Inpatient vs Outpatient Detox: Weighing the Pros and Cons

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 48.7 million people struggled with addiction in 2022.[1]

Since addiction impacts so many people, it’s important to have a variety of addiction treatment options out there. While the first step in recovery is always detox, you can choose between an inpatient or outpatient program.

When deciding whether you want to participate in inpatient or outpatient detox, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Inpatient detox offers 24/7 care and monitoring, however, you are required to live in a facility away from your family, and treatment can get expensive. On the other hand, outpatient detox allows you to live in the comfort of your home while commuting to daily check-ins at the facility.

What are the Pros and Cons of Inpatient Detox?

Inpatient detox requires you to live at the facility while you undergo treatment. During inpatient detox, you will be monitored closely and consistently, receive medications to limit your withdrawal symptoms, and spend each day fully focused on recovery.

Pros

Inpatient detox is best suited for a person who needs 24/7 supervision during the withdrawal process. These programs offer housing, regular meals, and certain amenities to make detox easier for you.

The advantages of inpatient detox include:

  • Constant support and monitoring
  • Safe and supportive housing
  • Access to psychological support any time of day or night
  • Ability to check in with doctors whenever you need to
  • Highly structured days
  • Fewer distractions or triggers for relapse

Cons

While inpatient detox can be incredibly beneficial, there are some drawbacks to be aware of. For starters, you will not have access to family support, as the program requires you to live at the facility and only allows phone calls at certain times of the day. Additionally, residential detox programs can be expensive, and they aren’t always covered by every insurance plan.

The cons of inpatient detox include:

  • More expensive because the cost of food and housing is included
  • Unable to care for outside responsibilities during treatment
  • Limited access to your loved ones and support system
  • Most inpatient centers require you to have a roommate
  • Required to live inside an inpatient facility that could have a clinical feel
  • Shelters you from triggers that you could be learning to cope with early on

What are the Pros and Cons of Outpatient Detox?

Outpatient detox offers the same medical and psychiatric services as inpatient, however, you are allowed to live in your own home. Additionally, while you do not have 24/7 access to your doctors, you will have daily check-ins to track your progress, discuss any lingering withdrawal symptoms, and adjust your medications.

Pros

Outpatient detox programs are highly beneficial for people who would feel more safe and more comfortable continuing to live in their own homes. By allowing people to commute to daily treatment sessions, more freedom is allowed during the detox process.

The benefits of outpatient detox programs include:

  • Ability to live in your own home
  • Regular check-ins with doctors for progress tracking and medication adjustments
  • More flexibility and freedom in your scheduling to care for personal responsibilities
  • Ability to begin attending support groups and developing a recovery community
  • Access to your loved ones and support system during detox
  • Less expensive when compared to inpatient detox
  • More likely to be covered by your insurance
  • More one-on-one time with counselors, as outpatient groups tend to be smaller

Cons

While outpatient detox can be incredibly rewarding, it is not meant for everyone. If you have a hard time keeping yourself accountable and avoiding triggers, you might not be successful in an outpatient detox center.

The cons of outpatient detox include:

  • Less structure and more exposure to triggers
  • You must have your own supportive housing to reside in
  • Access to medical professionals might be limited to certain times of the day
  • Less amenities are offered during outpatient detox when compared to inpatient programs

If you feel like you will be tempted to relapse without 24/7 monitoring and support, outpatient detox might not be right for you. However, individuals who would benefit from living at home during detox should consider opting for an outpatient program.

Find Help Now

If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, it’s time to consider attending detox. While many people opt for inpatient programs, outpatient detox centers can offer you the support you need while maintaining your freedom and living in the comfort of your own home.

At Cobb Outpatient Detox, we pride ourselves on providing each client with the type of treatment they need. Our individualized treatment plans are designed to ensure that you receive the services that are suited to your specific situation and goals.

To learn more about our outpatient detox program outside of Atlanta, contact us today.

References:

  1. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): HHS, SAMHSA Release 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Data, Retrieved January 2024 From https://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/press-announcements/20231113/hhs-samhsa-release-2022-nsduh-data

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