Weighing the Comparative Benefits of Inpatient and Outpatient Programs for Opioid Treatment

Opioid addiction takes a lot of work and dedication to overcome. If you recognize that you need help but don’t know where to get started, you may have a lot of questions running through your mind. What kind of treatment do you need? Will it be unpleasant? How will your family respond? Uncertainty can lead to fear, so getting the answers you need to make an informed decision about your recovery is an important step to facing fears associated with asking for help.

There are both inpatient and outpatient programs for opioid treatment. It is a good idea to set up a consultation with a doctor to understand which treatment program is right for you. 

Inpatient Programs

Inpatient treatment involves being checked in to a facility and staying there for the duration of the program. An inpatient program is particularly helpful for those whose recovery involves a significant amount of detox, as it can have drastic effects on the body. It is often the recommendation for chronic relapsers. Being in a facility where doctors can monitor your progress and respond quickly if something happens maybe the best thing for jump-starting your recovery. 

Your daily schedule may vary slightly depending on the facility, but most programs have a few things in common. You are provided with three meals a day in a group setting. In addition to your private therapy sessions, you also benefit from group sessions. These groups may be formed based on the type of addiction, age range, or specific trauma experienced by their members. The person in charge of your treatment can help decide which group would be most beneficial to your recovery process. Many programs also include a 12-step meeting to attend on at least a daily basis. The daily schedule is designed to promote a stable structure that is conducive to overcoming your addiction.

Another benefit of the consistent daily schedule in an inpatient program is that it teaches you the discipline you will need to resist the draw of opioid use. An inpatient program removes you temporarily from the temptations of triggers so that you can see how a life without them can look. A trigger can be a person whom you associate with your drug use or it can be the availability of the drug itself. A treatment facility gives you a safe place to isolate yourself from the things that trigger addictive behaviors. 

You are not completely isolated, though. In addition to the new people you can meet in your support groups, approved friends and family members may have the opportunity to visit you during your stay. There are usually specific visiting hours, and the facility will ask your guests to adhere to those restrictions. Seeing your loved ones can help you maintain your connection to the outside world into which you will be returning when your program ends.

Outpatient Programs

For those who are seeking help during the early phases of their addiction, an outpatient treatment program may be a better option. Outpatient help tends to work well for those who are highly motivated to quell their addiction and have a strong support system to back them up. It allows you to continue to benefit from your supportive home environment while still getting the professional help you need to overcome your addiction successfully.

One of the main features of most outpatient programs is consistent therapy. The frequency of sessions varies from person to person, but all people with addictions can benefit from professional behavioral guidance. Counseling offers you the opportunity to work through your addiction, identifying the people and situations that tempt you to use. Once you have identified your triggers, your therapist can help you formulate a plan for avoiding them. Your plan doesn’t just stop at avoiding bad habits, though. Counseling services can also serve to teach you how to build healthier habits to replace them. You may receive education on good nutrition, exercise, and appropriate stress relief methods. 

The people who are meant to support you may actually be involved in your therapy process. Many doctors recognize the value of incorporating those who play a significant role in your life into recovery. They can offer family therapy sessions to work through any related issues that may be blocking your path to recovery. If, for example, someone who lives in your home is the person who introduced you to opioid use, it will probably take more than your firm resolve to overcome your addiction successfully. Even if your family wants to help, that desire is often not enough on its own. Providing helpful support is not something that comes naturally to many people. Your family therapy sessions can help your support system learn how to turn their good intentions into behavior that actually help with your recovery. Finally, family therapy sessions can help your support system work through any hurt feelings or abuse they have suffered as a result of your addiction in order to repair and strengthen your relationships.

An outpatient program may also be a helpful transition from inpatient treatment. Continuing the therapy and education you started while staying in the facility can help ease you into real-life better.

Once you recognize you have an opioid addiction, the next step is seeking help. Addiction is not typically something you can overcome on your own. Finding the right treatment program, whether it be inpatient or outpatient, is the key to lasting recovery.

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