The Benefits of Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment for Alcoholism

If you are looking into an alcohol recovery program, it is important to understand the difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.  Typically, heavy drinkers who are extremely addicted to the substance are admitted to inpatient care.  However, outpatient treatment is also a valuable alternative under the right circumstances.

Inpatient substance abuse care is when the patient is admitted to a facility.  This is usually the recommended course of action for those who are heavily addicted to alcohol.  However, the cost for inpatient care is higher.  Therefore, some people find it to be unaffordable.  On the other hand, outpatient care is when a person is not formally admitted to an alcoholism treatment facility.  In this case, the treatment may take place in a doctor’s office, clinic or the outpatient department of a hospital.

The first step that you might want to take if you have health insurance is to see if your plan covers alcoholism treatment.  Find out what providers are covered on your plan.  If your insurance covers treatment, the costs that will be incurred in an inpatient facility will be much more affordable.

For severe alcoholics who have contracted medical problems as a result of their drinking, inpatient care is often recommended.  In this case, a supervised alcohol detox will likely be necessary.  Typically, after the detox, an inpatient care program follows.  The patient usually attends the program for a few hours each day.  Often these programs can take 3-6 weeks.  After the inpatient treatment is completed, a patient is often moved to an outpatient treatment center.

For severe alcoholics, inpatient care is highly recommended, as there will be no access to alcohol.  Patients will also be under 24-7 security.  In addition to the alcohol detox, patients will be given intensive counseling that help them understand their condition and the reasons behind their addiction.

On the other hand, there are definitely benefits to outpatient care.  For example, the patient can be at home in a familiar environment during the alcohol recovery process.  They can continue a normal lifestyle and they won’t have to leave their job or school to get care.  If the patient has a quality support system, this option can also work quite effectively.  However, in general, outpatient treatment is typically more suited to people who are not severely addicted.  Obviously, outpatient care is far less expensive.  There are also other possibilities to explore including residential care and self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.