What Is The Difference Between Inpatient And Outpatient Treatment?

Searching for addiction treatment will show a variety of different recovery routes, including inpatient, outpatient, and intensive outpatient programs. But what are they, and how do you know what the best fit for you or your loved one is? Peaks Recovery Center is here to talk through the different alcohol and drug rehab options, including inpatient, outpatient, and intensive outpatient treatment.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient treatments are often the first step in addiction recovery. The individual will undergo a pre-assessment to ensure that treatment with that specific addiction recovery center is right for them. Inpatient programs will normally be suggested if you have had a long-term addiction, severe relapse, or have co-existing mental health or physical illnesses that might alter your recovery plan.

Then, they will often follow these steps:


The detoxification process will happen in the center, and will help the individual withdraw from the substance in a safe and secure environment. A supportive team will be on hand to provide for medical needs and ensure wellbeing. Using inpatient rehab for the detoxification process will make the process less traumatic and reduce the chances of future relapse for the individual.

Inpatient Therapy and Support

After detoxification has taken place, inpatient therapy will begin with a stay at the center’s residential unit. This is often split between male and female programs to help provide a focus to the treatment and help individuals recover as quickly as possible. Therapy may take place up to six days a week, and there may be partial hospitalization until the individual has fully recovered from the detox process. Therapy will aim to focus on the root cause of the addiction, and help build an understanding of this and how to move through into recovery. Treatments will depend on coexisting illnesses and mental health conditions. 

Considering The Future

As you move through the 45-day program, you may step down your therapy sessions and start to consider treatment plans that you can attend while living in your own home. We work with families and loved ones to ensure that inpatients considering an outpatient treatment plan are fully supported. At the point an individual no longer stays in the center, the treatment becomes part of an outpatient program.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient programs take place through the center, but at this point in treatment, the individual will often be at home, and may even be working. Clients will attend therapy sessions, but these will be reduced hours and with the aim of reintegrating the individual back into society addiction-free.

Intensive Outpatient (IOP) Programs

An intensive outpatient program allows the individual to attend regular therapy sessions and 1-2-1s, while residing at home, working, and being an active part of the community. Intensive outpatient programs are often the very start of an outpatient program, so therapy sessions will take place in 9 hour blocks spread over 3-5 days a week. 

You might be considering IOP treatment if:

  • You have recently completed an inpatient program and are ready to go home
  • You have had a short relapse and need to have some outpatient therapy
  • You are beginning recovery but don’t meet the requirements for inpatient treatment
  • You are concerned about relapse after another treatment program

These sessions are normally divided into blocks in the mornings or evenings, so you can go to work, return home and engage in your normal social activities outside of addiction treatment.

Step-down Outpatient Programs

Traditional outpatient programs are usually at the end of a longer-term recovery plan, after a very short relapse or if there is a fear of relapse. These will often step-down sessions to once or twice a week, then a fortnight, then a month. Therapy may move to meetings only with your primary therapist, or a telephone therapy session. No two treatments are the same, but outpatient programs are often the final step in embracing an addiction free lifestyle.

The Importance of Family Support

Family support is a vital part of the recovery process, and often rebuilding the unit after addiction is what prevents future relapses. Whether the treatment course is inpatient or outpatient, we work with all forms of support networks to strengthen and facilitate the recovery journey for our clients. Our therapy and treatment plans can be tailored to rebuild the family or extended support network so it is stronger than before.

Peaks Recovery

At Peaks Recovery, we offer female and male inpatient programs, to strengthen the recovery process without distraction. We find this often allows clients to explore their addiction and bond without the common issues caused by mixed centers. We also offer an IOP program to those looking for an outpatient treatment plan. 94% of our clients are happy with our treatment programs, as we put our client’s wellbeing and emotional stability at the very heart of our tailored therapy plans. Talk to us today to find out more about our addiction treatment services.

Contact Peaks Recovery to discover your options today.