Outpatient  vs.  Inpatient

Substance Abuse Treatment

“Most people, when asked about addiction rehab, will envision

the individual going to a secret place where they “get cured.”


THE TRUTH is most addiction treatment occurs in outpatient settings, in the patient’s home community.  These settings vary from evening programs to day treatment and provide all the clinical components of inpatient care, while still allowing the patient to return home each night to their family.  Multiple studies have proven that outpatient addiction treatment is at least as effective as inpatient. 1,2,3,4,5

While some patients require hospitalization, that hospitalization may include just a few days of stabilization.  Each individual presents with different conditions and treatment needs.  The assessment process, therefore, is of utmost importance.  Hill Alcohol and Drug Treatment facility provides comprehensive patient evaluations for $75 (unless covered by insurance).  Choosing the right treatment setting, or combination of settings, is paramount to a successful outcome.  There is no one type that fits all! Studies have attempted to determine which treatment setting has greater success.  The results show that the setting is less of a factor for success than are patient attitudes, family involvement, length of treatment and the patient’s accessibility to ongoing treatment services.

1 Cummings, Nicholas A.

2 Miller and Hester – (1986)

3 McLellan, Thomas – (2004)

4 Gregaire – (2000)

5 UCLA – Burdon, Dane (2008)

  • Outpatient treatment is typically a quarter of the cost of inpatient treatment.
  • Successful outcomes are enhanced by the relationships that the patients make with local individuals in recovery. These “recovery connections” serve to help displace their “drug connections,” as the patient begins to gain a sense of hope that life can be exciting and fulfilling. 
  • Outpatient treatment, in real time with real stressors, offers a seamless connection, with the same people and systems, throughout the various levels of care involved in the treatment process.
  • For some people, especially those discontinuing use of drugs like Xanax, a hospital setting can be important, but, eventually these patients will stabilize and need to return home to continue the lengthy detox process. In these cases, good inpatient programs will work together with the patient’s local outpatient program, to assist the patient’s transition through an often very long withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal period.
  • With pain pills and Heroin, a new medication makes outpatient treatment viable, and tremendously effective.  It has been specifically developed to make opiate treatment available on an outpatient basis.  With this new medication, successful outcomes have gone from 10% to 80%.

Providing Outpatient Care for Adults and Adolescents

The inevitable cravings that will be experienced, often the catalyst to a relapse, are related to environmentally conditioned cues associated with drug use.  The only way to de-condition these cues is to experience them, while not reinforcing them by returning to alcohol or drug use.  With ongoing support, from the outpatient program and local “recovery connections,” patients can, incrementally, de-condition these cues and become free of the cravings.

If their “recovery connections” are in a distant community, instead of their home community,  this de-conditioning process is blunted and they are very likely to lose interest, make excuses and, eventually, relapse.  While easy access to their “recovery connections” does not insure abstinence, it greatly enhances the individual’s opportunity to remain in recovery and substance-free.

Conversely, if a patient does relapse, while in the extended outpatient program, they have their “recovery connections” for reconnection. Their new found hopes and dreams of a clean sober life can be reclaimed and their recovery resumed.

Lastly, because the patient is in their home community, for treatment, the family members can engage in the treatment, from the outset, thus, getting help for themselves and their feelings of anger, guilt, shame and fear.

This inclusion helps the family, who has, by necessity, had to adapt to the addict’s dysfunctional behaviors.  When the whole family gets well, the chances for successful outcomes increase exponentially.

The bottom line is that outpatient treatment, by necessity occurs in the patient’s home community.  Many family members believe that the answer for their loved one’s addiction is to separate them from their drug using peers.  The statistical reality is that recovery from addictive disorders happens over an extended period of time and includes healing brain chemistry, changing self-perceptions and gaining a sense of purpose.  These changes occur over many months, varying with individuals, type of substances, and longevity of use.  Few families can afford to send their loved ones off to a beach side program for six months to a year.  The simple truth is that change doesn’t happen in a geographic place, it happens within the individual alcohol or addict.  Most importantly, the recovery needs to be credible, accessible and affordable.


Optimal levels of care offer optimal results.

 TODAY is always the best day to recover!

  • Providing addiction treatment in the Temecula Valley for twenty-four years


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