Most drug and alcohol treatment is either delivered in an inpatient or in an outpatient setting. Both types provide similar therapies, but will ultimately differ in the level of care they offer. Offering individual therapy, group therapy, and medication management, they involve varying amounts of clinical hours and supervision. Deciding whether to go for inpatient or outpatient treatment is an important decision, so it’s important you understand the differences between these two types of care. Ultimately, the decision will be based on your individual circumstances. 

Five Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Care

  1. Inpatient treatment usually involves the individual moving into a facility for between a month to even years.  
  2. Outpatient treatment allows the patient to continue living at home, but can include live-in support for a specified amount of time. 
  3. Inpatient treatment provides around-the-clock care, clinical oversight and support as well as structured days. 
  4. Outpatient packages can be bespoke. This means that treatment can be scheduled around a person’s existing schedule and responsibilities and can include a treatment plan individual to them. 
  5. Outpatient treatment is typically more affordable.

One of the main differences between inpatient and outpatient treatment is that inpatient care is fully residential, and patients stay at the clinic full time. Outpatient care involves living off-site usually at home, or in a sober-living house. 

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient care describes the treatment of substance use disorders and other co-occurring illnesses in a residential setting. If you choose to undergo a treatment programme at an inpatient facility you will stay there full-time. If needed, inpatient facilities often provide a medically supervised detox before treatment begins. Once you have completed inpatient treatment, you may be given the option to begin a more flexible care programme such as outpatient treatment. This will allow you to practice newfound recovery skills while still receiving support.

What Happens at an Inpatient Facility?

While inpatient programmes will vary depending on the rehab, most will offer similar features, including:

  • An average programme length is between 28 – 90 days
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • If deemed clinically necessary, medication management
  • Care for co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Recreational therapies such as creative writing, art therapy, equine therapy, to name a few
  • Participation in 12-step fellowships

Benefits of Inpatient Treatment

There are many benefits for an individual who goes to an inpatient treatment centre. Some benefits include:

  • Around-the-clock support and accountability
  • Comprehensive care for co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Removal from people, places, and situations that can trigger cravings in the early stages of recovery
  • A safe space to process deeper issues and/or traumas
  • Being surrounded by people who are focused on recovery 
  • Time to disconnect and focus on oneself 

Outpatient Treatment

During outpatient rehab, you are able to continue with your normal day-to-day activities. Outpatient treatment can be scheduled around your work hours to avoid interruption and offer you some flexibility while still providing a high standard of care.

What Happens during Outpatient Programmes?

Similar to inpatient treatment, outpatient programmes can differ depending on the company or facility providing the care services. Often you will be given the option of attending an inpatient programme and later continuing as an outpatient if doctors see fit. Most outpatient services include some or all of the following:

  • An average length of three months
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Referrals for medication management
  • Recreational therapies such as psychodrama, creative writing, art therapy, to name a few
  • If in a sober living setting: living and being around people who are focused on recovery 
  • Participation in 12-step fellowship meetings

Benefits of Outpatient Treatment

There are many benefits to outpatient treatment, particularly if it is following an inpatient programme. These include some of the following:

  • Flexible scheduling 
  • Ability to apply for or maintain a job whilst on the program
  • Reduced likelihood of needing to travel outside the local community to find services
  • Connection with people who are focused on recovery 
  • Help around life skills 
  • For those who are attending an outpatient after an inpatient programme, it can be a way to reintroduce everyday life without having to do it alone

What is Intensive Outpatient?

This is a line of treatment that involves attending a facility several days a week and often a few hours each day. Such a programme typically consists of group therapy, individual therapy, and occasionally they may offer employment assistance. Most programmes include random drug testing and typically last 90 days. 

Outpatient Addiction Treatment at CATCH

CATCH Recovery offers addiction treatment on both an outpatient basis in the South East of England. Our clinic in London offers face-to-face and virtual addiction assessments with one of our dedicated assessment specialists, for an in-depth review of your substance use history. This allows us to determine the level of care suited to your needs. If you require a higher level of care, our team will be happy to assist in referring you to one of our partner clinics. 

If you enrol in our outpatient programme, you can live at home and attend therapy sessions as an outpatient once or several times a week. This means you can stay close to your family, in some cases, you will be able to continue to be at work depending on the level of support you need. 

CATCH is located in the Central London area of South Kensington. If you need addiction treatment but don’t live in the South East of England, you may benefit from some of the virtual services we offer. If you require residential rehab we also provide referrals to our trusted partners in the UK and Ireland. 

If you’re looking for outpatient addiction treatment or advice on where to go next, you can call our admissions team for your free addiction screening, and they will be able to advise you on the next steps.