man with opiate addiction
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Unfortunately, to date there’s been no singular cause found that’s directly and solely responsible for addiction; instead, the contemporary consensus is that addiction—a complex, deadly disease that’s highly individual and varies from person to person—is caused by some mixture of genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. And just like no two cases of addiction occur due to the same factors when it comes to finding a treatment for drug and alcohol addiction there’s no one-size-fits-all program that will work best for everyone.

According to a survey conducted in 2007, there were 23.2 million US citizens aged 12 years or more who suffered from addiction and required treatment, but only 2.4 million of those individuals actually received treatment from a treatment facility for drug and alcohol addiction; this means that 8.4 percent of the American population who were 12 years of age and higher needed treatment for addiction and did not receive it. This is likely because these individuals either don’t have access to treatment, to information about how to recover or they don’t seek treatment due to being unable to pay for it.
Individuals seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction will find that there are two key types of rehabilitation programs: Inpatient and outpatient. While each has its own merits, one form of treatment will work better for some than it would for others, which is why it’s important for those who suffer from addiction to learning about each type of treatment in order to identify which can best meet their individual needs. Here are the key differences and benefits of inpatient and outpatient treatment as well as why an individual might choose one over the other.

Inpatient Programs for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

outpatient drug treatment

Inpatient programs for drug and alcohol addiction are the most intensive type of treatment and has the highest rate of success for several reasons. At the beginning of an inpatient program for addiction treatment, individuals often go through a detox period, during which time either the dosage of their substance of choice is incrementally decreased to the point of ceasing administration or, as is more common, their intake of the substance is ceased immediately. This cleansing is supervised in a clinical setting so that the individual’s vitals can be monitored to ensure that withdrawal symptoms don’t become so intense that they’re life-threatening. Though withdrawal symptoms are only life-threatening in the most severe cases of addiction, this monitored detox period ensures that the individual doesn’t return to substance abuse, which is how addicts keep the pain and discomfort of withdrawal at bay.

After the detoxification period, inpatient programs for drug and alcohol addiction begin to educate individuals about the disease of addiction and help them to learn a variety of skills and tools that will be vital to maintaining their recovery. Since inpatient programs require individuals to live in the facility for a period of at least 28 days and up to 90 days, treatment takes place over several hours each day of the program. One of the primary strengths of inpatient programs is the variety of treatment offerings they provide to individuals such as individual counseling, group treatment, skills building, and so on. The individual counseling is particularly helpful as individuals are guided by a professional through the identification of potential triggers for substance abuse as well as attempting to identify the root cause for the addiction. Inpatient programs also allow individuals to foster a sense of community by forming supportive relationships with other individuals in recovery, which provides an early support network at a time when individuals might be feeling things like guilt or loneliness.

Even though inpatient programs have shown to be the most effective, they’re not the best solution for everyone suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Some of the greatest strengths of an inpatient program include the round-the-clock care that patients receive—ideal for long-term substance abusers—as well as the intensive daily treatment, a safe and stable environment for individuals to separate themselves from enabling circumstances, and the possibility of using safer replacement drugs such as methadone for treatment of opiate addiction in a supervised setting. Some facilities have more affordable and flexible payment options, sometimes even accepting personal or government health plans, but being unable to afford treatment is one of the main reasons why individuals suffering from drug and alcohol addiction choose not to participate in an inpatient program. Additionally, individuals with jobs or familial obligations such as being a parent or caretaker may be unable to live in a facility for the duration of their treatment.

Outpatient Programs for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

inpatient drug treatment

Unlike inpatient programs that require the individual to live within the facility for the duration of their treatment, outpatient programs allow the individual to live at home while commuting to the facility for regular treatment. Depending on the intensity or type of outpatient program, treatment offered in an outpatient program tends to be much the same as that offered by inpatient programs, but is much less intense. Outpatient programs tend to be much more flexible in terms of schedule, allowing individuals with a job or familial obligations to work treatment around their other responsibilities.

Some have suggested that outpatient programs provide a more realistic view of recovery by having individuals receive rehabilitative treatment while continuing to live in the real world. Inpatient programs are designed to sever addicts’ access to alcohol and drugs, making it virtually impossible to relapse; in an outpatient program, since an individual’s circumstances remain the same they must remain in control and resist the temptation to their drug of choice. Although this is the reason that inpatient programs are more effective than outpatient programs, this makes the adjustment to post-treatment maintenance much easier because the individual has already learned how to live in the world as a sober person while completing the outpatient treatment program.

There are some facilities that have attempted to bridge the gap between the efficacy of inpatient programs and the flexibility of outpatient programs by offering a form of outpatient program called day treatment. This type of treatment allows individuals to live in their own home while participating in an intensive outpatient treatment program over several hours between three and five days each week. Day treatment and other forms of outpatient programs tend to be significantly less expensive than inpatient programs, which is another reason why they’re frequently preferred. Facilities that accept health plans make outpatient programs even more affordable for individuals who would otherwise forego treatment for budgetary reasons.

While there are certainly merits for each type of treatment, some individuals will benefit more from an inpatient program while other individuals suffering from drug or alcohol addiction—especially those who have a job, children, or other responsibilities—might only be able to participate in an outpatient program. If you or someone you love suffers from drug or alcohol addiction, contact Sound Recovery Solutions today. 

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