Comparing intensive outpatient (IOP) drug & alcohol treatment with that of residential or inpatient rehabs in terms of likelihood for success in recovery.


Comparing Inpatient and Outpatient Drug Rehab Centers and Programs

Can outpatient drug or alcohol treatment be an effective alternative to residential or inpatient rehab? The short answer is, yes and no…

Often times, the information taught in outpatient and inpatients treatment programs is quite similar.  People are introduced to the concepts of alcoholism and drug addiction as being a brain disease, how the brain’s chemistry changes with increased use, relapse prevention skills and also learn about 12-step programs and the importance of sponsorship and having a support system.

Someone early in recovery will most likely benefit more from an inpatient/residential addiction treatment program, especially if they happen to be dual-diagnosis.  There, they are in a safe environment, away from family, friends and places that may be triggers for them.  Inpatient programs also tend to offer greater family involvement as part of the healing process, as drug addiction is generally considered to be a family disease.

So what about those individuals who relapse time and time again?  In many cases, it happens to be that these patients are suffering from added mental health illnesses, also referred to as dual-diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Clients should most certainly be screened for co-occurring issues like, depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder and others.  If it has been determined that they have a co-occurring disorder, it is generally beneficial for these clients to enter into an residential recovery program, at least for the initial 30 or 60 days.  When one condition is treated and the other one is not, the relapse rate increases by over 80 percent! That’s an astounding figure.

Then on the other hand, there are people who have completed numerous treatment programs, of whom do not have a dual-diagnosis disorder, yet continue to slip in their recovery and find themselves relapsing time and again.  It seemingly doesn’t matter what type of inpatient or outpatient treatment regimen they may follow, and likewise, all the knowledge in the world cannot get or keep these individuals sober. Keep in mind, however, that if one doesn’t ultimately want to get and stay sober they are doomed to repeat such patterns.

Outpatient rehab programs are a great way to re-introduce life on the outside, especially following successful completion of residential treatment.  They help clients practice basic life skills.  These programs offer a slower introduction back into society, maintaining the support they built while in rehab. When coupled with a structured sober living environment, the odds for attaining quality, long-term recovery go up dramatically. In fact, there is a growing popularity of what is called “PHP” treatment, which is exactly that, structured sober living coupled with intensive outpatient treatment, and many have experienced improved success over traditional inpatient in lieu of that “real life” component that is generally not present within residential recovery settings.

As with most things in life, there isn’t just one cookie-cutter mold that fits all alcoholics and drug addicts.  Jobs, children, finances, health insurance, mental health matters etc. all need to be taken into account. Therefore each patient is best served by finding a path to sobriety that addresses their individual needs, both clinically and otherwise.

For more information inpatient or outpatient drug/alcohol treatment at Scottsdale Recovery Center, we are available for you 24/7 at 602.346.9142. For those with private PPO health insurance, we also offer a quick and convenient online verification of benefits form in order to speed up the intake process for those of whom are in need of immediate help.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 602-346-9142.

Get Help Now

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.