In drug and alcohol rehab, inpatient care involves full-time treatment at a specialized facility where the person in recovery can be monitored by doctors and treatment professionals. Outpatient treatment involves less intensive care, usually with the patient recovering at home while undergoing regular check-ups with a doctor.

The decision between outpatient and inpatient treatment usually comes down to the seriousness of one’s addiction. If your treatment is going to involve potentially severe withdrawal, then it’s best to recover under the direct care of treatment professionals in inpatient drug rehab. But if your addiction has lasted no more than a few months and will not involve severe withdrawal, then you may be able to recover at home.

Here are the other main points to consider when deciding between the two:

  • In inpatient drug rehab, the patient is monitored throughout the detox stage, which helps make the process more controlled and less painful. In outpatient treatment, the patient may have to detox at home.
  • Inpatient treatment helps give the patient a sense of breakage between the old life and the new one. With outpatient treatment, it can be more difficult to make the transition.
  • Outpatient treatment allows you to continue with your work life without substantial disruption.
  • Outpatient rehab can work for patients who have strong support systems at home. Without this, you’re probably better off in the supportive environment of an inpatient drug rehab facility.
  • Inpatient facilities allow patients to immediately immerse themselves in the patterns and philosophies of sober living. You get to interact with other recovering addicts, and these early connections can be crucial for your long-term recovery.
  • Most inpatient treatment facilities provide calm, relaxing environments where the stresses of early treatment lose their painful edge. Outpatient treatment, in contrast, casts the addict back out into his or her normal, everyday life, which makes it difficult to move forward.