Getting treatment for alcohol or substance abuse is a great decision, but it is only the first of many. People also have to decide between inpatient and outpatient rehab and how long they will stay in treatment. The cost of treatment is one of the main reasons why people delay getting help.
Inpatient treatment is usually the most comprehensive approach, but there are intensive outpatient programs that can be just as effective. When it comes to a decision between inpatient and outpatient treatment, it is important that people think about their goals before deciding which is the best fit.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that treatment can be separated into two broad categories: inpatient and outpatient. Though both types of treatment have a lot in common, there are several key differences.
NIDA’s Principles of Effective Treatment state that no one-size-fits-all approach works for everyone. Treatment must address a person’s specific needs. It must always be modified in accordance with the client’s changing needs.
A 2014 case study published by Psychiatric Services found that the intensity of a person’s addiction and their mental health influenced how successful treatment was. People who were addicted to cocaine or who dealt with suicidal ideation were more likely to do better in inpatient programs.
Data from the study also shows that people with severe drug misuse issues benefited most from long-term programs. Those with severe drug or alcohol use disorders fared better in residential programs than long-term programs that were not residential.
The study did mention that intensive outpatient programs were very effective in dealing with drug and alcohol misuse, especially when combined with residential treatment. Even so, the study determined that there were no major differences between outpatient and inpatient programs when controlling for intensity.
Outpatient programs had the advantage that people were able to live at home and put new skills into practice immediately.
Whether you choose an inpatient or outpatient treatment, you still need to discuss your plans with your insurance provider. The following factors can influence that cost of your treatment:
In addition to considering cost, you should take the drug used, the severity of misuse, and possible co-occurring mental health issues into account. As a general rule, co-occurring disorders benefit from inpatient treatment as do severe or long-term substance use disorders. Your intake team will be able to advise you on which type of treatment is best for your situation.
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Whether or not you decide to seek treatment at a residential or outpatient facility, you should expect evidence-based treatment. Treatment may include:
Whether you choose inpatient or outpatient treatment, choose a program that offers an individualized approach based on evidence-based treatment.
(January 2019) Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. National Institute on Drug Addiction. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction
(January 2018) Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Types of Treatment Programs. National Institute on Drug Addiction. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs
(November 2018) Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs for Beginners. Verywell Mind. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-can-i-expect-at-a-drug-and-alcohol-rehab-program-67865
(January 2018) Evidence Based Addiction Treatment Approaches. Verywell Mind. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/evidence-based-addiction-treatment-approaches-4115858
(June 2015) Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence. Psychiatric Services. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152944/
(January 2018) Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): How effective is drug addiction treatment. National Institute on Drug Addiction. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-effective-drug-addiction-treatment
(July 2018) The Costs of Alcohol and Drug Treatment. Verywell Mind. Retrieved April 2019 from https://www.verywellmind.com/the-costs-of-alcohol-and-drug-treatment-67863