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Outpatient vs. Inpatient Programs

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Deciding to live your life free of alcohol or drugs is the first step toward recovery. Next, you will have to decide which type of treatment is right for you. Both inpatient rehab and outpatient treatment can be effective at helping you achieve recovery; we compare both programs to help you understand the differences and make an informed decision about treatment.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment allows you to revolve drug or alcohol addiction treatment around your work, school, and other life responsibilities while you live at home. This option requires you to attend scheduled therapy sessions at a facility, for several hours per week.

Timing, Structure, and Schedules

There are several options for outpatient treatment and, as a result, the timing for completion of these programs will vary accordingly. For example, an outpatient day program where you attend a treatment facility for several hours a week may take several weeks to complete. Other types of outpatient programs may require you to meet certain milestones before progressing to the next step in treatment, which may increase or lessen the amount of treatment time required.


Although an outpatient program doesn’t require you to stay at a treatment facility while progressing through rehab, the several hours of commitment that it requires may mean making changes to your schedules at work and home to receive treatment.


A major benefit of outpatient treatment is the flexibility it offers. You can continue working and living at home while you receive treatment, and you also have several treatment options to choose from. Outpatient treatment also doesn’t require you to temporarily suspend your life or family or spousal relationships while you attend counseling.

Is Outpatient Treatment Right for You?

Take our quiz to find out. If you can maintain your responsibilities and life stability without outside assistance, outpatient rehab may be for you. The downside to outpatient treatment is the risk that counseling sessions may trigger setbacks. If this is the case, inpatient treatment may be preferable.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is what typically comes to mind when one thinks about rehab. It involves living at a residential facility with other men who are also in recovery. All treatment occurs on- site with the inpatient option. Treatment options, quality of care and comfort can vary greatly.


Detox must often occur before moving into the substance abuse treatment centre. This allows for the safe and monitored removal of substances from the body. Continued support of withdrawal management is also an important aspect of inpatient treatment because it allows for the safe management of withdrawal symptoms that may otherwise lead to relapse.

Timing, Structure, and Schedules

Inpatient treatment will typically range from one to three months or more to complete. It takes time to form new habits and the recovery path is unique to each person. Because you live on-site, you can access around-the-clock treatment, support and monitoring of your individual progress.

Receiving inpatient treatment will mean adhering to schedules set by facility staff as well as meeting the responsibilities of daily life in the residence. After a time, you will also participate in family therapy, both individually and with your loved ones.


Those receiving addiction treatment in inpatient facilities do so in a closed environment that requires you to live in the residential facility for the duration of your treatment. This allows you to focus completely on recovery as you share a living space and your experiences with other men who are in recovery.

However, being in a closed environment also means that there limited contact with anyone outside of the facility temporarily, including with loved ones and employers. Prior to entering the treatment facility, you will need to prepare by:

  • Letting your employer know that you’ll need to take a leave of absence
  • Asking the facility staff about the rules surrounding permitted personal items so that these can be acquired prior to beginning treatment
  • Arranging for transportation to the residential facility if necessary
  • Discussing where and how children and other family members will live and be cared for during your absence and how, or if, they will be involved in your recovery


Inpatient treatment can also include transitioning and an after-rehab program. Working with your team, you develop a plan for treatment after leaving the facility so that you can receive continued care.

Aftercare may also include referrals for relapse prevention resources near you, weekly support groups, workshops and seminars at the facility, and nutritional, fitness, family, and community support. This support continues for as long as you feel it is needed.


Inpatient treatment offers several benefits. The closed environment allows you to focus on recovering from your addiction without the distractions or stressors of daily life. Intensive programming, personalized 24-hour care and a safe housing situation benefit you in terms of cravings and withdrawal management as they greatly reduce your risk of relapse.

The daily schedule of inpatient rehab assists with the transition back to regular life. An effective program will also help you with important life skills and allow you to get used to structure again while placing the responsibility of recovery in your hands.

How Successful Is Inpatient Rehab?

Rehab at an inpatient substance abuse treatment centre can be successful due to its constant comprehensive care and closed environment. This combination helps you to regain health as you receive treatment.

Are Inpatient Treatment and Aftercare Right for You?

If you feel that outside assistance would help you maintain your life stability more effectively than if you were on your own, inpatient treatment may be the right option for you. This may also be true if you feel that:

  • You’d be more secure and safer in a closed
  • Being around certain people and places may be triggers for
  • The daily stressors of work or home will make recovery more

Still, you may find it difficult to make the decision between inpatient vs. outpatient rehab. The reality is that both outpatient and inpatient treatment, including aftercare, can be effective. Whichever decision you make, it is a decision for treatment, which is a step towards a new and healthy life.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy provides you with the tools you need to identify and manage your triggers. This treatment involves completing between-session homework that encourages the practising and improvement of these skills while in treatment.

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy

Dialectical behavioural therapy teaches you how to identify and differentiate between what is and isn’t in your control. It also teaches strategies that you can apply in daily life to communicate effectively, reduce your stress, and regulate your emotions.

Complementary Therapies

In addition to our highly effective blend of treatment types and components, we also offer activities that provide a holistic and recuperative complement to the addiction treatment you are receiving at our facility. These activities include:

  • Yoga
  • Fitness training
  • Auricular Acupuncture

A Team That Supports Your Recovery Goals

The staff at our EHN Canada facilities are both compassionate and highly skilled, which makes them able to offer the most current, evidence-based forms of treatment. In working with our integrative team, you get the benefit of expertise from several specialists. The result is a structured and holistic addiction recovery program that offers a high degree of success.

Change is possible. When you are ready to transform your life, then Gateway looks forward to welcoming you; learn more about our inpatient residential treatment programs today

Call us at one of the numbers below to start a conversation about how we can help you.

Bellwood (Toronto, ON): 1-800-387-6198
Edgewood (Vancouver Island, BC): 1‑800‑683‑0111
Ledgehill (Lawrencetown, NS): 1-800-676-3393
Sandstone (Calgary, AB): 1-587-350-6818
Gateway (Peterborough, Ontario): 1-705-535-0636
Nouveau Depart (Montreal, Quebec): 1-888-488-2611
EHN Online: 1-888-767-3711

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