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Inpatient Treatment vs. Outpatient Treatment

in-patient addiction treatment

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You have finally admitted that you have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. Now it is time to go to substance abuse treatment. The first thing to recognize in the process of choosing an alcohol or drug treatment program will depend upon your insurance coverage, should you have any. Plainly put, your insurance carrier will most likely want you to go to outpatient rehab as it is less costly to them.

In many instances, depending upon what you are addicted to and how much you are taking is the determining factor in the treatment choice. A good alcohol and drug treatment program will have admissions staff able to fight for you to receive the best treatment possible. Beyond insurance coverage, there are crucial differences between in-patient and outpatient treatment that should be considered.

Outpatient treatment has been proven to be most effective as an aftercare plan. An aftercare plan means after in-patient treatment has been completed. It is difficult to move from detox to outpatient for a variety of reasons including:

  1. The addict has no opportunity to remove him or herself from the same environment in which use was occurring.
  2. Outpatient relies solely upon self-reporting both about physiological and psychological changes. Self-reporting is dangerous as the addict is not necessarily aware of what is happening to him or her
  3. The addict lives at home while attending outpatient and may be working. That leaves the addict little room for necessary self-reflection and time to focus solely upon self, distorted thinking patterns, addictive behaviors, and emotions that underlie the addiction and the reasons for the addiction.

In-patient addiction treatment allows the addict and alcoholic to remove him or herself from the temptations, the triggers, the environment, and the people with whom the addict used. In-patient addiction treatment provides the abuser with much needed time for self examination without guilt, without having to attend to family obligations, and with the necessary time to work on nothing else but treatment.

Scientific research has demonstrated that all of the issues mentioned above have a profound impact on the addict’s ability to make a searching and fearless moral inventory, as well as 24 hour monitoring by:

  • Psychiatric nurses
  • Addiction certified physicians and therapists
  • A variety of group and individual therapeutic experiences
  • An expectation that homework assignments will be completed
  • Ramifications for not attending group, etc.

With time away from all distractions, the addict can learn new coping skills and receive feedback from therapists and fellow addicts who are with the addict constantly. In-patient treatment makes it more difficult for the addict to hide, to manipulate, to make excuses, etc.

Certainly outpatient addiction treatment can work if the addict or alcoholic is self-motivated, disciplined, and able to avoid the environmental pulls and familial and friend pressures.

Recovery is hard work. If you have the opportunity to receive in-patient addiction treatment it should be pursued.


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