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The Differences: Intensive Outpatient & Outpatient for Addiction Treatment

When it comes to seeking out addiction treatment, there are different ways in which you can receive treatment. Some people check into a hospital or rehabilitation center to provide 24/7 care. Others stay at home while receiving treatment – instead attending sessions throughout the week.

Staying overnight in a hospital or rehabilitation center in order to receive treatment is known as ‘inpatient treatment’. This is typically ideal for those that need more intensive treatment or those who would prefer to get away from the triggers and influences of everyday life.

Staying at home while receiving treatment is meanwhile known as ‘outpatient treatment’. This is preferable for those who do not feel they need intensive therapy. It also offers the freedom to arrange treatment around commitments such as work, childcare or petcare.  

There are however other forms of treatment that can bridge the gap. ‘Intensive outpatient treatment’ is one example of this that could be worth exploring. 

What is the difference between ‘outpatient’ and ‘intensive outpatient’?

Regular outpatient treatment is typically very easy to fit around one’s everyday life. It involves attending a few therapy sessions each week while staying at home. If you have a mild addiction, you may find that this form of addiction treatment is well suited to you.

Intensive outpatient treatment similarly allows you to stay at home, but you will be expected to attend more sessions each week. It is much more similar to inpatient treatment in that you are more closely monitored and may take part in group therapy. Such treatment may require taking time off work.

Like regular outpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment is suitable for those with a mild addiction. However, it offers the opportunity to receive more thorough treatment so that there is a lower risk of relapse. 

For those that have a more serious addiction, inpatient treatment is typically better at getting results. However, intensive outpatient therapy or partial hospitalization may be recommended afterwards as a transitional form of treatment – this can help many people more easily adjust to being sober as opposed to going straight from rehab to everyday life.

Which type of treatment is better suited for me?

If you have a lot of commitments such as a job and family and you are unable to take a break, you may find that regular outpatient treatment is easier to fit within your schedule. These treatment programs are typically more flexible in order to reduce stress for you.

An intensive outpatient treatment program could be worthwhile if you’re able to take a break from work or if you currently have few commitments. You’ll be able to dedicate more time to therapy, which some people may find provides more focus in helping to overcome one’s addiction.

It could be worth seeking out advice from addiction treatment support professionals to help you decide which is the right form of treatment for you. Both forms of treatment can be very effective, but it ultimately depends on your lifestyle as to which one is more practical.

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