Residential Versus Outpatient Treatment: How To Decide Which Is Right For You

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If you need help battling your addiction, there are a multitude of different programs to choose from. Two of the most common types of programs are residential and outpatient treatment programs. 

Residential programs are those where stay on-site for the majority of your day. These treatment centers are usually very intensive with a full itinerary of classes and support groups that you are required to go to. Some programs require you to sleep on-site, but others permit you to travel back to your own dwelling for the night if you desire.

Outpatient programs permit you to come and go as you please for your addiction treatment. You are responsible for scheduling your appointments and making sure that you are on time. When choosing a program, there are a few factors to take into consideration:

The Amount of Support That You Have at Home

Some individuals struggling with addiction are surrounded by friends and family members who are waging their own battles against substance abuse. If you find yourself in this situation, it is unlikely that those around you will be able to adequately support you as you fight your substance misuse disorder. A residential treatment program will surround you with other like-minded individuals who are motivated to stop using drugs or alcohol.

However, if you have a supportive home environment, an outpatient treatment program may be a viable alternative. You can utilize the support of your loved ones while still getting the professional help that you need to defeat your addiction.


Sadly, the cost is a factor that keeps some patients from seeking the help that they need for their addictions. First, check with your health insurance provider to see what addiction treatment programs or services are covered. Some may cover time in a residential program, while others may only pay for outpatient treatment.

Outpatient programs are usually the least expensive type of addiction treatment program. Residential programs are the most expensive, with those requiring you to stay and sleep on the premises costing the most. 

Remember, you can use your health savings account or flexible spending account to help defray the costs of your addiction treatment.

Work or Family Obligations

Work or family obligations are another important consideration when selecting a program. If you have children and a family that you need to take care of, an outpatient program may be best, as it lets you get help while still tending to your loved ones and career. You may have a limited amount of paid time off from work. Again, an outpatient program lets you make the most of the time off work that you have available.

However, some may need a reprieve from work and family obligations to stop their substance misuse. While extremely fulfilling, a job adds an additional level of stress to your addiction battle. As a parent or relative, it is easy to focus on the needs of your children or loved ones and put them ahead of your own. It may be best to put yourself first and check into a residential program that lets you focus solely on getting better. 

For more information and assistance, contact a local individual addiction treatment center.