The two basic types of rehabilitation from drug or alcohol dependency are inpatient and outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment can provide daily care, but support is limited during the evening and nighttime hours and patients are left to return to their own homes at night. In many cases, outpatient treatment is preferable because it is cheaper than inpatient and allows patients to keep a greater sense of self. However, in some situations, such as those listed below, the physician may recommend a more intensive inpatient program for the greater good of the patient.
- When the patient has withdrawal symptoms
Withdrawal from some drugs and alcohol can create uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms. Most patients stop alcohol, for example, cold turkey; they may find that they suffer for a few days from numerous withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, headaches, depression, heart palpitations, vomiting and difficulty breathing. Some may even have life-threatening symptoms, such as seizures, heart attacks, and strokes. These patients must be monitored carefully in an inpatient setting.
- When the patient should not be around their loved ones
Withdrawal can make some patients become mean and even violent. Family members may wish to have their loved one in an inpatient facility at least initially to spare themselves from the physical and emotional abuse that could occur.
- When the patient needs constant support
Patients in inpatient facilities receive around-the-clock care from qualified professionals who can administer necessary medications at the right time. Healthcare professionals can also provide constant monitoring of vital signs, which can be imperative during the initial recovery period.
- When the patient needs negative influence removed
Some patients may find that they are surrounded by peers who provide temptations in their home settings. To avoid being faced with these dangerous dilemmas, some patients prefer to be admitted to inpatient care to make it more difficult to relapse.
- When the patient needs help taking medications
Patients going through rehab will most likely be started on new medications, which can be difficult to remember. In inpatient facilities, patients will have a healthcare team to help them take all of their medications at the correct times.