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Pros and Cons of Inpatient Treatment for Addiction

Some people need more help than others overcoming their addiction to drugs or alcohol and they need to reasonably be able to trust that they will receive the best treatment outcomes from the beginning.

In the following we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons of inpatient treatment for addiction and while there are many benefits that an inpatient treatment for addiction can provide, at the same time, it may not be appropriate for everyone.

Duration of Treatment

inpatient treatment for substance abuse

Inpatient treatment usually lasts as least a month.

PROS: Durations of inpatient treatment for addiction are generally not less than 28 days and an extended stay can last up to 2 years or more. This give the person time in an enforced substance-free facility away from the temptations of use and the problematic factors they would find in an outside environment. According to the NIDA,” Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical.” For those who have difficulty in compliance and remaining abstinent in outpatient program treatments, the durations of inpatient treatment for addiction can be more promising.

As their days are structurally managed to promote recovery and healing throughout the treatment process, the duration can have a lasting impact on their ability to manage their lives in similar, healthy, ways once they leave.

CONS: Enrolling in an inpatient treatment for addiction essentially, postpones the activities that one can perform in ways of employment, school, family, or social obligations. If the person is the primary caretaker or earner in the household, it may not be feasible for them to be absent for so long. On the other hand, the costs versus the benefits and alternative options must be fully considered.

Inpatient Detox

PROS: Detox is the initial phase of recovery and by itself, is insufficient to keep the person from relapsing without formal treatment for the addiction. A detox in an inpatient treatment for addiction promotes a higher degree of treatment engagement with earlier interventions in the unique needs of the individual rather than delaying these services until the patient is transferred to another program which may or may not be in the same facility.

Around the clock care for the symptoms of withdrawal with counseling, support, and the initial therapeutic encounter with staff are essential components of an inpatient detox that can mean all the difference between the person’s confidence and hope as they build on these relationships throughout the rehab process.

CONS: With the advancements in science, healthcare, and substance abuse treatment strategies, there are many outpatient detox services that may be more suitable to the person who has a supportive living environment where they can safely detox in a less restrictive atmosphere.

Like inpatient detox, an outpatient detox may provide medications to alleviate withdrawals and cravings for illicit substances and allow the person to remain actively involved in productive activities without having to commit to an ongoing absence during or afterwards.

Intensive Care

PROS: Inpatient treatment for addiction avails the person of access to resources around the clock. Although the level of medical, psychiatric, and other resources may vary by facility, special care services commonly provided include specialized treatments for co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions or other needs that may complicate or limit the progress of treatments elsewhere.

According to the mental health findings of the SAMHSA’s 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:

  • “In 2012, 3.6 percent of all adults aged 18 or older (8.4 million adults) had co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder.”
  • “In 2012, 1.1 percent of all adults aged 18 or older (2.6 million adults) had co-occurring SMI (serious mental illness) and substance use disorder.”
  • “In 2012, 1.4 percent (3.3 million) of all adults aged 18 or older in the United States had both substance dependence or abuse and MDE (major depressive episode) in the past year.”
  • “In 2012, among adults aged 18 or older who had substance dependence or abuse in the past year, 2.6 million (12.6 percent) had serious thoughts of suicide, 0.8 million (3.9 percent) made suicide plans, and 0.5 million (2.3 percent) attempted suicide in the past year.”

Intensified counseling and special services for pregnancy, domestic violence, or unsafe conditions and lack of support system in an external atmosphere can also be more effectively delivered in an inpatient treatment for addiction where immediate access to counselors and professionals may be required.

CONS: According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Patients should be treated in those settings that least interfere with their civil rights and freedom to participate in society.” Some people are able to overcome their physical and psychological dependence to substances more readily and easily than others, which can lead to the delivery of unnecessary services and the possibly of negative responses which are contraindicated in treatment care.

Since the costs of inpatient care is usually higher than outpatient services, placement criteria for the right type of treatment setting is crucial from the beginning.

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