The Differences Between Residential Treatment And Intensive Outpatient

The Differences Between Residential Treatment And Intensive Outpatient

While addiction treatment can take many forms, perhaps the most meaningful distinction to be found is the distinction between residential and outpatient forms of addiction treatment. If a Marchman Act Petition is successful, a defendant may be court ordered to enroll in either of these treatment formats, depending on such factors as the severity of their illness, the availability of beds, and their family situation. 

Here is a little more information about these different forms of treatment, so that you can assess which one may be right for your loved one and know what to expect depending on which choice you, the courts, or your loved one’s treatment team ultimately end up making. 

What Is Residential Treatment?

Residential or inpatient addiction treatment is probably what most people think of when they imagine “rehab.” These closed facilities require patients to physically live inside the facility, and may be preceded by a period of acute detox (which will typically last for a period of around five to seven days) if it is deemed medically necessary for a physically dependent addict. 

This form of treatment is generally recommended for patients who are suffering from severe substance abuse problems, for whom less intensive forms of treatment have previously been unsuccessful, or who do not have strong support systems or family resources at home, meaning that the risk of relapse is high if they remain in that environment. Residential care may also be recommended for patients who present with violent or suicidal behavior that could constitute a risk if they remained in the community. 

Once a patient moves on from detox to residential treatment proper, they will likely stay for an average of around twenty eight days, with a higher end of sixty to ninety days or even longer for patients who present suffering from severe dependencies. Afterward, the patient may transition into an outpatient program or another less intensive form of treatment before moving on to an aftercare plan, which may still involve regular therapy and regular attendance at support group meetings. 

What Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment?

To be considered an intensive outpatient program, treatment typically involves the patient’s participation in treatment programs for around 8 hours a day on at least 3 days a week, making it an appropriate option for patients who have substance dependencies but who are not at acute physical or psychological risk due to their addiction.

Ideally, these patients should have a strong motivation to get sober and a supportive family environment they can safely reside in while undergoing this treatment. Intensive outpatient is also an attractive option for patients who need to continue to fulfill professional or personal obligations while also receiving intensive treatment for an addiction. 

Does My Loved One Need Residential or Intensive Outpatient Treatment For Their Addiction?

Which form of treatment would be most appropriate for your loved one is dependent on their individual needs, as both options have their own unique pros and cons. For instance, while residential treatment has the benefit of practically eliminating the risk of relapse, it is generally more expensive than outpatient programs, and some patients may find the environment so restrictive that they may forgo treatment entirely rather than endure such restrictive confinement. 

On the other hand, while intensive outpatient allows the patient more opportunity to give in to temptation, it provides the benefit of allowing patients to experience all the tension, responsibilities, and triggers of everyday life while still being supported by the guidance of their treatment program, which is why it is so valuable for patients who are transitioning out of a more restrictive treatment program like residential.

One “middle ground” option that allows many patients to strike a successful balance between freedom and supervision is to enroll in an intensive outpatient program while residing in a sober living residence. This way, they will be subject to more strictures than they would be if they were living on their own or in their family home, but will still be able to attend to obligations in the outside world and adapt to the reality of everyday life without substances. 

Traditional requirements in such sober living homes include the maintenance of a one hundred percent substance free living space, regular drug tests, regular attendance at all treatment program appointments, daily curfews, adherence to household guidelines, and/or daily attendance at the appropriate twelve step meeting (i. e. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous). 

For more information about the differences between these two forms of substance abuse treatment or how you can use the Marchman Act to help a loved one who is struggling with an addiction, feel free to call our helpline anytime at 833.995.1007 or to contact us online here. Our skilled intervention counselors can guide you through every step of the Marchman Act process, including finding an appropriate inpatient or outpatient facility that is suited to your loved one’s individual needs.