Deciding that you need to go to rehab isn’t the end of the story. It’s not as if there’s just one treatment center everyone goes to.

There are different types of rehab facilities out there that suit the differing needs of addicts. Where you or a loved one goes ultimately depends on several variables, with particular weight being given to the severity of the addiction. Some people who’ve been living with a substance use disorder for decades, generally need a vastly different level of care than those who’ve been dealing with drugs or alcohol for less time.

The Different Types of Rehab Facilities You Can Go To

The most straightforward way to break down the different types of rehabs that are available to people is to split them out into their broadest categories: inpatient and outpatient.

The simplest way to look at it is this; with inpatient care you live in the facility where your treatment is happening and with outpatient treatment, you don’t. You can stay at your home and come to scheduled appointments for treatment. You’ll also sometimes see the term “residential treatment” floating around which is just another term for inpatient care.

Going a bit more in-depth, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes long-term residential treatment as a place that “provides care 24 hours a day, generally in non-hospital settings. The best-known residential treatment model is the therapeutic community (TC), with planned lengths of stay of between 6 and 12 months. TCs focus on the “resocialization” of the individual and use the program’s entire community—including other residents, staff, and the social context—as active components of treatment…Treatment is highly structured.”

About outpatient care, they add, “outpatient treatment varies in the types and intensity of services offered. Such treatment costs less than residential or inpatient treatment and often is more suitable for people with jobs or extensive social support. It should be noted, however, that low-intensity programs may offer little more than drug education. Other outpatient models, such as intensive day treatment, can be comparable to residential programs in services and effectiveness, depending on the individual patient’s characteristics and needs. In many outpatient programs, group counseling can be a major component.”

How Each Type of Rehab Can Help You Get Sober

How inpatient or outpatient care helps you get sober is related to the specifics of your program and there is generally overlap. 

You’ll notice, for example, that both descriptions above-mentioned group work and the use of the entire community at the facility. That’s a mission-critical component of rehab but there’s more, so let’s touch on each type of rehab separately again.


Inpatient rehab is for those with the most severe addictions and the benefits are vast.

For starters, you have 24/7 support which is huge because relapse is a real threat to those who are just starting out. Having someone there, constantly, is a safety net.

Structure is another key component. Your entire day is planned when it comes to inpatient care so you don’t have time to think about drugs, let alone find them.

Which leads to the biggest helper: total focus. When going through inpatient treatment you’re 100% focused on the work of recovery. No distractions, no bad influences. Just complete commitment to the individual therapy and group work that are found in most programs.


This type of rehab is most helpful for those with less intense addictions or who are transitioning from inpatient care.

You’ll still have dedicated and set times with a counselor or therapists to guide you on the path of recovery and also group work, but that will be integrated into and scheduled around your life. Think of it as a stripped-back version of inpatient care in that sense.

Outpatient care is helpful as a support system and tool for further progress while being able to carry on with your day-to-day life.

To learn more about either option, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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