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What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?

Two of the most effective treatment options for substance abuse are inpatient and outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment involves staying at a facility full time, whereas outpatient treatment allows you to receive the treatment you need while continuing to fulfill your responsibilities outside of the facility.

It’s important that you select the right treatment option based on your situation and needs. For individuals with severe addiction who have never received addiction treatment before, inpatient treatment is likely the best option. For individuals who have already begun their road to recovery but still need help, outpatient treatment will likely be better suited for their needs.

Keep reading to learn more about inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, and how these two treatments differ from one another.

What Is Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment 

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment provide recovering addicts extensive medical resources so they can continue recovering on the road to sobriety. However, the extent of the treatment and where you stay while receiving the treatment results in two different treatment approaches.

Inpatient treatment is considered the most extensive addiction treatment option. It requires you to stay at the treatment facility 24/7. Because of this 24/7 approach to treatment, you will have constant access to nurses, medical care, and resources so you can begin your road to sobriety on the right foot.

Once you have already begun your sober living journey, you still need treatment, even when you move outside of the facility. With outpatient treatment, you can begin fulfilling some of your responsibilities as before, but you still receive extensive treatment for your addiction. As a result, individuals who undergo outpatient treatment can have jobs or be part-time students while receiving treatment.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment 

Inpatient and outpatient treatment both offer extensive drug addiction treatment. However, there are three main differences between these treatment options: housing, daily life, and connection to the outside world.


With inpatient services, you will be staying at your rehab facility full-time. Consequently, you will be living at the facility day and night to receive around-the-clock care. 

For outpatient services, the options are a bit more flexible. You are allowed to leave the facility. Some outpatient treatment services even allow you to go home at night to sleep in your own bed. 

Daily Life 

Your day-to-day life will differ based on which treatment option you select. For inpatient services, your day will be centered around treatment. With outpatient treatment flexibility, your days may be slightly different. You might have a part-time job, go to classes, or receive treatment. The specifics of your outpatient activities depend on your situation and facility.

Connection to the Outside World

The biggest difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment is your connection to the outside world. Although you will still be able to connect with your loved ones through inpatient treatment, you will be at the facility 24/7 and have a minimum connection as a result. With outpatient treatment, you will have greater access to the outside world since you can go home or fulfill other responsibilities.

Is Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment Right for Me? 

Whether inpatient or outpatient treatment is right for you ultimately depends on your lifestyle, goals, and journey on the road to sobriety. Inpatient treatment is best suited for individuals who have a severe addiction and need around-the-clock care, whereas outpatient treatment is better for individuals who need some flexibility.

If you need inpatient or outpatient treatment, contact Hillcrest Recovery today. Hillcrest Recovery can help you to determine if inpatient or outpatient treatment is right for you and help you get the care you need for your unique situation. 

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