What Are the Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Therapy?

Many people who struggle with mental illness or substance abuse or love someone who is having trouble with their mental health often wonder about the best way to get help. The good news is that both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs can really help you or someone you care about. To learn a few of the differences between inpatient and outpatient therapy, read on.

Outpatient Therapy and IOPs

If you or someone you care about is trying to learn the differences between IOP treatment from a place like Charlie Health or an inpatient program for mental health issues, the most important thing to understand is that both IOP services and rehabilitation centers offer the same goals. While both will be great ways to help with a mental health disorder, substance abuse, behavioral challenges, or even a dual diagnosis, what makes them different is the level of care you or your family member will receive while in treatment.

Many people make the mistake of assuming an IOP program like Charlie Health’s won’t offer the same level of intense services simply because clients go home at night and are able to maintain jobs and other roles in the community. On the contrary, IOP programs are extremely involved and require a big commitment from anyone looking for help. While no two IOP programs are exactly alike, all include support services from a therapeutic team, talk therapy, customized treatment plans, and individual counseling.

With IOP, clients attend several hours of therapy a day in group and individual sessions. Similar to the support offered in a residential treatment program, IOP is only different in that clients go home at the end of sessions and often have weekends off to spend time with friends and family outside of treatment. During this time, they are able to practice their skills and implement new therapeutic resources and goals into their lives.

Inpatient Treatment and Rehab Centers

Inpatient programs are more structured than IOP programs. Residents stay overnight, eat with other clients, and create a shared living community and space. While some residents are in rehabilitation by choice, others are court-mandated to be in residential treatment for things like substance abuse challenges and more.

One great perk to a residential program is that staff is available 24 hours a day to attend to resident needs and crises. Unlike IOP programs, this even more intense form of treatment often comes with strict rules around visitations and time outside treatment. For some, residential programs are a great option when an IOP program has failed or if a resident intends to step down into an IOP program further along in treatment.

Ongoing Support

It’s important not to underestimate the importance of a support system regardless of whether you opt for the intensive schedule that comes with IOP or the safety of an inpatient rehab center. When deciding which is right for you, it’s a good idea to ask about ongoing support as you move forward in your recovery process. Try to understand that your goals may differ from the start of your treatment toward the end, and being transparent about your needs as you go with your treatment team and peer support systems is a good way to increase your chances of a full recovery.

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In the end, your decision to use inpatient or outpatient services for therapy and mental health help is a personal one. Start with talking to your doctor about the right type of therapy for you or the people you love. Trust yourself enough to know that you’ll make the right decision for yourself and that the best first step you can take is reaching out for help. Best of luck to you as you move toward mental wellness.

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