mental health Mandy Kloppers

What’s The Difference Between Inpatient And Outpatient Treatment

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You may wonder about inpatient and outpatient programs if you’re recovering from addiction.

Both; inpatient and outpatient treatment program have their pros and cons, so it’s essential to understand the difference before deciding.

Inpatient treatment takes place in a rehab facility, while outpatient treatment allows you to live at your house and continue working or going to school.

Let’s take a closer look at each type of treatment.



Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is a type of care that provides 24-hour monitoring and support from medical professionals.

This level of care is typically reserved for people with severe or chronic mental health issues who risk harming themselves or others. Inpatient programs can occur in hospitals, psychiatric facilities, or residential treatment centers.

Patients receive intensive therapy, counseling, medication management, and other services during their stay. Inpatient treatment is often short-term, lasting anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

However, some people may require ongoing care. In the end, inpatient rehab attempts to teach patients how to cure their difficulties and acquire the skills they need to live healthy and productive life.

Advantages Of Inpatient Treatment

There are several advantages of inpatient treatment, such as:

Structured Environment

Inpatient treatment occurs in a structured environment, where patients can access around-the-clock care and support. This can be beneficial and effective for people who are struggling to manage their symptoms on their own.

Intensive Treatment

Inpatient treatment is intensive, meaning patients receive a high level of care and support. This can be helpful for people who have complex mental health issues or who have relapsed after previous treatment.


Inpatient treatment provides a safe environment for people at risk of harming themselves or others.

Disadvantages Of Inpatient Treatment.

Inpatient treatment also has several drawbacks, including:


Between both treatments, inpatient and outpatient care, inpatient treatment is often more expensive than outpatient care.

Time Commitment

Inpatient treatment requires a significant time commitment, which may not be possible for people with work or family obligations.


Inpatient treatment can disrupt your life, making it challenging to maintain your job or keep up with your schoolwork.

Isolation From Loved Ones

Inpatient treatment can be isolating, as patients cannot see their loved ones regularly.

Outpatient Treatment

Let’s move on to the following type of treatment: outpatient rehab treatment.

Outpatient treatment is a type of care that allows people to live at home and continue going to school or work while receiving therapy for mental health or substance abuse disorders.

Outpatient care usually involves meeting with a therapist twice a week.

However, some programs may require attending group therapy sessions or participate in weekly activities. The level of care necessary will vary depending on the individual’s needs.

For some people, outpatient treatment may be all that is necessary to recover from a mental health disorder.

For others, it may be a step down from inpatient treatment, a more intensive level of care typically used for people with severe mental illness or addiction.

Advantages Of Outpatient Treatment

Between inpatient and outpatient rehab, outpatient treatment offers several advantages over inpatient treatment, particularly for those struggling with addiction.


Outpatient treatment is typically much less expensive, making it an attractive option for those struggling to pay for care.


Outpatient treatment programs offer a great deal of flexibility, which can be helpful for people who have busy schedules or need to continue working or going to school while they receive treatment.

Individualized Care

Outpatient treatment programs often offer a more individualized approach to care than inpatient treatment, which can be helpful for people who have unique needs.

Disadvantages Of Outpatient Treatment

While outpatient treatment offers many advantages, it is not suitable for everyone.

Some of the disadvantages of outpatient treatment include:

Difficult To Stick To

Outpatient treatment requires a great deal of self-discipline, and it can be difficult for some people to commit to attending treatment sessions regularly.

Risk Of Relapse

One of the biggest dangers of an outpatient treatment program is that there is a risk of relapse. This is because people in outpatient treatment are not in a controlled environment and may be exposed to triggers that can lead to drug abuse.

Not Intensive Enough

For others, the term “intensive outpatient treatment” may not exist since it may not be sufficiently intensive to aid them in recovery. These people may benefit from more intensive levels of care, such as inpatient treatment.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab: Effectiveness


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So, which type of treatment is more effective?

Evidence suggests that inpatient treatment is more effective for those with severe addictions.

This is likely because inpatient treatment provides higher care and supervision.

Patients in inpatient care are also more likely to stick with their treatment plan and complete the entire course of care.

However, outpatient treatment programs can be just as effective for less severe addictions.

Outpatient treatment is often more affordable and convenient, making it more accessible for those who need it.

It is also essential to have in mind that everyone responds to treatment differently, so what works better for one individual may not work for another.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to find a treatment approach that works for you.

So, Which One Should You Go For?

First of all, it is essential to look for professional help if you are struggling with addiction.

Both treatment options can be vital for those who are looking for addiction treatment, and it can make a big difference in terms of long-term recovery.

When choosing between both treatment programs, there are a few things to remember.

Consider Your Needs

When looking for a treatment program, it is essential to consider your specific needs.

Think about what you hope to achieve through treatment, and make sure that the program you choose can provide you with the services you need.

Consider Your Budget

Treatment can be expensive, so it is essential to consider your budget when choosing a program.

If you are fretting about the cost of treatment, many programs offer financial assistance or sliding-scale fees.

Consider Your Level Of Commitment

Treatment requires time and effort, so it is essential to consider your level of commitment before choosing a program.

Many short-term options are available if you are not ready to commit to a long-term treatment program.

The Bottom Line

When selecting inpatient or outpatient treatment, there is no single correct answer; it depends on the person.

The most vital thing is to find a program that meets your needs and that you feel comfortable with. If you are struggling and fighting addiction, reach out for help today. Many resources are available to you, and treatment can make a big difference in your life.

Featured image: Photo by Petr Magera on Unsplash

Mandy Kloppers
Author: Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a qualified therapist who treats depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, trauma, and many other types of mental health issues. She provides online therapy around the world for those needing support and also provides relationship counselling.