There are some very distinct differences between residential programs and outpatient programs that you or your loved ones need to know about before going to rehab. Equipped with the proper information, it will be easier to be able to make the right decision that will have the best results towards achieving and maintaining sobriety. In many cases, people only have one opportunity to get sober, so it’s important that they’re making an informed decision about which type of care is right for them. The first thing is to understand what the difference between these two types of programs are, and then how to figure out which one is right for you.

Who is a Residential Program Best for?

Residential treatment is a treatment facility in which patients live during their entire stay. While they are in residential treatment, their day will be completely planned, and everything they do will be to support their recovery. Patients will be away from their normal environment that may have been a trigger for their addiction, and there will be quite a bit of structure and accountability in a residential program. This may seem like patients do not getting the freedom that they may want, but when it comes to addiction, this is often the safest place to be.

This type of treatment is recommended for anyone a chronic addiction that have suffered many relapses. Addiction is such a powerful disease that most of the time, those suffering from addiction are not even safe from their own thoughts and actions. While in a residential treatment facility, patients can feel comfortable in knowing that they will be far less likely to make a bad decision that will set back their recovery. The best part about being in residential treatment is that patients can finally focus on themselves and the healing process instead of everything around them.

What’s an Outpatient Program?

Most of the time, patients transition to an outpatient program from the residential. In some cases, if patients are in the early stages of addiction, they will be able to benefit more from going straight to outpatient. While in outpatient treatment, patients won’t be living at the facility, which means they can live at home or in a sober living facility. If those suffering from addiction have a toxic living environment filled with triggers, then it may be a better for to move into a sober living facility until they have a stronger foundation for their recovery.

At an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), patients still go through the program for most of the day. Depending on the schedule of the IOP, they may or may not be able to work while in the program. An outpatient program is far less intensive, and sometimes may only be for a few hours a day. Patients typically start in an IOP and then transition to outpatient.

Choosing the Right Option

In order to make the right choice for you or your loved one, speak with an addiction professional for an assessment. Many addiction professionals are going to use the criteria from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). This evaluation goes through various assessments of different aspects of your addiction to decide which level of care is right for you or your loved one. If they don’t use this criterion, then they may use something similar. This is of the utmost importance for entering the right type of care to benefit the most.