Alcohol continues to be a serious problem as a highly addictive substance for the vast majority of Americans. The problem is compounded by the fact that many who get into alcohol do so at a very young age. This is why many are trying to find a treatment form that would work best to deal with the problem, with the main choices commonly being inpatient vs outpatient rehab.

At Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery in Nampa, Idaho, our addiction specialists help people struggling with alcoholism recover by finding the right treatment program that is tailored to suit their specific needs.

How Early Do People Become Interested in Drinking Alcohol?

difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab

Officially, the minimum legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old, although at least 77% of Americans admit they drank for the first time before reaching the legal drinking age. On top of that, at least six in every ten Americans, which is at least 60% of the population, confess they had their first drink while still considered a minor or below 18 years of age.

A study done by Columbia University reveals that underage drinkers account for the consumption of at least 11.4% of all of the alcohol sold in the U.S. A startling revelation from the study indicates that teen boys had their first try at alcohol at age 11, while teen girls typically had their first drink at 13. A sad reality of this is that teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are at least 5 times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD) later in life.

Apart from the development of an alcohol abuse disorder, teenagers who drank heavily were three times more likely to engage in activities that could hurt them, including self-harm, suicide attempts, and other highly risky behavior.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data that revealed 29% of drivers aged 15 to 20 years old who were killed in motor vehicle crashes had been drinking. A high percentage of those involved in these crashes had a blood alcohol content level (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, which is above the legal limit in the United States.

What is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehab is a form of addiction treatment that requires the patients to reside at a rehabilitation facility for the entire duration of their treatment. They will receive supervised and highly structured care all geared towards helping them overcome their drug and alcohol dependence. A patient who enters inpatient drug or alcohol rehabilitation becomes a full-time resident of the rehab facility where they receive targeted care and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Depending on the facility, patients may live alone in an assigned room or share it with a roommate. The patients, now also known as residents, typically eat their meals inside the facility and go to structured one-on-one or group therapy sessions at designated schedules, usually several times per day. The average treatment duration or length of stay at the facility is 30 days, although there are instances where a patient would need to stay longer to not only achieve a full recovery but also ensure less likelihood of a relapse.

The environment of inpatient rehab offers a focused approach to dealing with the issue of substance abuse. The constant care and monitoring offer a good opportunity to gain insight into the progress, or lack thereof, of the patient. This insight could prove to be essential in determining if a particular type of treatment is better for the patient than others.

What is Outpatient Rehab?

outpatient rehab idahoUnlike inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab is a non-residential, therapy-based treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. This type of treatment does not include residing onsite or securing housing arrangements on facility premises. In outpatient drug rehab, a person with a substance abuse disorder doesn’t necessarily need to spend the duration of the treatment at the actual rehab facility. The patient instead is allowed to live at their residence and simply follow the scheduled therapy sessions given.

In outpatient rehab, patients are typically required to visit a rehab facility, hospital, mental health clinic, or behavioral counselor regularly following a schedule. The sessions are usually spread out during specific hours and days of the week. Many find outpatient rehab programs to be quite convenient, as some offer evening and weekend sessions, making it easier for patients to balance their treatment schedule with family time or professional responsibilities.

Outpatient rehab does not stick to one general treatment program for all patients but instead provides patients with the appropriate treatment based on many factors including substance abuse severity, length of use, personal strengths, and treatment goals.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab: What’s the Difference?

As the individual names of these two treatment types might suggest, the main difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab is where the rehabilitation is done. Examine the contrast of inpatient vs outpatient rehab below:

Inpatient rehab necessarily needs to be done within the confines of the rehabilitation facility for several reasons, including the fact that many who undergo medical detox could need emergency medical care at some point. This is particularly true in the case of those who develop a complication while undergoing withdrawal.

Apart from the physical effects felt during withdrawal, certain mental and behavioral effects could also be factors in determining if inpatient or outpatient rehab would be best suited. Some patients exhibit specific behavior that could require inpatient rehab during withdrawal, as they could be irritable to the point of being belligerent, while others display the tendency to do self-harm or even attempt suicide, in which case monitoring and a ready medical staff could be required.

Inpatient therapy sessions tend to be a bit more focused and intensive compared to outpatient therapy sessions. This is because most, if not all, of the aberrant behavior that comes with withdrawal will come out soon after medical detox, and these things need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Patients who are already in outpatient rehab are typically those who have had the behavioral and mental concerns associated with withdrawal already addressed and are currently in the process of developing the coping skills and mindset needed to maintain a sober lifestyle.

