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Weighing Pros and Cons of Inpatient Drug Treatment

Inpatient drug treatment can be extremely effective and beneficial for many individuals who are addicted to one or more substances and want to start their recovery off right. But, like any treatment, there are some drawbacks to this type of rehab. If you are considering attending an inpatient drug treatment and staying at the facility, you should definitely weigh the pros and cons of this type of treatment before making a decision.

Pros of Inpatient Drug Rehab

Inpatient drug treatment is a treatment regimen and facility type chosen by many individuals. It can often provide patients with many options that they might not receive otherwise. Considering the pros of this type of treatment is important, as it could be much more beneficial to certain types of patients. With inpatient drug treatment, you will often receive more treatment options, more care and help during the time of your rehabilitation and recovery, and more interactions with other individuals in your treatment setting.

A Controlled Environment

rehab inpatient program

Inpatient rehab programs help people take a step back and regain control over their lives.

One of the biggest pros of inpatient drug treatment is being in a controlled environment. Many people are fragile at the beginning stages of their addiction treatment and should not have to fight their triggers, cravings, and other individuals who might want to see them relapse.

The temptation to go back to drugs can be much higher when the individual is not in a controlled environment, and someone who has a severe addiction could relapse this way. In inpatient treatment, an individual is in a drug-free facility and able to stay that way through some of the hardest times associated with drug treatment, helping them fight the urge to go back to drugs.

Physical and Psychiatric Treatment

According to a study from the NCBI, “Patients with high psychiatric severity… are predicted to have a better outcome in inpatient treatment.” This means that those patients with

  • Severe addictions
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • PTSD
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Schizophrenia

would have an easier time in an inpatient facility and likely a better outcome after treatment. This is because patients with these issues will be able to receive treatment for them more easily along with treatment for more severe addictions.

Patients with more severe physical issues should also consider inpatient treatment. There are often more treatments available to help these individuals, and some patients need round-the-clock medical treatment for withdrawal, like those with a life-threatening condition called delirium tremens caused by alcohol abuse. Others may have contracted diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis C from sharing needles or may have other medical issues as a result of their abuse. Inpatient facilities can often better treat these individuals.

Other Pros of Inpatient Drug Treatment

  • Patients often receive access to other holistic treatments such as art therapy, yoga, nature walks, etc.
  • Inpatient treatment often offers legal help, vocational classes, and nutritional classes to patients.
  • Other residents, doctors, nurses, and therapists all become part of a community that helps facilitate patient recovery.
  • Inpatient treatment facilities will set up aftercare programs in outpatient facilities, sober living houses, or other facilities for leaving patients.
  • Patients are able to work through their issues in a place they feel safe.

Cons of Inpatient Drug Treatment

Inpatient drug treatment does have drawbacks as well. Many patients feel that they must attend inpatient drug rehab in order to get better, but at times it can be unnecessary and even less effective for specific patients. If you are considering this type of treatment, it is important to know the cons as well as the pros.


Generally, inpatient treatment is more expensive than outpatient treatment. This is commonly the case, although SAMHSA states that there are inpatient facilities that exist where patients can receive free or low-cost treatment. Often, though, these facilities are difficult to find and extremely selective. It is important to recognize that, if you do not necessarily need inpatient treatment, it may not be the best decision. For many addicts, financial issues are common, and unnecessary inpatient treatment could worsen this situation.

Difficulty Maintaining Your Life

While the controlled environment of inpatient drug treatment can be very beneficial, it can also be a problem. It can be difficult for someone to maintain a job, continue their personal relationships, and deal with other issues when they are away at an inpatient facility. Some people have responsibilities that they cannot leave behind (a job, children, etc.) and others will not want to leave their lives for up to 90 days or more.

According to the NIDA, outpatient treatment “often is more suitable for people with jobs or extensive social supports.” Some people may need inpatient drug treatment, but it can hurt the regular lives of other individuals who may not need the more intense treatment in the first place.

Other Cons of Inpatient Drug Treatment

  • Patients may have trouble adjusting to daily life after treatment.
  • Many inpatient facilities are privately owned, and patients wind up paying for creature comforts that don’t necessarily help heal their addictions.
  • Patients will not know how difficult it is to live in the real world with their addictions until this treatment is over.
  • Many patients miss their friends and family members, and some can even become depressed being away from them.

Inpatient Drug Treatment Overall

Overall, inpatient drug treatment is very beneficial – to the individuals who truly need this particular type of treatment. Some people may not need inpatient treatment and attending it could only make their financial, social, and work situations more strained.

However, other people who need constant medical attention, have a mental disorder that may cause them to hurt themselves or others, or have no social support system to lean on are actually expected to do better in inpatient drug treatment. If you are in this situation, you should absolutely consider this type of facility.

Like everything, inpatient drug treatment has its good and bad qualities. But a person who especially needs this treatment will benefit from it as it is specifically catered to those who need extra care, attention, and help.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

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