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Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Table of Contents


Overview

If you have substance use disorder, your doctor may suggest treatment at an inpatient or outpatient facility. At inpatient facilities, you stay overnight. At outpatient facilities, you come only during the day. How long you stay varies among programs.

Inpatient and outpatient treatment programs both usually involve the 12-step program used by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Treatment may include group therapy, one-on-one counseling, drug and alcohol education, medical care, and family therapy.

Your doctor or counselor will help you decide whether you should have inpatient or outpatient treatment. The choice may depend on:

Inpatient treatment

Inpatient treatment may be part of a hospital program or found in special clinics. You'll sleep at the facility and get therapy in the day or evening.

Inpatient treatment may be a good option if:

You may stay for 1 to 6 weeks, depending on how your recovery is going. After inpatient treatment, you should go to outpatient treatment for more counseling and group therapy. Inpatient treatment also may be residential, which means you stay at the facility for months.

Outpatient treatment

Outpatient treatment happens in mental health clinics, counselors' offices, hospital clinics, or local health department offices. Unlike inpatient treatment, you don't stay overnight.

Outpatient programs can be a challenge because you may continue to face problems at work and home. But it will help you build the skills you need to handle everyday problems.

In standard outpatient treatment, you may have 1 or 2 group therapy sessions a week. Treatment may go on for a year or more. Sessions may be in the evening or on weekends so you can go to work.

Outpatient treatment may be a good option if:

For outpatient treatment to work well for you, it's important to go to your sessions regularly and also get other support, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Having support from loved ones, good transportation, and a stable place to live also are important.

Whether you get inpatient or outpatient treatment, it's important to stay committed to a drug-free or sober lifestyle. With treatment, you can make healthy changes and keep drugs or alcohol out of your life.

Questions to ask

When visiting a treatment center to see whether the program offered there meets your and your family member's needs, ask the following questions.


Credits for Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Current as of: February 11, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Peter Monti PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health


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