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How Do I Choose Between Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab?

The seemingly never-ending choices between drug rehab programs can be overwhelming, especially for someone who’s ready to enter drug treatment. Drug addiction takes a toll on a person’s mental and emotional health making even the smallest tasks seem difficult. If you’ve already narrowed your available choices down to inpatient vs. outpatient rehab, it helps to have an understanding on how these programs work.

When choosing between inpatient vs. outpatient rehab, the convenience of outpatient treatment can quickly win out over the restrictions that come with inpatient care. And while there’s a lot to be said for convenience, your individual treatment needs should dictate your overall choice as inpatient vs. outpatient rehab are worlds apart in terms of the types of needs these programs address.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

The most obvious difference between inpatient vs. outpatient rehab has to do with the treatment setting in terms of living at the facility versus living at home. Inpatient programs require patients to live at the facility for the duration of the program, whereas outpatient programs allow you to schedule treatment sessions around your existing schedule while living at home.

While people who still have work and family obligations to meet may naturally gravitate towards an outpatient program, addiction severity should ultimately be the deciding factor when choosing between inpatient and outpatient rehab, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

For help finding treatment that meets your needs call our toll-free helpline at 800-681-7369.

Questions to Ask

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

If you’re unable to work due to drug abuse, you should seek inpatient rehab.

How Long Have I Been Using Drugs and How Often Do I Use?

Addictive drugs in any form work by interfering with the brain’s chemical balance and overall system. The longer a person indulges in drug use, the more imbalanced the brain’s chemical environment becomes. These conditions set the stage for dependency to grow and intensify, on both a physical and emotional level. In effect, the longer drug abuse continues, the more severe the addiction problem, the more restrictive the treatment environment should be.

Has My Life Spun Out of Control?

As far as inpatient vs. outpatient rehab goes, someone who’s life is spinning out of control as a result of compulsive drug use may want to seriously consider inpatient treatment. Disruptions within major life areas typically become the most glaring signs of addiction in a person’s daily life. These disruptions may appear within your relationships, on the job or in your finances.

Am I Struggling with Depression or Anxiety Problems?

The chemical imbalances brought on by drug abuse create prime conditions for psychological disorders to develop. According to the University of Utah Health Sciences, feelings of depression or bouts of anxiety can easily trigger drug-using urges, making it that much harder to abstain. Under these conditions, the choice between inpatient vs. outpatient rehab should be inpatient treatment.

Is Inpatient Treatment Better Than Outpatient Treatment?


Both alcohol and drug abuse take a gradual toll on a person’s physical and mental health to the point where it becomes difficult to manage the affairs of daily life. Ultimately, the choice between inpatient vs. outpatient rehab has to do with whether you can follow through on treatment directives on your own or require ongoing monitoring and support. When all is said and done, getting the level of care most needed now will save you much time, energy and frustration in the long run.

If you or someone you know are trying to choose between inpatient vs. outpatient rehab and need help finding a program that meets your needs, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-681-7369 to speak with one of our addictions specialists.