Inpatient and Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

Many differences exist between inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab programs. It is important to understand the differences in order to make the best decision for an individual’s circumstances. The factors can include cost, place of residence and duration or length of the program. Learn more about the differences and how to assess which one is the best choice for treatment.


Inpatient and Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

Several differences including the following items can make or break a person’s decision about which one is the best fit. However, it is imperative to look for the best overall fit rather than decide based on cost, for instance, as some costs may be covered by insurance.


  • Cost: Outpatient rehab programs cost less than inpatient programs. On average, an outpatient program is in the $2-5K range while residential rehabs begin at $7.5K per month. High-end luxury programs can cost as much as $120K per month. A good amount of evidence-based, high-quality residential rehabs exist in the $18K-$35K per month range.
  • Residence: The main difference is that while food and housing is provided in a residential setting, a person attends outpatient rehab while living at home and perhaps even working. An individual who attends an outpatient program may retain greater freedom and continue to work and maintain day-to-day activities with fewer disruptions and incur fewer treatment related costs.
  • Duration: Alcohol rehab programs last for different periods of time based on the treatment program and individual’s needs. Short term residential programs can last from 30-60 days. Longer-term residential treatment has lengths of stay between six to twelve months. The programs focus on helping individuals change behavior in a highly structured setting. Outpatient rehab programs may last for approximately 10 weeks with programs existing anywhere from 2 months to one year in length.



Similarities Between Alcohol Rehab Programs

The main similarity between addiction treatment programs depends on the person’s needs but, most importantly, the individual must have alcohol out of the system entirely prior to admittance. The process of detoxification in either setting initially involves assessment and treatment of acute withdrawal symptoms which may range from mild tremors and insomnia, for instance, to severe symptoms such as autonomic hyperactivity seizures or delirium. Additional similarities include the following:

  • Attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings
  • Connection to social services
  • Education on nature of addiction
  • Psychological and behavioral counseling
  • Medical consultation
  • Recreational and social activities


Effectiveness of Alcohol Rehab Programs

A treatment setting does not generally appear to influence the overall treatment outcome. Questions remain as to how best to determine advantageous surroundings for an individual but personal motivation and willingness to change are key indicators which influence treatment outcomes most.

The best determination of whether an alcohol rehab program will be successful lies in understanding what is a good fit for the individual and making the determination with the help of loved ones, a treating physician and a larger support system which can help propel a person to long term success in recovery.


Many treatment options exist but finding a holistic approach is most important for sobriety. Contact Hired Power to find out how we can help support your journey to recovery with information and resources designed with the individual in mind.