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Outpatient Or Inpatient Drug Treatment: Which One To Choose?

Aug 19, 2008
When you are deciding between inpatient and outpatient drug treatment methods, definitely one question in your mind would be about which one of these you must select. Outpatient drug treatment programs were considered to be very mild forms of treatment until lately, and most of them still are, but then there are programs such as the intensive outpatient treatment program and the day program which are almost akin to a rehab. The only difference in some of these programs and the inpatient programs is that the patient does not stay in the facility. The medications used, the modes of treatment, and even the aftercare is almost similar.

Outpatient methods today are capable of treating people with mild to moderate forms of addiction too, while people who are from moderate to severe levels of addiction will be preferably treated with an inpatient method. Naturally then, people who have moderate addiction levels will think what they must select between inpatient and outpatient. Knowing how these programs work will be a good guide to make the choice. Here are some points that you must consider.

1. The very first thing you must bear in mind is the obvious shortcoming of the outpatient drug treatment program: you will not get complete medical attention here. So, your primary consideration should be whether you will want personal care or not. This will depend on many factors. Mostly it will depend on the level of addiction you are in. If you are addicted to the substance since a very long time, or if you have been using a higher amount of the substance than normally abusers would do, then you must know that your withdrawal will be quite heavy too. In that case, you will need complete medical attention to help you come out of the withdrawal. Here, an inpatient treatment program would be an obvious choice because it can provide you complete supervision with medical help.

2. What is your general body condition? Are you fit to go through the treatment? If you have a condition such as hypertension or diabetes, then it would not be a good idea to go through an outpatient mode of treatment for various reasons. Firstly, your body will not be able to go through the withdrawal with the coexisting condition. There might be complications because several of the drugs that are used during the detox programs can interfere with the medications that are used for chronic health conditions. If that happens, it is advisable to have complete medical care and attention to look into the details. Again, this is a situation in which an inpatient program would be wiser to get yourself enrolled in.

3. Your mental condition is another important indicator. People who enter into outpatient modes of treatment are expected to have a very stable mind so that they can remain determined about the addiction treatment program. It is necessary that they supervise themselves when they are all by themselves, because medical care is not 24/7. For that reason, people with a weak mental stability must not go in for the outpatient treatment programs. They will not be able to self-supervise.

On the other hand, the inpatient programs usually have dual diagnosis approaches that could be used in such conditions. These approaches are ideal for people who have an addiction complicated with a coexisting condition such as a health problem or a psychiatric problem. Here both problems that they are facing are treated simultaneously. These are definitely advantageous methods of treatment for such people. See if you will need such an option.

4. If you have been through a detox treatment program already, then you can very easily and suitably take on an outpatient mode of aftercare. These are best for aftercare actually. What the outpatient aftercare will do is, they will provide you with a maintenance medication that will help keep you out of the addiction. These maintenance medications, such as buprenorphine for heroin treatment, will help in reducing the urge that a person gets for the substance. As a result, the person finds it easier to stay out of the addiction. Additionally, the programs will also provide with very elaborate counseling for helping you out of your emotional wrangles that might be keeping you with the addiction. They will also have family counseling programs in some cases that will make it easier for your families to understand your condition and will become better supports for you during your treatment.

Hence, whether you are choosing an outpatient or an inpatient treatment program will depend on your own condition as well as the nature of your addiction. You might want to seek the counsel of an intervention specialist to know better which program would be suitable for your condition.
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