If you have been struggling with drug addiction but are finally ready to kick the habit and leave that part of your life behind, then entering a rehab program is the best decision you can make. However, you then need to decide between inpatient and outpatient drug addiction treatment programs. Each type of program has its positives and its negatives. Outpatient works better for some people, and inpatient works better for others. Here's a brief look at how each type of program works, along with some factors to consider as you decide.
Inpatient treatment involves leaving your home and living, temporarily, at the rehabilitation facility. While you can check yourself out at any point (you are an independent adult, after all), you will be strongly discouraged from doing so. The length of treatment varies based on your needs, but many inpatient treatment programs are a month or longer. While in the treatment center, you will receive a wide array of therapies, from group counseling to individual counseling and behavioral therapy.
In an outpatient treatment program, you continue to live at home, but you attend the treatment program a few days a week. Some programs meet daily, and others may meet a few times a week. Or, you may begin by attending daily and slowly progress to attending only once or twice a week. Outpatient programs often last longer than inpatient programs because they are less intensive; it's not uncommon for patients to attend for up to a year.
Factors to Consider
How severe is your addiction?
If you are severely addicted to a very dangerous substance, like heroine or methamphetamine, then inpatient treatment is likely your best option, since once you're inside the facility, you will not be able to access your substance of choice. Many people need this complete isolation from their addiction in order to fight the initial temptation to relapse. On the other hand, if you have a milder addiction to something like marijuana or hallucinogens and feel confident that you can avoid the temptation to seek out the drug with the right support, then an outpatient program may be ideal.
Can you afford to leave home for a long time?
Going into inpatient treatment often means giving up your job — or at least taking an extended leave of absence and hoping your employer still wants you to return whenever you come home. If you don't have a job or only have a low-level job that you don't mind leaving, then this may not be an issue.
However, if you work in a higher-level professional field and fear that leaving your position may spell the end of your career, then you may be better off in an outpatient treatment program. (While alcoholism is protected under the ADA, meaning that your boss cannot fire you for alcoholism, use of illegal drugs is not protected, so you could certainly be let go for drug use.) Most are set up so that you can attend in the evenings and keep up with your work obligations throughout treatment.
How much social support do you have?
If you do choose outpatient treatment, it's important that you have a network of family members and friends to support you through the process. If you come home from a meeting feeling down and defeated, they're the ones who will pick you up and help keep you from using.
If your family is less than supportive or if your closest family members also struggle with addiction, then you may want to choose an inpatient program instead. This way, you can rely on the others in the program for support and won't have to worry about the negative influence certain family members may provide.
Weigh the factors above as you decide between inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. The most important thing is that you are ready to seek help — no matter what form that help happens to come in.
A few years ago, I had a terrible disagreement with my mother-in-law. For several months, I didn’t speak to my husband’s mom. The bitterness I felt toward this woman was overwhelming. Thankfully, I decided to forgive her for the things she said and did to me. After I made this choice, I felt relieved and happier. Are you struggling to forgive someone? Consider making an appointment with a reputable counselor near you. This professional can help you sort through your feelings of resentment towards the other person. On this blog, I hope you will discover the numerous emotional issues counselors help clients successfully deal with.