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The Transition House, Inc.

Inpatient vs. outpatient addiction treatment


inpatient vs outpatient addiction treatment

Addiction treatment looks different for every person. Some people struggling with addiction require inpatient treatment at a residential facility or drug and alcohol rehab center, while others are able to work towards recovery in an outpatient treatment program. Both have benefits and can help you or your loved one on the road to addiction recovery.

The setting that is right for you depends on several factors. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the severity of your addiction?
  • Is your home environment drug and alcohol free?
  • Do you have a healthy support system?
  • Are you able to take time off from your job or school?
  • Do you require dual-diagnosis treatment for a co-occurring disorder?
  • Do you have access to transportation to and from your treatment?

Addiction is considered severe if it meets six or more of the criteria that define substance abuse. To learn more about the signs and symptoms of substance use disorder, you may find this blog helpful.

You should discuss your answers with your healthcare provider or case manager so that they can recommend a treatment program that addresses your needs.

substance abuse ebook

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Inpatient Treatment Outpatient Treatment
Ideal for severe addiction Ideal for mild addiction
24-hour supervision at a residential or addiction treatment center Daily or weekly visits to a counseling center
Includes room and board, so costs can be higher Ability to stay at your home, so costs can be lower
Program length can range from 28 days to six months Program length can range from three months to a year
Higher success rate compared to outpatient treatment Lower success rate compared to inpatient treatment*

*Success rates can increase with longer, more intense programs 

Inpatient addiction treatment is right for someone who:

  • Is struggling with a long-standing or severe alcohol or substance use disorder
  • Requires medical detox with 24-hour supervision
  • Has an unhealthy home environment that can trigger or enable drug and alcohol use
  • Suffers from a co-occurring disorder that requires inpatient treatment

Outpatient addiction treatment is right for someone who:

  • Is struggling with a mild alcohol or substance use disorder or is in the early stages of addiction
  • Has completed medical detox or inpatient treatment and is looking for continued care
  • Has a low risk of relapse in their home environment
  • Is successfully managing any co-occurring disorders with behavioral therapy

If you are seeking addiction treatment for you or a loved one, know that help is available and recovery is possible. We can help you understand your options for treatment and work with you to achieve a life of sobriety. Contact one of our counseling centers to get started.

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