Probably one of the first questions people suffering from addictions ask themselves when considering rehab options is, “Do I have to become an inpatient resident in a facility, or can I choose outpatient rehab?” That’s a fair question, but there is not one right answer. Every individual is different, and every case is unique.
The goal of this article is to help you answer that whole question and a more to-the-point query that most people seeking help hope will be answered with a “Yes”—”Is outpatient rehab right for me?”
Looking at Treatment from Your Perspective
There are any number of reasons why you might prefer to be treated as an outpatient, including:
- The cost factor. “How can I afford it?” Cost depends on many variables, but inpatient programs can range from as “little” as $2,000 to as much as $25,000 for typical 30-day treatments. If you have insurance, they may give you a hard time about paying. But it is something you can work through. Some inpatient programs also offer assistance working out financial issues and work with your insurance company on your behalf so you can focus on treatment.
- The isolation factor. “When can I see my family and friends?” Inpatient treatment is similar to intensive care in a medical facility; visitation is limited by both time and number of visitors allowed. It’s also important to note that you may not be able to see friends or significant others as an inpatient, due to a fear of negative influences and a desire for you to focus on your own recovery.
- The dormitory factor. “Who else is in here? I don’t want to be around a bunch of addicts.” The benefit is that it can turn out to be a relief to have the company of others who may understand your issues. But you can also get this as an outpatient; just at a different level.
- The away factor. “Will I be able to keep my job?” This is a tough one. There’s a stigma against substance abuse issues, so you don’t want to overshare; but in order to keep your job, you need to recover first.
Each question is legitimate. Each is a valid reason to prefer outpatient care. To be fair to yourself, your family, and all others concerned, you also need to look at rehab from a clinical perspective. So there are some additional questions that need to be asked to help determine if outpatient therapy is viable in your particular case.
How do you think you would do as an outpatient? Either way, it takes a great deal of commitment, so read on.
Looking at Treatment from a Clinical Perspective
First, compare outpatient to inpatient treatment in general:
|Less expensive||More care|
|More access to work or school||Less access to addictive activities|
|Real-world experience||Controlled environment|
|Greater risk of relapse||Reduced risk of relapse|
You may be surprised to learn that the American Psychiatric Association’s Addiction Group has developed a set of clinical standards to help you determine objectively if outpatient care is right for you. The guidelines are designed to put a patient in the least intensive level of care for the particular drug abuse issue, while still maintaining safety or security. The level of treatment needed on a clinical basis depends more on the magnitude of addiction.
It is important to understand that there are two types of outpatient programs available, one of which may be more appropriate for you:
- Outpatient, which is on average a maximum of nine hours a week in individual or group settings or a combination of both.
- Intensive Outpatient, which is typically the same type of treatment for a minimum of nine hours a week but usually involves more regulations.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Outpatient Rehab?
Now that you know some of the essential differences between outpatient and inpatient treatment, your best bet may be to ask yourself the following questions about seeking treatment as an outpatient:
- Will I be unnecessarily exposed to alcohol and drugs?
- Will I be living in an unstable environment?
- Do other family members drink alcohol or do drugs?
- Will I be a danger to myself or others?
- Do I have a history of relapse?
- Do I have other medical conditions that would hinder outpatient rehab?
If your answer to each of these is “No,” you may be a good candidate for outpatient rehab. Move on to the next set of questions:
- Does my work/school/home schedule allow the flexibility for treatment?
- Do I have reliable transportation to and from the outpatient treatment facility?
- Do I have a strong support network at home and from other sources?
If your answer to each of these questions is “Yes,” outpatient therapy may be feasible.
You have asked and answered some very important questions, but coming to a conclusion is just like rehab—it needs to be done with the help of professionals and others who care deeply about the outcome.
We’re Here to Help
We encourage you to contact us at Harris House so we can help you decide what’s best for you. Just remember, we are on your side and stand by ready to help.