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Outpatient vs. Inpatient Drug Detox: Which Is Best for You? - Ascendant New York
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Outpatient vs. Inpatient Drug Detox: Which Is Best for You?

February 4, 2019

When escaping from drug and alcohol addiction, the first decision made is the one to get sober. The second decision is likely to be how, and where, to get the help that is needed. Modern treatments for substance detoxification include a myriad of options, ranging from intensive, inpatient, regimens to check-in facilities.

Before deciding on which treatment option is best, be sure to note the type and severity of symptoms of withdrawal from the particular substance that is being recovered from. Different substances produce different withdrawal effects, and some are more severe and incapacitating than others. The risks that are associated with the specific type of withdrawal can play a role in the amount of care that is decided upon. The following is a list of benefits that are associated with both outpatient and inpatient drug detox approaches.

Inpatient Drug Detox

For those in need of intensive support, inpatient drug detox is the way to go. Advances in treatment methods have resulted in environments which allow for the intravenous delivery of assisting medications, while simultaneously providing an atmosphere of peace and serenity. Both the physical, and the psychological, needs of a recovering patient are able to be addressed at an in-patient facility.

Inpatient drug detox and rehabilitation exists in both short-term, and long-term, structure. In longer term treatment, participants are immersed within a new culture, and one that is intended to assist in the resetting of thinking patterns. The longer-term treatment provides a space for those who will benefit from relief from the stresses of home and work life while combating their addiction. In shorter term treatment, the focus is on helping the participant to overcome the acute symptoms of withdrawal, enabling the former addict to progress with recovery from the comfort of home.

Several official agencies recommend that those recovering from addiction take part in the intensive form of treatment that in-patient facilities offer. Many addictions are considered chronic, which means that the cravings have a tendency to return following detoxification efforts. The ongoing support of an inpatient program can work as a defense against returning to the substance abuse as a response to these recurring cravings.

Outpatient Treatment

Even with all of the listed benefits of inpatient treatment, someone seeking recovery may not find the commitment that is necessary for such to be feasible. Inpatient treatment requires time away from jobs, family, and friends. It can also be more expensive than outpatient treatment, which can be a concern for someone who is already struggling to make financial ends meet. If these factors are a hindrance in receiving inpatient services, take heart. There are also many benefits to detoxing in an outpatient setting.

There have been positive research results in the application of behavioral therapy during addiction treatment. Compared to those who do not receive reinforcement during treatment, those who receive intermittent feedback during their recovery have been shown to better maintain their sobriety over the long run. These results lend support for the idea that periodic, outpatient, services have the ability to be utilized as effective resources in recovery.

Outpatient services can include the development of a comprehensive plan for recovery as well as providing limited access to assisting medications. It is emphasized that successful outpatient treatment is related to the conditions of the participants personal life, as the struggle to overcome addiction is made more difficult in the context of stressful life conditions. In order to maintain sobriety, it is further recommended that participants in outpatient programs persist with the treatment for at least a year.

Weighing Your Options

  • Work Schedule: Taking extended time off of work can mean that monthly bills are not able to be paid. Missing too much work can also mean that an employer has grounds for dismissing the employee. Both of these scenarios play into the decision of what type of detoxing treatment to pursue. Thankfully, employers are increasingly becoming aware of the detriment to their businesses that arise when an employee is struggling with substance abuse. Many companies have responded with implementations of employee assistance programs (EAP’s.) Under EAP regulations, an employee can safely request to take time off of work in order to treat substance-related issues.
  • Family Obligations: Families don’t function in the same way when one family member is absent for a length of time. The decision to commit oneself to inpatient treatment means that you will be absent from the daily family activities and interactions for awhile. When considering the possibility of this absence, it can help to examine the effect that your substance abuse is having on the family members. If the effects of the substance abuse are doing harm while you are at home, it may be worth it to spend a short amount of time away, and with the purpose of returning to your loved ones in a much better physical and mental state.
  • Insurance Options: While many health insurance providers are recognizing the benefits and importance of supporting their subscribers through funding recovery efforts, there are still limitations on what they will pay for. In an attempt to address the drug abuse crisis in our nation, government agencies are currently working to ensure that more mental health and substance abuse treatments are supported by insurance companies. The treatment program of your choice should be able to assist you in determining whether your insurance coverage is a good fit for the program.
  • Length of Treatment: All of the above factors can be addressed in light of the length of the program that is being considered. For those concerned about the length of stay, intensive inpatient treatment programs can be completed in just a few days, allowing the patient to return to normal life as quickly as possible.  This intensive treatment can be followed up with outpatient services, permitting a speedy return to work and loved ones. Short-term inpatient treatment, followed by longer-term outpatient treatment, may be a way to combine the benefits of both approaches.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and seeking substance use disorder treatment in Connecticut or New York, reach out to Ascendant. Our rehab and detox programs can help you create a healthy foundation for lifelong sobriety.

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