Can I Start With Outpatient Rehab Before Committing To Inpatient Care?

Depending on your situation, you may be able to explore outpatient treatment options for substance use disorder before transitioning to an inpatient program. Your healthcare provider can help you determine which level of care is best for you.

Both outpatient and inpatient addiction treatment programs are available to help those who struggle with chronic alcohol or drug abuse achieve and maintain a healthy, controlled, and sober lifestyle.

If you need treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, connect with a healthcare provider who can help you determine which treatment options best fit your needs and overall situation. 

This may include some form of initial outpatient treatment or intensive outpatient treatment, followed by participation in an inpatient treatment facility if needed.

Creating A Personalized Treatment Plan

When you begin the recovery process you’ll be connected with a clinician, counselor, or some other form of healthcare provider who will help you develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific condition and situation, including your personal preferences and treatment goals.

Depending on these details, this plan may include some initial form of outpatient care with the option of switching into inpatient rehab if needed. 

In fact, many participants in professional treatment services ultimately choose to explore this route when they aren’t sure what level of care is right for them.

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Advantages Of Choosing Outpatient Care First

There are advantages that come with choosing outpatient treatment first and switching to inpatient treatment later only if needed:

  • lower treatment cost, as outpatient treatment is generally far more affordable than inpatient treatment, depending on how long your program continues
  • less lifestyle disruption, as outpatient treatment can more easily fit into your daily life, potentially allowing you to continue attending classes or working around your scheduled treatment sessions
  • improved family access, as outpatient rehab programs also make it easier to care for children and other dependents while receiving care
  • local access, as outpatient treatment centers tend to be far more numerous and widespread than inpatient rehab facilities

Ultimately, the most important aspect of any treatment program is its effectiveness, its ability to help you as an individual. If your treatment plan isn’t working then you should absolutely talk to your healthcare provider and make the appropriate adjustments.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Treatment

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment can be effective for treating alcohol or drug addiction. But you should understand that these programs differ in format and intensity, and are intended to address different severities of substance use disorder.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

Inpatient programs, also known as residential treatment, are the most intensive option available for drug or alcohol treatment and are held within residential rehab facilities over an extended treatment period, usually 30 or 60 days.

Participants in inpatient programs receive around-the-clock supervision and support in a highly focused, drug-free environment. Patients are also removed from their life and family members for an extended period of time. 

Accordingly, inpatient programs are recommended for the treatment of severe substance use disorders, especially in cases where there is a co-occurring mental health condition or other treatment options haven’t worked.

Inpatient Treatment Services

Inpatient treatment may also feature:

  • medical detox services, helping participants navigate their initial withdrawal symptoms safely while under medical supervision
  • dual diagnosis treatment services, providing treatment for co-occurring disorders 
  • medication-assisted treatment options, using FDA-approved medications like methadone or naltrexone to treat opioid or alcohol use disorders
  • family therapy sessions, improving communication and intimacy which may have been damaged by the negative effects of drug or alcohol use
  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other forms of psychotherapy, used to identify and change maladaptive aspects of one’s thought or behavior, replacing them with healthy and helpful alternativities

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient substance abuse treatment is more flexible and is designed to slot into a person’s normal schedule and lifestyle. 

Participants must commute to their local rehab center for scheduled treatment sessions which usually last for a few hours, while also completing exercises at home between sessions.

While outpatient treatment is a step down from inpatient programs in intensity, certain options are still available to address severe forms of substance use disorder. 

This includes specialized part-time intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and full-time partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), which use many of the same structures and evidence-based interventions as residential programs.

Outpatient Treatment Services

Standard outpatient services and group or individual counseling sessions may also be recommended for those who have completed some other intensive type of treatment, but who still need ongoing support and accountability as their recovery journey continues.

Depending on the program, outpatient therapy sessions may include:

  • individual therapy sessions to explore a person’s addiction and its underlying factors while also helping to build positive coping skills for sober living
  • group therapy to connect participants together as peers for mutual support, sharing and processing thoughts, behaviors, struggles, and successes in a safe and intentional setting
  • family therapy to help participants and their family members reconnect and facilitate better communication, emotional connection, and mutual support

If you or your loved one live with drug or alcohol addiction, talk to a professional to get your recovery started. If you aren’t sure how, or what solutions may be right for you, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center today.

  1. American Psychological Association (APA)
  2. Current Psychiatry Reports
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: November 17, 2023

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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