What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?

When looking for a treatment program, it is important to find one that best suits your individual needs to ensure you see the best results. There are two major forms of treatment—inpatient and outpatient—which have some similarities, but several key differences that really set the treatments apart from each other.


Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is a residential program, where a person lives at a treatment center for the duration of their program. Long-term programs typically last six to 12 months and are in non-hospital settings where 24-hour care is provided for patients. The programs also provide gender-specific residential campuses to enhance the recovery process.

Treatment programs focus on the “resocialization” of the patient, using staff and other residents as active participants, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Patients are taught to be mindful and reexamine past (and current) behaviors through cognitive behavior therapy and other therapeutic methods. They are also encouraged to learn job skills, improve their education and participate in group activities and counseling sessions.

There are also shorter inpatient treatment programs that are founded on the 12-step approach, similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous. The original program was set to be a three to six-week hospital-based inpatient program, followed by outpatient therapy, according to the NIDA.


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Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient programs vary depending on the services available and the intensity of treatment needed, which is determined on a case-by-case basis. The main difference from inpatient treatment is that a person doing outpatient treatment does not stay overnight at the treatment facility. These programs are more flexible for people with families or children. Group counseling or community support groups play a large role in outpatient care and are a successful method of holding patients accountable for their actions and attendance.


Before choosing a treatment plan, do your research. Come speak to one of us at Newport Academy so we can best accommodate your needs as a patient. This way you will know what the options are and be able to make the best decision for you and your success.


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