In-Patient versus Out-Patient Detox

What is Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Detox Treatment?

Detoxification is a medical procedure used in the management of withdrawal from drugs and alcohol that is a medically safe manner with small discomfort. Incorporation of detoxification in an increasingly vital part of continuum care for people undergoing monitored withdrawal from dependency on substances (Spohr, Taxman, Rodriguez, &Walters, 2015). Patients under outpatient detoxification treatment are expected to go to a hospital or a facility on daily basis, excluding weekends, for their sessions of treatment. On the other hand, patients under inpatient care are always admitted in a hospital where they live for a period of time while under treatment that is five to fourteen days (Spohr et al., 2015). Benzodiazepines such as chlordiazepoxide and diazepam are the most common drugs employed in a detoxification process. Benzodiazepines foil alcohol withdrawal seizures apart from reducing abstinence symptoms which take place in almost 1-4% of withdrawal patients (Stephens et al., 2014). This essay covers the benefits of inpatient detoxification programs over the outpatient ones.

Environment of care

The environment is quintessential in treatment and recovery of any patient. Place of treatment determines ease of access and level of interference from external factors (Stephens et al., 2014). Enrollment at in-house facility removes patients out of the immediate environment that might have compelled them to take drugs or alcohol in the first place (Spohr et al., 2015). People believe that the desire to use drugs and consume alcohol simply occurs; however, there are strong reasons for that. Some of the triggers to alcohol and drug use may include sights, sounds, and smell. Inpatient programs give people a safe place to live while recovering (Stephens et al., 2014).This action removes them from struggling with addiction arisen from old habits and temptations. They are offered a replacement medication as an intervention for severe detox symptoms. In outpatient detoxification, a person lives at the home where he/she meets individuals still abusing drugs and taking alcohol. Consequently, they are more exposed to temptations, and their treatment can be hindered by continuous relapse brought about by external influence. Therefore, inpatient facilities provide a more favorable environment for treatment and recovery of a patient as compared to outpatient.

Patient Support System

The support level a patient receives while under detoxification can speed up the recovery process. Inpatient and outpatient programs avail different kinds of support to a patient. Inpatient facilities have dedicated staff providing quality services to the addicts on a 24-hour a day basis. They are well-skilled to deal with both emotional and physical symptoms of withdrawal. Patients who have suffered a long period of addiction require constant monitoring in case their condition deteriorates (Stephens et al., 2014). Moreover, they can receive specialized care such as using different kinds of therapy, for example, musical therapy for individual help. Thus, admission to an inpatient facility for such a person is the best course. In addition, inpatient facilities harbor many addicts. Presence of other patients undergoing similar treatment in the same environment can help a patient develop a sense of optimism and a will to recover. Availability of support groups 24/7 is a catalyst for recovery process of a patient (Stephens et al., 2014). By contrast, an outpatient program enables a patent to enjoy the support of families and friends at home apart from support groups and a mentor from a health facility (Spohr et al., 2015). To some patients, the presence of their close confidants such as a wife, children, parents, or siblings acts as motivation to stop drug and alcohol abuse. However, in certain cases, family and friends may reject the patient thus triggering relapse through stress, or they may be addicts who have refused treatment and may discourage the patient from devoting to the treatment or accepting his/her condition. In short, inpatient programs guarantee more reliable and efficient support system to the patient as opposed to the outpatient ones.


This article presents the benefits of inpatient detoxification program over the outpatient one. It is obvious that inpatient facilities offer quality care characterized by continuous assessment and observation patients’ progress by skilled staff. In case of side effects occurring during the treatment, the medical personnel can intervene whereas in outpatient treatment, a patient is only available for treatment on a limited amount of time during the day.

In addition, the environment favors quick and easy recovery. Therefore, inpatient detoxification programs are more beneficial as compared to outpatient programs.

Spohr, S. A., Taxman, F. S., Rodriguez, M., &Walters, S. T. (2015, July 29). Motivational interviewing fidelity in a community corrections setting: Treatment initiation and subsequent drug use. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 65, 20-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2015.07.012 Stephens, J. R., Lilies, E. A., Dancel, R., Glichrist, M., Kirsch, J., & DeWalt, D. A. (2014, April). Who needs inpatient detox? Development and implementation of a hospitalist protocol for the evaluation of patients for alcohol detoxification. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 29(4), 587-593. doi: 10.1007/s11606-013-2751-3

In-Patient versus Out-Patient Detox
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