The Main Differences Between Residential Rehab and Outpatient Rehab

If you or someone you love is in need of treatment for addiction, making the decision between residential rehab and outpatient rehab can seem like a challenging task. You want to choose the best type of treatment but you don’t want to spend any more time away from your life, friends and family than is absolutely necessary in order for a full recovery to occur. So what do you do?

Understanding the primary differences between residential rehab and outpatient rehab can help you to decide which program of treatment will provide you with the best solution to your addiction. While the basis of both residential and outpatient rehab programs are much the same, they provide counseling and therapy as well as support and monitoring, the level of care provided at each type of treatment as well as the methods by which such care is provided differ quite greatly from one program to the next.

How Residential Rehab & Outpatient Rehab are Similar

recovery from addiction

With residential, inpatient rehab individuals live at the treatment center during treatment.

First, it’s easiest to look at the ways in which each of these programs is similar in nature. For instance, the following similarities are often found between both outpatient rehab and residential rehab:

  • Both provide counseling
  • Both provide therapy
  • Both offer support
  • Both provide patient monitoring
  • Both provide assessments
  • Both may provide medical intervention

How These Programs Differ

According to the Federal Trade Commission, residential treatment programs are often used as an alternative to incarceration for people who have been in trouble with the law as a result of their drug or alcohol use. These programs provide a less restrictive and invasive alternative to being incarcerated but they still provide the intended support and care necessary to facilitate recovery. Residential rehab and outpatient rehab programs differ in the following ways:

  • Residential rehab programs provide patient housing and meals.
  • Residential rehab programs provide around-the-clock care.
  • Residential rehab programs almost always offer patients medical intervention.
  • Residential rehab programs provide around-the-clock support and monitoring.
  • Outpatient rehab programs cannot provide around-the-clock support because patients do not reside at the treatment center.
  • Outpatient rehab programs are unable to offer immediate medical intervention to patients because they are not always at the facility being treated.

Which Program is Best?

Deciding which program is best for you requires a look at your addiction, your individual circumstances and the severity of your need for help. If you are mildly addicted, outpatient rehab can provide you with a foundation and a boost in the right direction to help with recovery. However, if you are heavily addicted, or if you suffer from co-occurring disorders, inpatient or residential rehab will be the ideal choice for you.