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Which Rehab Centers Are More Effective: Inpatient or Outpatient?
Potential addiction treatment patients looking for the most effective option may wonder which is a better choice: inpatient care or outpatient care. But generally, both are effective in their own way, and one is likely to be more effective for a particular patient at a particular time in their recovery.
When Are Inpatient Centers More Effective?
Inpatient centers are often more effective when a patient has a severe addiction syndrome or other intense symptoms that are either co-occurring with or exist because of their drug abuse. According to a study on the effectiveness of inpatient and outpatient programs for substance abuse from Psychiatric Quarterly, “Patients with high psychiatric severity and/or a poor social support system are predicted to have a better outcome in inpatient treatment” than in outpatient care.
This is true because patients in these situations often have more needs that must be met by their rehab center. Whether the individual lacks the kind of support at home that would allow them to safely attend a treatment center that only offers care during a few hours of the day or they need intensive psychological treatment for a psychiatric condition that has been worsened by their drug abuse, they will likely require treatment in a facility that can provide 24-hour care, a controlled environment, and additional, specialized treatments beyond the normal addiction recovery program. In addition, an individual with severe physical issues who requires hospitalization during recovery will also fare much better in inpatient care.
When Are Outpatient Centers More Effective?
Consequentially, the study also states, “Patients with low psychiatric severity and/or a good social support system may do well as outpatients without incurring the higher costs of inpatient treatment.” Outpatient care allows the patient to live their life, go to work and school, and see their friends and family while in treatment, which can help streamline the recovery process instead of creating an unnecessary change when the individual leaves inpatient care.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states, “Outpatient treatment varies in the types and intensity of services offered.” However, it is often beneficial to those who have strong support systems at home, who are living with other people who support their recoveries, who have jobs and other responsibilities they can continue to meet while in treatment, and who do not have severe psychological or physical issues in addition to their addictions.
Both Rehab Centers Are Effective
Each program can be effective in its own way, but it is always important that the individual’s needs are considered. According to the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, “After suggesting that there is little evidence to cause one to tout either inpatient or outpatient treatment based on relative effectiveness,” a study published in the journal proposed that “a flexible treatment program utilizing both inpatient and outpatient treatment with a focus on reducing attrition is the most likely to maximize effectiveness.” After all, recovery is a long process, and it is likely that a person may need both treatment options over time.