Drug Treatment Programs

Written by Christa Gatewood
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There are many different types of drug treatment programs. One way to classify these programs is as inpatient or outpatient. Inpatient treatment programs house addicts in a treatment facility while they undergo the process of rehabilitation. Outpatient treatment programs are visited by addicts on a regular basis, but the addict lives at home.

Inpatient Versus Outpatient Treatment Programs

Inpatient, or residential, treatment programs are the most effective type of rehabilitation program. The addicts are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is impossible for them to get a hold of their drug of choice, so they are forced to detoxify. Additionally, inpatient programs afford the addict the time and opportunity to confront their addiction free from distraction. This is definitely the preferred method of rehabilitation.

Outpatient programs are less effective than residential programs because the addict still has the opportunity to use drugs. Because they are not being watched constantly, an addict might be tempted to use again. Outpatient programs do typically employ some type of monitoring, however. For example, a regular or random drug test will be able to tell if the addict has been using. This test can only tell after the fact, though, and by that time sobriety has been compromised.

Outpatient programs can be effective as after-care facilities. When some people leave residential programs they feel like they need additional help to maintain sobriety. This can be found in outpatient programs. They are used as a sort of stepping stone to maintaining sobriety alone. Having regular meetings and/or tests can help an addict feel accountable to someone else and less willing to go back to drug abuse.


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