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Inpatient vs. Outpatient Addiction Treatment: What Are the Differences?

a person talks with a therapist during an Outpatient Treatment Program

Drug and alcohol addiction are common problems. Sadly, more and more people are becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol by the minute. Admittedly, several addiction treatment challenges in the country make addressing the addiction epidemic difficult. However, there is help available. Finding an inpatient or outpatient program for addiction treatment is easier than ever. But what are the differences between these common treatment options?

At Northpoint Seattle, we know that compassionate addiction treatment can be the turning point when someone is on the road to recovery. Our team builds meaningful connections to create evidence-based treatment plans that promote long-term sobriety. Call 425.414.3530 or contact us online to learn more and to get started today.

Who Benefits from Inpatient Treatment?

Many people enter an inpatient program because they know without a shadow of a doubt they need it. They are honest with themselves enough to know they cannot get sober without staying in a center free of distractions. Often, people in inpatient treatment need an extended period in a safe place that will keep them away from the temptations of the outside world. They need to focus solely on recovery without the stressors that come with daily life outside the walls of a treatment center.

Other people enter inpatient treatment because they have been abusing the kind of drugs or amount of alcohol that require a long-term supervised medical detox, which is usually only offered at a rehab. Although some detox programs can take place in conjunction with IOP, many people need ongoing, supervised medical support that can only be found in an inpatient program.

What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is an alternative to inpatient rehab. Although some people with a substance use disorder may require inpatient care, that is not always the case. An IOP offers addiction treatment that does not involve a 24/7 time commitment.

An IOP offers the same quality care found in inpatient programs. The only significant difference in the kind of care provided is that care takes place for a few hours, several days a week. This makes an IOP the ideal choice for people who cannot commit to 28 days or more at a rehab facility due to work, school, or family obligations.

What Are the Differences Between Inpatient and IOP?

While the main difference between an inpatient and an intensive outpatient program is the time commitment, each person’s circumstances will require different levels of care. Some specific differences between the two levels of treatment include:

  • Inpatient treatment allows for a medically supervised detox, often required for drugs like opiates, heroin, and severe alcohol consumption. IOP often does not provide detox services, although some people complete a detox program and attend IOP.
  • Inpatient treatment is often considerably more expensive than IOP.
    Inpatient rehab provides a safe, secure facility that allows patients to live in a drug-free environment for at least a month. An IOP sends patients home every night to face the temptations of the outside world.
  • Inpatient rehab may result in the loss of a job or a setback in academic obligations because of the duration of the stay. Conversely, most people can balance their work commitments and responsibilities at school while attending IOP.
  • Inpatient rehab requires patients to be away from their family, friends, and loved ones for an extended period. IOP allows patients to return home every night to maintain close relationships with their loved ones.
  • Inpatient treatment gives recovering people permission to focus 100% of their energy on their recovery. IOP requires a balance of recovery and the stressors of everyday living.
  • Inpatient rehab offers more specialized care because the patient is at the facility 24/7. People in an IOP get less exposure to available quality care because they only spend a few hours a week in the recovery environment.

Which Program Is Right for You?

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider your next step in the right direction:

  • If you have been abusing opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, or heroin for any time, you will probably require a supervised medical detox. In this case, you will most likely need inpatient treatment. This is also true if you have been continually consuming large amounts of alcohol for an extended period.
  • If you have tried IOP before and relapsed since your treatment, you may need to consider inpatient treatment this time.
  • If your insurance won’t cover inpatient, or you do not have the funds to pay for inpatient treatment, IOP might be the right choice.
  • If you cannot afford to lose your job or quit attending school for a semester, you probably do not want to commit to a stay at an inpatient treatment center.
  • If you know instinctively that you do not have what it takes to stay sober without long-term supervised care, go with your gut. Choose the path of inpatient treatment.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment at Northpoint Seattle

If you are struggling with addiction, we want to help you get your life back on track. Northpoint Seattle offers a comprehensive outpatient addiction treatment program designed to meet your needs. We customize our treatment plans to ensure that each person gets the care they need to overcome their unique challenges. Call 425.414.3530 or contact us online to get started.