical and clinical supervision around-the-clock during your stay in the facility. It's essential as you have close access to doctors who offer continuous care to prevent relapse, especially if you have severe addictions. It ensures safety as you go through the process of being sober again.
  • You receive care during detoxification: The detox process is the first step to your recovery. When you're addicted to drugs or alcohol, your body is used to having these substances in your system. Once you reduce them gradually, you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The severity of these symptoms depends on the type of drugs you're addicted to, how much you've been consuming, as well as your overall physical and mental health. The purpose of detoxification is to enable you to manage withdrawal symptoms and any side effects you may encounter.
  • They offer a safe environment: Inpatient rehab provides a safe and protective environment for its patients. The advisers available understand what you're going through. They're knowledgeable in various types of drug addictions and offer superior services. A safe atmosphere makes you feel secure and enables you to concentrate only on your recovery.
  • They deliver aftercare services: Recovering fully from addiction may take time. Even though you complete your rehab sessions successfully, you may still need close supervision at home. The rehab specialists understand this, and they'll extend their services to you while at home.
  • They encourage peer recovery support: Different patients struggle with drug addiction in inpatient rehab facilities. It means you won't feel isolated or lonely like at home because you have sufficient time and chances to interact with other individuals, offer and obtain support, and share life experiences. Also, attending group therapy can help you to overcome the addiction and recover quickly.
  • They promote a total focus on self: At home, you may be distracted by family members or friends. However, in an inpatient rehab facility, you have the opportunity to disconnect from anything that holds you back and entirely focus on your recovery process.
  • They offer a wide range of treatments: Drug addiction affects you mentally, physically, and psychologically. Thus, inpatient rehabs provide comprehensive inpatient programs that improve all these aspects.

Drawbacks Of Inpatient Rehabilitation

Knowing the shortcomings of something is as good as knowing the advantages as they all help you to make more informed decisions. Here are the drawbacks of inpatient rehab:

  • It requires you to stay entirely in the facility for a set period, meaning you must discontinue any programs you may have, like your business activities or your job.
  • Inpatient rehab may be more costly than outpatient rehab because you have to pay for food, accommodation, and 24/7 services, while in inpatient, you only pay for the sessions.
  • Transitioning to real life may be difficult because there's no restriction, meaning the stresses and temptations resurface. In this case, you may need good support to adjust successfully.
  • There's no freedom as the rehab staff creates a schedule you must strictly follow.

Outpatient Rehabilitation Meaning

Unlike inpatient rehabs, where you reside in the facility for a particular time, in outpatient rehabs, you receive your treatment during the day and go home in the evening. You must attend individual and group therapy and other treatment options during this period.

Generally, there are three types of outpatient rehabilitation, including:

  • Intensive outpatient programs where you meet three hours daily with one personal therapy session of an hour weekly.
  • Partial hospitalization programs where you meet for between six to eight hours daily with a single individual therapy session of an hour every week.
  • Standard outpatient programs where you meet between one to two hours every day with one personal therapy session of one hour weekly.

Benefits Of Outpatient Rehabilitation

There are various benefits you can receive by attending an outpatient rehab program. They include:

  • Convenience: The most notable advantage of outpatient rehab is its convenience. Usually, your therapist schedules your session depending on your program. The schedule won't interfere with your daily activities, and you can still obtain the needed for your recovery. Additionally, you can still have time with your family and maintain your job while undergoing treatment.
  • It's cost-efficient: Outpatient rehab is less costly than inpatient rehab because you don't need to pay for accommodation, meals, or other round-the-clock services. The only thing you need to pay for is the sessions you attend. It makes it a more budget-friendly and affordable option.
  • It eases the transition out of rehab programs: There are no strict schedules in outpatient rehabilitation that can make it hard for you to adjust to your everyday life. You only go on with your daily activities while going for therapy It means that you have considerable control of yourself and need minimum supervision when transitioning to your routine.
  • Comfort: With this type of rehab, you can have short sessions or even schedule it with your therapist at home. It's more comfortable compared to being away from home and family.
  • Enables you to build upon the skills you developed in inpatient rehab: Outpatient therapy allows you to concentrate on taking the skills you learned in inpatient therapy and honing them to ensure you remain sober after transitioning.


Here are the disadvantages of outpatient rehabilitation:

  • It requires you to create time and go to rehab, which can be tricky, especially if you're working long hours, as you may get exhausted, find it challenging to get the time, and even drop out of the treatment.
  • There's a great temptation to use drugs again because, unlike in inpatient rehabs, there's no monitoring to ensure you remain sober outside the facility. If you get access to drugs, nothing can prevent you from taking them.
  • You won't have access to 24/7 support, meaning that you can't speak to your therapist or receive services often and anytime as you would in inpatient rehab. In case something comes up, you may have to wait until your next session to get assistance.
  • You may not be able to develop bonds with your peers as sometimes the sessions may be short, and you may have to rush home or job immediately.

What Is Right For You?

Both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation have specific benefits and drawbacks. It's up to you to decide by analyzing the dynamics of each option. You know what best works for you and ensure you receive full focus and attention to be sober again. If you have any difficulty, consider enlisting the help of a professional.


Getting help from drug addiction and being sober again is one of the best decisions you can make. It's also the initial step into the recovery process. After deciding to pursue the treatment, you may need to select the type of facility to attend. Your needs and severity of your condition will help you to determine what will best work for you. Ultimately, you'll cease using drugs and enjoy a sober life.