If you have a drug or alcohol problem, there are two ways you can try to overcome it with rehabilitation. Your choices are outpatient rehab, which can take many forms, or inpatient rehab, which can be done either in a medical facility or a residential-like facility. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and each can have varying levels of effectiveness depending on the extent of your problem and your willingness to overcome it.
Drug rehab, be it inpatient rehab or outpatient rehab, differs from self-help groups like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. In those groups, you have support, but you are on your own to make the right choices. With rehab, you often are under the care of a licensed medical provider or counselor. In many cases, you may be prescribed medications that help to slowly wean you off of the drug you are taking. A well-known example of this is those trying to overcome heroin addiction. Such addicts are often given methadone, a synthetic version of the drug and one that is much less addictive. Once their body adjusts to the methadone, it is much easier to wean them off of it than it is to stop using heroin.
Outpatient rehab usually involves working with a medical professional or counselor through appointments. A person with a drug or alcohol problem may have daily or weekly sessions depending on the extent of their addiction and their overall mental and physical well-being. Necessary medications may be dispensed at these meetings. Outpatient therapy usually works well for people who are in decent health mentally and physically and who have a good support system.
Inpatient drug rehab obviously is more intense than outpatient rehab. It usually is reserved for people who are in poor health or who have mental issues that make them a danger to themselves or others, something that usually is present in about 15-20% of all drug abuse cases. Many people check into inpatient rehab of their own accord and can leave whenever they want. Others may be committed there by a mental health professional and are not allowed to leave. Most inpatient rehab is private rehab, although there are some public hospitals that offer such services. In an inpatient drug rehab center, people usually undergo daily counseling sessions and may have their entire days, including meals, planned out for them to help them find a routine and overcome the urge to use drugs.
Inpatient rehab centers usually are more expensive than outpatient ones, but they usually are more successful at producing lasting elimination of drug addictions. Before choosing one or the other drug rehab process, you should talk with your family and medical professionals to make the right decision.