Do I Need Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment for Addiction?

Addiction can be incredibly difficult to manage on your own, which is why so many afflicted individuals seek professional help from counsellors at rehab facilities. Whether someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs, there are specialized treatments available to help a struggling addict free themselves from their habits and teach them how to move forward without fearing their temptations. Typically, an individual that is addicted to either drugs or alcohol will require inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation services. While both services strive to provide addicts with efficient care, they boast unique benefits. Before choosing rehab services for you or your loved one, it is important for you to understand the difference between inpatient or outpatient services – this article will clarify the differences between treatment plans.


Inpatient Rehabilitation Services


Safe & Secure Environment

Inpatient rehab services require an individual, addicted to drugs or alcohol, to check into a safe and secure environment to ensure they are monitored throughout the rehab process. Inpatient services include around the clock assistance and supervision, which grants all patients the ability to seek emotional support and medical care if needed.


One of the most important things to understand before checking into rehab is that preparation is paramount to a stress-free and successful treatment. You may need to schedule a date that you intend to check-in for inpatient services. Therefore, it’s recommended that you make the necessary arrangements beforehand. Some preparatory measures to follow through with include:

  • Speak to your employer about the time you will end up missing – if you feel uncomfortable discussing your addiction with a direct manager, you could engage your HR department or union representative. You could tell them you will be seeking help regarding a serious health concern, but be prepared to give specific answers if they require them
  • If you have young children at home, decide with family members or close friends to ensure they are looked after while you’re getting treatment for your addiction
  • Ensure that you have a means of transportation to and from the rehab facility
    • Some inpatient treatment centres, like Aurora, have a transportation service
  • Seek a list of what personal items are acceptable inside the rehab facility


Family support

Rehabilitation from drugs or alcohol is as much as a familial journey as it is a personal one. Those seeking inpatient services will have opportunities to communicate with their family members for assistance and encouragement through the duration of the rehab process.

Removal of environmental distractions

Inpatient services allow for a struggling individual to focus on their recovery, removing all distractions and peer pressure. Group sessions and personal therapy/psychological are arranged for inpatients, and the duration of an inpatient’s stay is generally anywhere between 1-3 months, with the average being 45 days.

Safe detox process

Medically induced detox is monitored by health professionals to ensure the inpatient’s vital signs remain steady as the drugs exit from their system. Addiction can modify brain chemistry to the point where it has physiological and physical consequences. Therefore, inpatients are provided with medical supervision throughout all stages of the recovery process to prevent emergencies and reduce the risk of relapsing.

Outpatient Rehabilitation Services

Longer care and less intensive

Outpatient treatment plans are not as stringent as inpatient services and generally require a person suffering from addiction to visit a rehab facility for 9-13 hours a week. The time spent at the rehab facility will focus on educating struggling addicts on how to deal with their abstinence from drugs & alcohol, and how to take care of themselves when going through withdrawals. Outpatient treatment plans are ideal for individuals with a moderate addiction and can typically be beneficial to them anywhere between 3 – 12 months. Due to the less intense nature of outpatient programs, they usually take longer to be effective.

Keep your routine

Outpatient drug and alcohol treatments permit individuals seeking rehabilitation to stay at home throughout the process. Outpatients will not be monitored by medical professionals around the clock and can continue working, as well as spending time with friends and family. Meetings for outpatients usually take place early in the morning (before the standard workday commences) or late at night (after the standard workday ends) to refrain from complicating their everyday schedules. Should a recovering addict work midnight shifts, or operate on a different schedule, accommodations can be made to ensure they receive adequate help.


Reinforce sobriety with public addiction services

We commonly recommend that outpatients couple rehab services with another public service such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Research indicates that support groups like NA or AA serve a tremendous benefit to addicts as it allows them to connect with others’ similar stories and provides them with a place to reinforce their sobriety.

Outpatient services are typically cheaper compared to inpatient treatments due to the fact these services are provided 24 hours a day. While cost is very important, it should not be the first or only thing to consider when choosing between inpatient and outpatient treatments. Long-term health is the most important aspect to consider; and, if finances are an issue, financing payment plans are available.


The first step to recovery is accepting your condition. Seeking help, whether it be through inpatient or outpatient treatments, is an excellent step in taking back your life. Aurora Recovery Centre offers both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment services. Our inpatient program is run out of our world-class facility in Gimli, and our outpatient services are located in Winnipeg. Whether you are ready to seek help now or if you still have questions, our Addiction Specialists are available 24/7 to go through the intake process or help answer all your questions.