Inpatient vs. Residential Treatment: What’s the Difference?

When looking for a suitable rehabilitation treatment program for yourself or a loved one, it is essential to have an understanding of the treatment programs available to you. There are various levels of services, which cater to different financial ranges and factors.

The ideal treatment program is also determined by the extent of your addiction or mental health condition. Different programs are most suitable for various levels of addiction, specific to the given patient and their unique treatment needs for multimodal care throughout the rehabilitation process.

For this reason, we seek to break down the general differences between the top two most effective recovery models – inpatient treatment and residential treatment. And although both are effective treatment options, each program is unique in its own way with regard to its design, as well as the benefits that accrue to its patients.

Both programs have an equal commitment to rehabilitate patients suffering from addiction and/or mental health disorders. Both programs are effective treatment options for patients who need medically-assisted detoxification services. Both are ideal for patients who have a higher risk of relapse; owing to negative influences and lacking a strong support system serve as an impediment for paving the path to long-term sobriety.

Suffice to say, residential treatment is the more intensive option and approach to addiction recovery. Given the risks involved, patients are provided with 24-hour medical care and supervision. As a patient, your treatment experience will be essential for your recovery outcome, considering your higher needs for round-the-clock care, direct access to medical professionals, specialized therapies, and more.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

Inpatient treatment puts more emphasis on medical intervention, the immediate crisis of detoxification and stabilization of the patient. Typically, inpatient programs are perceived to be a short-term treatment method, which works to correct the symptoms of addiction within a 1-3 month period of time, rather than addressing the underlying causes and issues.

Inpatient treatment settings may be accommodated in hospitals, while some operate as autonomous facilities. Despite this, most of these facilities tend to be closed up, disallowing patients from leaving the facility. Patients in an inpatient setting are exposed to a limited range of activities that can only be done within the confines of the unit.

On the other hand, some have some spaces reserved for the activities that are incorporated in the program, but in most cases engaging patients in these outdoor activities might not be a priority

Residential Treatment Programs

Generally, the cost of residential treatment tends to cost more than inpatient treatment, mostly because of the extra amenities provided. In residential treatment, the program extends its focus to multimodal interventions by working patients through various therapeutic processes, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to address the underlying causes of addiction. These programs also incorporate sub-acute detoxification for patients who are experiencing lingering and persistent cravings, but do not exhibit any withdrawal symptoms.

Thus, residential treatment programs relatively put more emphasis on long-term sobriety compared to inpatient treatment. This includes introducing and implementing more activities in the rehabilitation process that which are essential to recovery. Activities that help patients build and bond strong support teams, discover a sense of meaning and purpose, and other life skills essential for addiction recovery success.

Residential programs provide a more home-like environment with all levels of comfort that help facilitate a calm, inviting space of recovery. Furthermore, they tend to be more open to roam, and typically allows patients to leave facility grounds under the supervision of staff and/or family.

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