Once you’ve been honest with yourself, and realized that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, you will have choices to make. One choice should involve getting help through some type of treatment program. There are two common options available to you.
You elect an inpatient plan, often referred to as residential treatment, or choose an outpatient program. To help you make that important decision, here are the basic differences between inpatient and outpatient recovery programs, and why you might select one over the other.
The Key Difference Between Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment
When deciding between inpatient vs. outpatient treatment, the key difference is fairly simple. It involves the prefix used before the word patient. If you remove the word patient from each word, you’re left with in vs. out. The “in” means you will be inpatient at a residential treatment facility.
“Out” signifies a program where you attend counseling sessions, meetings and other scheduled activities, but you still live somewhere other than at the facility. This is the primary difference, but the reasons for choosing one over the other are more involved.
Two Other Differences Between Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment
After appreciating the key difference between in vs. out, you should now consider your individual circumstances. When you’re deciding between residential or outpatient treatment, you should always do this under the guidance of a professional counselor. Here are two differences you should discuss openly when making what could be a critical decision.
If your life has turned into a chaotic nightmare, you probably have lost an ability to cope in the real world without drugs or alcohol. Sometimes this reality can be near impossible to admit without outside counsel. Drug and alcohol addiction can reach a level where all sense of reality has evaporated.
When you choose outpatient treatment, all the chaos that is inherently part of your alcoholism or drug addiction will still be there on a daily basis. Residential treatment, or inpatient, has a far more defined structure and can be critical in giving your life balance, plus a secure environment to recover.
This can be both reassuring and critical to your success. If your life seems to be spiraling out of control, often inpatient treatment is the wisest choice. Outpatient can be useful if it’s your first attempt at recovery, or the consequences haven’t caught up with you, yet.
There are outside circumstances, life related issues that you may need to think about as well. Sometimes job, family and career must be considered. While your privacy is also a priority, no matter which option you select, sometimes walking away from your life can be challenging.
This is another vital reason why the decision between these two treatment options needs to use the wisdom of a professional. It’s often too easy to ignore the seriousness of a problem, masked by the rationalized excuse that you cannot step away from life to enter a residential facility.
Both of these structural and circumstantial differences should be considered when selecting between inpatient and outpatient treatment. One vital suggestion is to always make this decision with the guidance of a professional.
Too often, denial and rationalization affect the final decision. The fact is, there are thousands of times this one choice could mean the difference between life and death, not just inpatient vs. outpatient. To help make this decision wisely, never do it alone.