Outpatient Vs Inpatient rehab: What’s the difference!

A victim of substance abuse and drug addiction eventually has a strong dependency on the drug resulting in severe mental health issues that affect their psyche. Drug addiction is now increasingly common in the youth (18 to 25 years) within the United States. This situation worsens since more than 90% of Americans are exposed to these indulgences at 18 years old.

Addiction to these drugs takes time, and their symptoms surface at a later stage of this addiction. With the proper guidance and consultation, drug addicts can overcome the addiction and return to their normal lives.

It’s important to understand the treatment and the stage of addiction before going in for the rehab program. Let’s look into the difference between an outpatient and an inpatient rehab program.

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab is a flexible treatment plan that works according to the working schedule of patients while providing a high level of care. For instance, patients continue their normal routine and attend to their professional commitments while undergoing the treatment. They can attend school, take care of their children and family members, and engage in routine activities. However, they need to regularly attend individual or group therapies and counseling sessions at clinical facilities for treatment.

Most programs are based on a step-down approach resulting in less frequent and intensive treatment plans while becoming better during recovery. Patients can visit www.addictionguide.com to develop a better understanding of various types of treatment plans and their transitions to other recovery plans.


Outpatient rehab programs usually require patients to spend 10 to 12 hours a week at treatment centers. Patients receive drug abuse education and counseling sessions individually or in groups during outpatient therapies. Moreover, they also learn how to survive without their drugs under outpatient rehab.

An outpatient treatment plan is a standalone option for patients with mild symptoms of addiction. It also serves as a part of a long-term treatment program. This plan can last for 3 to 6 months. In some cases, it may extend up to a year. The average length of an outpatient program is three months.

The features of the outpatient programs vary according to the needs of the patients and the nature of the medical facilities. However, some most common features include patients who may receive medication after referral and attend the 12 step fellowship programs.

Cost of Outpatient Rehab Treatment

Outpatient programs help patients overcome drug and alcohol addiction followed by long-term periods of sobriety. The outpatient rehab programs are less expensive as they do not provide residential facilities to the patients. Many outpatient rehab programs come within the range of $1000.

Pros and Cons

Outpatient programs have advantages and disadvantages that patients must carefully consider before starting treatment.

  • They offer flexibility in attending therapies and participating in group sessions.
  • These programs help patients continue receiving treatment without interrupting their job schedule and personal commitments.
  • Outpatient programs have fewer chances for patients to travel outside of the local community to get medical treatment.

Some disadvantages of outpatient programs are following:

  • Patients face high chances of relapse while receiving treatment due to constant exposure to triggers and environments that promote unhealthy habits and drug addiction patterns.
  • Outpatient programs are less intensive and centered on less medication approach
  • There are low chances to find out and overcome co-occurring mental health disorders

Inpatient Rehab

Patients stay in medical facilities during inpatient rehab to treat substance abuse and other related disorders. They are under constant observation of medical service providers to cope with drug withdrawal symptoms. Inpatient luxury rehab centers usually start with medically assisted detox treatment in which toxins and other substances clean away from the body.

Residential rehab is another name for inpatient rehab, where patients who have acute drugs or alcohol addiction seek treatment. In addition, patients with co-occurring mental health disorders also receive medical aid in such facilities. While staying at residential rehabs, patients live in healthy environments that are effective for their speedy recovery. In this way, they also successfully avoid attractions and temptations that trigger them to commit drugs and substance abuse again.

Licensed inpatient rehabs are 24/7 open for patients to seek intensive care and medical support. Inpatient rehabs usually use three recovery phases in their treatment programs, including detoxification, reflection, and growth. These programs target patients to adopt drugs and alcohol-free lifestyles after completing the treatment.

Duration of Treatment

Both kinds of rehab programs, short-term and long-term, are available. While undergoing a long-term residential program, patients usually spend six months to a year in rehabilitation centers. On the contrary, short-term residential programs usually last for three to six weeks, depending on the needs of the patients. An average residential program continues for 28 days.

After inpatient treatment, patients can step down to other treatment options such as individual or group counseling and transition towards outpatient programs. During inpatient treatment, patients also participate in the famous 12 step programs for addiction recovery. Furthermore, medication also becomes part of the recovery plan in some critical cases.

Pros and Cons

Inpatient rehab programs have advantages and disadvantages that patients must look at before going into a treatment plan.

Some advantages of inpatient rehab are following:

  • These programs are highly intensive, thus providing around-the-clock medical support and accountability for patients.
  • Inpatient rehab programs offer comprehensive care to patients with co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • These programs are best to cure drug addicts for years and need immediate removal from triggering situations, influencing people and places to stay sober.

The disadvantages of inpatient rehab are following:

  • These programs hinder patients from performing personal and work-related responsibilities.
  • Inpatient treatment plans are expensive due to intensive care and constant surveillance in medical facilities
  • Some insurance companies do not give full coverage to inpatient treatment plans

Cost of Inpatient Rehab Treatment

Cost is a deciding factor that influences the final choice of the patients between outpatient rehab and inpatient rehab. Due to the nature of residential facilities, the cost of inpatient programs is comparatively higher than outpatient programs.

While undergoing an inpatient rehab treatment plan, patients are expected to pay the cost of $2,000 for basic services. A comprehensive treatment plan may charge $40,000 per month to patients, especially in the case of non-coverage of insurance policies.


  • To make recovery less costly and troublesome, one must check available treatment options before finalizing the choice. It is always better to visit and check with medical service providers such as drug rehabs in Wellington, before starting treatment.