Outpatient or Inpatient? Which Recovery Program is Right for You?

Home / Outpatient or Inpatient? Which Recovery Program is Right for You?

When dealing with addiction, entering an accredited, high-quality treatment program is more effective than trying to go it alone. Treatment programs provide medical and therapeutic professionals to help heal the body, mind, and spirit. Residential (inpatient) treatment typically involves a 30, 60, or 90-day stay at a facility, while outpatient treatment allows the client to live at home and commute to daily treatment sessions.

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment are viable and effective separately and when used in conjunction (outpatient treatment following an inpatient stay). Depending on an individual’s financial situation, home environment, or work situation, they may be drawn more strongly toward one or the other.

Advantages of Residential Treatment

Let’s say an individual did their research and found the best recovery center for their personal needs and situation. A high-quality inpatient program usually offers:

  • 24/7 supervision to guide and monitor clients
  • Access to medical care and supervision while going through alcohol or substance withdrawal
  • Intensive therapy, both individual and group, led by master’s-level clinicians
  • Access to nutritious foods, exercise, meditation and wellness programs
  • The opportunity to involve friends and family in therapy
  • Access to life-skills and reintegration tools following recovery

Residential treatment is usually recommended for those who have more severe addiction, a difficult home environment, a co-occurring mental health disorder, or any other life circumstance that would make it hard for them to maintain sobriety while living at home.

In the case of opioids and other narcotics, most people require inpatient treatment. The same is true of severe cases of alcohol abuse. A medical detox program can help these individuals get through withdrawal safely and with minimal discomfort.

Outpatient Treatment Helps Secure Sobriety

IOPs, intensive outpatient programs, are an alternative to the 24-hour supervised residential path. It’s for people who don’t need intensive help with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders or those who don’t need to safely withdraw from substances under the care of a healthcare professional.

For those who have concerns about finances or childcare or who are unable to leave their career, outpatient treatment can be effective. The scientific and healthcare community recognizes the benefits of outpatient treatment programs, and studies show that their success rate is considerable.

Some of the many benefits of outpatient options include:

The IOP at St. Gregory Recovery Center in Des Moines

Our IOP focuses on the same points that science tells us work for people who want to regain control over their lives and kick bad habits for good:

  • Coping skills for recognizing and avoiding situations and people that trigger relapses
  • Addiction education: how addiction is created and enabled and how it can be overcome
  • Skills for self-expression, healthy communication, and life skills that are useful for personal growth as well as professional advancement
  • Education about the importance of community and sound support systems within families and beyond
  • Weekly meetings to help motivate clients to keep following their recovery plan
  • Judgment-free opportunities to socialize and network

An Integrated Approach and Long-term Strategizing

What we recommend is a two-part strategy that begins with residential treatment and continues with outpatient treatment.

What individuals reveal about themselves, their past, their traumas, and their hopes and goals in residential treatment can later be used to prop them up and increase their chances of success in programs like SMART recovery and other family and outpatient counseling options. If you have questions about which treatment option is right for you or a loved one, contact us today.

Researching Iowa addiction specialists? To learn more about programs offered at St. Gregory Recovery Center, call and speak with someone today, at (888) 778-5833.

Our graduates tell their stories…

When first arriving at St. Gregory I had mixed feelings about the health and wellness workouts. I came in at 136 lbs and didn’t think it was possible to reach...
- Chris
The good life is not merely a life free from addictions, physical and/or psychological—addictions that usually are the outward manifestations of deeper problems—but a life lived in harmonious balance, free...
- Matt
I came to St. Gregory’s at my all-time worst—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having gone through a bad rehab experience once before, I had been very reluctant in succumbing to that...
- CJ
No matter where I start my thought process when reflecting upon my time before, during and after St. Gregory’s, I always seem to end up in the same place in...
- Kaele


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