Inpatient vs. Outpatient Drug Rehabs: Which Works Best for Heroin Addiction?

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Addiction Treatment Programs For Heroin - Fight Addiction Now

Inpatient vs. outpatient therapy for treatment of heroin addiction depends on the individual. There is no one clear formula for best treatment options. Determining the best method for recovery depends on the patient, his or her history, recovery attempts, and severity of addiction.

Some individuals respond better to inpatient programs, while others respond better to outpatient. Certain circumstances can indicate the patient needs to be in one type of treatment facility instead of the other. Before finding a heroin addiction treatment facility for you or a loved one, do research to understand available options.

Choosing a Treatment Option

Determining whether you or a loved one suffering from heroin addiction should choose an inpatient or outpatient facility requires research. If the patient is currently seeing a doctor or counselor, ask for his or her professional opinion. Both options have been used to successfully treat heroin addiction.

Many people believe that outpatient programs are only occasional treatments, but outpatient programs can also provide 24-hour care. Each treatment type has its own merits, and it is up to individual patients to decide how they would like to proceed with treatment.

Inpatient Treatment Options

Inpatient rehabilitation centers are intensive, residential programs that are designed to treat serious and longstanding heroin addictions. The initial admission into an inpatient facility typically includes a medically supervised detoxification process.

During treatment, patients will reside in the facility and receive 24-hour care. The length of residency can last from 28 days to six months. The long-term stay helps ensure that patients are constantly supported, monitored and not able to access drugs that result in relapsing.

Rehabilitation in an inpatient facility removes a patient from their day-to-day life. This allows him or her to focus entirely on treatment with few to no distractions and stressors. During residency, patients are on a heavily structured schedule that includes individual and group therapies, classes, personal development and other activities.

Secondary Medical Issues

Research studies have shown that inpatient treatment is best suited for those with other health concerns, either physical or mental. For patients with physical health problems, constant medical care will help ensure they are properly monitored. Rehabilitation is a stressful time and many physical conditions can worsen during this time.

Patients with mental health issues can also greatly benefit from inpatient programs. Many people suffering from heroin addiction have underlying mental health issues which have never been addressed. The intensive therapy provided in inpatient programs can help treat underlying causes of addiction.

Learn More About Inpatient Programs

Outpatient Treatment Options

Outpatient rehabilitation programs are less intensive and may or may not include overnight stays. For outpatient treatment, patients live their lives as normal, but attend treatment or therapy sessions during off-hours. This format will allow a patient to continue his or her normal professional and personal lifestyle without a complete interruption.

Some outpatient facilities have residential options, where a patient can spend all day and all night but come and go as they please. Patients who choose this option will need to make sure their outpatient living environment is safe, effective and free from drugs and alcohol.

Individuals in outpatient programs enjoy a great deal of flexibility and can carry on their life almost to the same extent as before treatment. Outpatient treatments include psychotherapy, as well as group, individual, marital and vocational therapies. These can be scheduled around the patient’s work and family obligations.

Those receiving outpatient care require an abundance of support from friends and family. He or she must also be responsible for distancing themselves from other addicts, including dealers. Many who suffer from heroin addiction have trouble distancing themselves from these individuals, so inpatient care may be a better option if it is an issue.

Learn More About Outpatient Programs

What to Consider When Choosing Inpatient vs. Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Choosing between an inpatient and outpatient treatment program depends on a few different factors for the patient’s lifestyle and specific situation. Relapse risk, medical diagnoses, living situations and motivation levels are all prime considerations when choosing a treatment facility. Before you or a loved one enters a rehabilitation program, consider the different factors.

Relapse Risk

Some people only need one rehabilitation program to change their lives. Others have tried treatment plans before but have relapsed. If the patient has a history of receiving prior care and has a high risk of relapse, inpatient care may be a more successful option.

Medical Diagnoses

Those suffering from addiction who also have physical or mental illnesses should choose an inpatient rehabilitation program. Medical conditions should be closely monitored in those recovering from addiction to ensure they do not worsen.

Those with mental illness should be closely monitored during the rehabilitation process and receive consistent counseling services throughout recovery. An inpatient program can provide closer monitoring for health conditions beyond substance abuse.

Living Situation

If a patient has a stable living situation with others who are not suffering from heroin addiction, an outpatient treatment plan may work well. The balance between a healthy home life and a strong medical support team can help a patient recover successfully.

On the other hand, if a patient is surrounded by others with addictions or lives in a non-supportive environment, an inpatient program may be the best option. Here, they would receive 24-hour observation and care they otherwise would not receive in an unhealthy home environment.

Levels of Motivation

Patients who have initiated the treatment plan on their own and have high motivation levels for recovery can thrive in outpatient programs. Sometimes detox, therapy and group support are all one needs to recover fully. If a patient has a low level of motivation or has been forced into a rehabilitation program, the structure and intensity of an inpatient program will be more effective.

Making the Decision

Inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities have shown to successfully treat heroin addiction. If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for the addiction, consider all available options and the patient’s situation.

In years past, many doctors would automatically recommend inpatient facility treatment for heroin addiction. Recent studies have shown that both inpatient and outpatient programs can successfully treat the addiction, but success rates depend on the individual’s needs.

The decision for inpatient or outpatient treatment should be made by the patient, his or her family and medical professionals. Psychologists and counselors can determine if a patient is suffering from mental illness to help lead to informed decision about which treatment option might be best.

If you are a family member trying to help someone suffering from addiction, we recommend visiting a counselor with or without the patient for help. Their professional opinion may give you the confidence you need to choose a treatment plan.

See Our Heroin Addiction Fact Sheet

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