What Is the Difference Between Outpatient and Inpatient Mental Health Care?

The most challenging step in your journey towards sobriety is admitting that you need help. Once you’ve decided to change your life, there are other decisions that you must make. The next essential decision is based on whether your treatment will be inpatient or outpatient. Both types of treatment serve a useful purpose, but the best course for you depends on your situation. Here are some things that you should know when choosing the type of treatment that is best for you.

Understanding Outpatient Benefits

When I decided to get help, my problem was terrible. However, I was still able to maintain my job, my household, and it hadn’t got to the point where I was not functioning anymore. I chose outpatient treatment for a few reasons. First, it’s hard to get into an inpatient treatment center in some areas. Many centers require that you begin as an outpatient client, and then as they have openings, they can move you up on the waiting list.

Waiting Lists

Yes, there are waiting lists for many facilities across the country. The good news is these lists typically move quite fast. With the opioid epidemic being where it is today, the number of people who need help has skyrocketed. So if you need something right not, then outpatient is the best option.

The Economic Cost

Outpatient therapy is also significantly less expensive. If you are funding this venture solo or your insurance only pays a limited amount, then you may want the economical option. Don’t worry; you will still get the same services you get while in an inpatient setting. The only difference is that you won’t have to stay.

When You Can’t Take Time Away from Life

I am a father of three teenagers, have a wife with a disability, and my problem needed attention. Outpatient was the only way I could get any help. I didn’t have a vacation or qualify for extended medical care, so I needed to get help in my free time. Thankfully, the center I worked with hooked me up with a mentor, I attended meetings, went to counseling, and got the full range of benefits that I would have received as an inpatient client.

The Argument for Inpatient Treatment

Many people would love to go the route of outpatient therapy. However, when the addiction is so great, or you need to be separated from the chaos that causes your drug addiction, then it’s the only option. Inpatient services are a bit more hands-on. They are reserved for people who’ve had a long history, has a severe problem, or they have no hope without such intense treatment.

Some People Need a Medical Facility

Chances are if you’ve done outpatient before, and it didn’t work that you will need a more intensive inpatient program. Additionally, if you find yourself hooked on some of the more severe drugs and need to use medication-based detox, then it’s best to be surrounded by the medical community for this process.

Finding What’s Behind the Addiction


I chose a center in Wilmington, Delaware, which is close to where I live. They offered both inpatient and outpatient services. I owe my life to these workers who went above and beyond to ensure that I dealt with my addiction while trying to maintain my outside life. My issues were caused by an attempt to self-medicate my problems away. I have an underlying mental health problem that was passed down from my family.

For me, it was essential to identify mental health issues and get adequate treatment for these problems first. Second, once the mental health issues were under control, I noticed that I didn’t even have the desire to use drugs anymore. I was trying to cope with anxiety and depression; the only way I knew how. Thankfully, other treatments didn’t cause drug-seeking behaviors.

I’ve been sober for almost five years now. Whether you choose to go with an inpatient or outpatient program doesn’t matter. The goal is to get healthy and heal your inner wounds. I didn’t need inpatient treatment, but I know many people that were saved because of inpatient services.

Making the Choice to Get Healthy

If you’re ready to commit to getting help with your substance abuse issues, then all you need to do is make the first step by calling 833-762-3764. The wonderful counselors are standing by, ready to answer your questions and help you decide what type of treatment is best for you and your situation.