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Inpatient drug rehab is an option for individuals looking for an intensive, well-rounded recovery program. It is a safe and beneficial treatment choice for many individuals, but it is considered to be safer than others only if someone truly needs it.
Inpatient and Outpatient Care: What’s the Difference?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most residential rehab centers “provide care 24 hours a day, generally in non-hospital settings,” although some inpatient centers provide hospital-based care as well. Outpatient programs allow individuals to attend care, often daily at first, and still live their lives as they receive treatment.
There are many other nuances of difference between these two programs, but generally:
- Inpatient care is 24-hours while outpatient treatment is not.
- Patients are placed in a controlled environment in this treatment option, which can be very helpful if necessary.
- Often, inpatient programs offer more options to individual patients than outpatient programs.
Are Inpatient Programs Safer?
The NIDA states that treatment must cater to the needs of the individual; therefore, if the more intensive inpatient care program is necessary to a certain individual’s recovery, it is a safer choice.
Some individuals choose inpatient drug addiction treatment even if they do not specifically need it, but in general, those who do usually belong to a few specific categories.
- According to a study from the medical journal Psychiatric Quarterly, patients who are suffering from a high psychiatric severity often fare better in inpatient programs. This can mean anyone who is suffering from a comorbid disorder that is associated with their addiction (such as mood disorders like depression or mental illnesses like schizophrenia). Being in an inpatient center assures that the patient will be able to receive the treatment options they need for both issues as well as a controlled environment where they can live during what is often the most difficult time in their recoveries.
- Inpatient centers are also safer for individuals who do not have a strong support system at home or who have a home life that is not conducive to recovery. Many people struggle with outpatient care because it isn’t intensive enough and their home life does not provide them with enough support to fill this void.
- It is important to remember, however, that outpatient treatment can be beneficial for certain individuals and care found there can be just as safe. It isn’t fair to assume that inpatient programs are all safer and better for your care simply because they provide 24-hour supervision. For example, inpatient care can sometimes provide someone with too much help and “relieve patients of personal responsibility to too high an extent” (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). This can be damaging to one’s overall recovery.
Which Choice Is Better?