Patients who are in inpatient rehab tend to be isolated from those who are not deemed as necessary to their recovery process, as they could still be in a very vulnerable state following medical detox. Most patients in inpatient rehab might not even have the proper mental and emotional state to socialize with friends or family, as the ordeal the patient went through could make them highly sensitive and impressionable.

Those in outpatient rehab, however, are allowed to freely socialize once their therapy sessions are done. They are allowed to live with their family once more and see friends, schoolmates, or workmates again since the goal is to help the patient transition back into a life free of therapy and temptations to get into substance once more.

What are the Benefits of Inpatient Care?

Inpatient rehab is a necessary component of the recovery process as for most it is the next phase following medical detox. All aspects of inpatient rehab are designed to help the patient along the path of recovery and also to prepare the patient for whatever treatment form is recommended by the therapist to follow.

The benefits of inpatient rehab include:

Medical detox and rehabilitation could be jarring experiences for someone going through these procedures for the first time. This is why a highly structured process could help the patient get better acclimated to what happens during rehab. It is not uncommon for patients going through rehab to be quite confused with what is happening, which makes the regimented schedule of inpatient rehab very helpful in establishing a routine.

Once the patient gets a feel of how things work and which procedure follows the other, a sense of familiarity is established, and this gives the patient a feeling of security.

Patients who have gone through the arduous process of medical detox often find themselves exhausted, stressed out, and in dire need of support. Inpatient rehab offers constant support to those undergoing it, courtesy of the clinic staff who monitor the patients around the clock.

In many cases, the patient does not even need to ask for help as members of the clinic staff can recognize the signs when a patient is particularly distressed and could require support soon. This minimizes the chances of a patient suffering from the serious effects of withdrawal and possible complications.

Inpatient programs take into account that individual patients could have very different needs during rehabilitation. As such, programs could be tailored to the patient, allowing for a treatment that will target what needs to be targeted while considering the things that could be particularly distressing or difficult for the patient.

A tailored treatment program could also make the entire process faster and more efficient by addressing what truly needs to be addressed, instead of including particulars that might even be necessary at all.

Inhouse rehab programs typically make use of diverse elements during treatment to address the patient’s journey to recovery, consider the physical well-being of the patient during treatment, and ensure the patient’s lasting recovery.

These diverse elements are integrated into a comprehensive approach so that each element becomes a complement to the previous one, building upon the success of what had been done before, and giving the patient the impression that each element is relevant to the other, forming a cohesive whole. This is important because when the patient gains a better understanding of the entire program, they are motivated to work towards the goals of the program.

What are the Benefits of Outpatient Care?

Opposed to inpatient care, outpatient care is designed to provide specific benefits for patients to whom this treatment form is most appropriate. These benefits are largely different from that of inpatient because outpatient rehab is more focused on ensuring that whatever gains and successes a patient gets from any prior treatment, it is built on and strengthened so that chances of a relapse are kept to a minimum. The benefits of outpatient rehab include:

Outpatient care is designed to be a versatile form of treatment, as it should allow the patient to continue with therapy even as they live outside of the premises of the treatment facility and go about their daily lives.

This versatility, however, is hinged upon an evaluation that the outside environment that the patient is exposed to, particularly where they go home, is not an environment that would be detrimental to someone who is recovering from a heavy substance dependency.

Most people hold the trust, belief, and opinion of their loved ones in high regard. Outpatient rehab allows patients to capitalize on that kind of support to help them through any particular difficulty they might encounter during rehabilitation.

Outpatient rehab is the transition period from being in rehab to being free to live a normal life. The people that the patient looks to for support play an essential role in ensuring that the patient does not get tempted back into bad habits, as this transition period could still be fraught with vulnerabilities for the patient.

An outpatient rehab program necessarily prepares the patient for life outside of the rehab facility. This means empowering the patient to go back to school, work, or whatever else they were doing just before the interruption of substance abuse. This is why the program normally integrates practical sessions where patients get to learn new skills that they could use in real life.

Compared to inpatient care, outpatient rehab is far more affordable, as the patient does not need to pay for whatever expense comes with staying inside the rehab facility. The most obvious cost-effective benefit of outpatient is that the patient gets to sleep in their residence. Outpatient programs were designed to take into consideration that the patient might not have been able to earn while in recovery.

This is why many insurance providers offer outpatient care coverage, as patients in outpatient rehab are working hard to become productive members of society once more.

Eagle Creek Can Help You Find the Treatment that is Best for You

Whether you enter a treatment center for outpatient services, inpatient services, or a combination of the two, you are guaranteed to receive the type of care that is more suited to your needs. Learn more about our inpatient vs outpatient rehab programs. Take your first steps toward freedom by contacting our admissions team today.