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Inpatient vs. Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

A young adult stands at a fork in the road to recovery. The question? Inpatient alcohol rehab or outpatient?
Step one was taken care of when you—or your loved one—decided to go to rehab. Now it’s time to find the best possible fit.


Let’s start off with a question: What is the one thing that all people who are addicted to alcohol have in common?

We know, there’s a lot to think about here. Take your time.

The answer is that they are all addicted to alcohol. That’s it. Truly. So how can there be one best solution for everyone? There isn’t.

Some people will do better at inpatient treatment. Others will thrive in an outpatient setting. And then, of course, there are the realities of life. Where do you get the time and the money?

The important thing is to find the rehab that works best for you—or your loved one. So let’s get started.

Outpatient Treatment for Alcoholism

For those perceptive enough to notice early the signs of addiction, outpatient treatment could be a good option.

For most programs, you’ll put in about 10 to 12 hours a week, often early in the morning or at night. This allows you to continue working or going to school. Because you’re not paying for room or board, these programs usually cost a lot less.

Outpatient programs also allow you to keep closely connected to friends or family which, depending on individual circumstances, can be either a good or a bad thing.

The last benefit is perhaps one of the most compelling. You’ll be able to practice the new skills you’re learning in rehab every day. That means you can adjust and practice your coping skills while still connected—on a daily basis—to experts who can help you in your journey.

Inpatient Treatment for Alcoholism

Inpatient treatment takes away a lot of uncertainty which, for many, is extremely helpful to their recovery. There’s no wondering how to spend your weekends, what friends to hang out with or even what to eat.

Best of all, you won’t have to drive by eight bars and two liquor stores on your way home from work.

There’s round-the-clock support if you need it. You’ll likely also find things like yoga classes, art therapy and—at the best places—meals prepared by chefs who specialize in a diet geared toward the needs of those in recovery.

While you’ll certainly meet new friends in outpatient treatment, it makes sense that you’ll probably bond a bit more quickly with people you’re sharing every meal with. Kind of like summer camp, but with nicer accommodations and less singing.

Making Your Decision

There are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to decide been impatient and outpatient treatment programs.

  • How severe is your alcohol use disorder? If you’re at the point where you’re experiencing strong physical withdrawal symptoms, starting the day with a drink or driving while under the influence, you’ll probably do better with the support and structure of inpatient treatment.
  • If you choose outpatient, who is likely to show up at your door at night? Will it be your dad, whom you love and respect, arriving with your favorite meal? Or will it be the ex-girlfriend you used to party with?
  • What’s your job like? Is it super stressful? Will you be able to leave early enough to make any therapy sessions you may have scheduled?
  • Have you relapsed before? If so, chances are you’ll benefit from the structure provided by inpatient treatment.
  • What is your financial position? If you’re on the fence about which treatment is best for you, then money might make your final decision. But if you feel like inpatient treatment is the right option for you, try not to let money be the bottom line. You may find insurance covers some of your costs and that your family is also able to help. You can also look into securing a drug rehabilitation loan. These generally offer affordable monthly payments and can extend as far as 84 months into the future.

Recovery at The Raleigh House

Once a person loses control over his or her alcohol consumption, they need help—which is a science-based reality, not a sign of weakness. The alcohol treatment program at The Raleigh House in Denver, Colorado, takes a whole-person approach to recovery, using therapy, nutrition, exercise, peer support and even community involvement. The goal isn’t just to be alcohol free. It’s to live a full and interesting life. Fill out our form or call today for more information on launching the next phase of your life.

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