Skip to content

Substance abuse disorders can range from mild to severe. As such, treatment can vary from outpatient to inpatient substance abuse treatment. Both forms of treatment have their pros and cons, and it is important for an individual to find the form of treatment that is the best fit for their situation.

Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment

Outpatient substance abuse treatment is the most common form of treatment. This type of treatment is available for clients with mild to moderate substance use disorders, depending on the type of substance abused and the severity of the disorder. Outpatient treatment is different from inpatient treatment in that it does not require an individual to stay at a center, but rather they attend the center for counseling and other therapies.

Outpatient treatment usually offers clients individual or group counseling, as well as education about drugs, alcohol use, and healthy lifestyle choices. It is also common for clients to receive medications, such as buprenorphine, to help reduce cravings and lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

The advantage of outpatient treatment is that it is convenient for clients, as they can attend sessions at time that work for their schedule. Additionally, it is much less expensive than inpatient treatment, as it does not require a person to stay for long periods of time.

Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment

Inpatient treatment is usually recommended for those with severe substance use disorders, or those who have tried other forms of treatment and been unsuccessful. Inpatient treatment usually takes place in a specialized residential facility or hospital, where individuals remain for an extended period of time. This type of treatment provides 24-hour medical care and support from a medically trained team of therapists, doctors, and counselors.

Inpatient treatment is much more intensive than outpatient treatment, as clients attend several therapy sessions every week, as well as partake in other treatments like yoga, support groups, and recreational activities. During this time, individuals also learn more about addiction and the recovery process, giving them the tools they need to maintain sobriety after leaving treatment.

The major advantage of inpatient treatment is the intensity of the treatment, as it helps individuals with strong addictions to become sober in a supervised setting. This type of therapy also allows an individual to leave their home and focus solely on getting better in a safe and supportive environment.


When dealing with substance abuse disorders, it is important to find the best form of treatment to meet the individual's needs. Outpatient treatment offers convenience and affordability, while inpatient treatment provides individuals with more intense and structured approach to recovery. In the end, the choice between outpatient and inpatient substance abuse treatment largely depends on the person's individual situation, and which therapy will best support their recovery.