When you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, it can be overwhelming to navigate the multiple kinds of treatment services that rehab facilities offer. If you aren’t familiar with rehabilitation facilities and their processes, you might leave your search feeling more discouraged than you anticipated. 

When it comes to finding what you need at a trusted rehabilitation center, the main thing to know is that they will offer two primary services: inpatient and outpatient.

No matter what services you end up signing up for, know that you are completing one of the hardest parts, and that’s asking for help.  

The Main Similarities

The main similarity between both inpatient and outpatient care is behind their intentions. Both treatments are there to help you or your loved ones become healthier and overcome their addiction. 

In many cases, inpatient and outpatient services will be recommended for you to partake in, with outpatient coming after you have participated in inpatient. This has to do with the severity of the substance use that is being treated. 

Both inpatient and outpatient treatments offer multiple services, from personalized therapy, group therapy, detoxification, or medication; all are meant to help overcome addiction. When it comes down to it, the main difference between the two is that you are admitted into a stay at the facility with an inpatient. With outpatient, you will be traveling from your home or sober living situation into the center for care. 

Knowing the differences between inpatient and outpatient makes it a lot easier to decide which form of care would be best for you. As always, if you are not sure and want to speak to a medical professional more about your specific situation, call someone at Soba Recovery Centers to learn more.

Inpatient Care

When you decide on inpatient care, a huge team of supporters might be behind you that helped you get to this decision. It’s not easy to get up and press pause on the life that you live to focus on your health. Inpatient care means that you take a step back from your responsibilities to focus on recovery fully. 

With inpatient care, you are provided around-the-clock close monitoring because it will benefit you the most. The path to recovery is best done with support and care. 

Inpatient care will provide you with round-the-clock care from highly trained medical professionals who, trust us, know what they are doing! While you are undergoing care, you can feel safe knowing that the people taking care of you are trained to do so. Allowing yourself to be taken care of and helped is essential in the recovery process!

The last thing you want to do is relapse, and what goes hand-in-hand with relapse is a lack of self-care and focus. Being inside a recovery center whose main goal is to get you better, you have your full focus directed on yourself and your needs. 

We get that being a spouse, sibling, parent, employee, caretaker, whatever it may be, can be emotionally and physically taxing. You need to focus on yourself to move forward in your recovery, and inpatient care is there to help.   

How To Prepare

When you are preparing to enter an inpatient treatment facility, you should understand that you will be putting your life on pause. You have to make arrangements for anyone you care for, whether it be children or pets, to be taken care of. 

Anything that you are in charge of, you need to find someone to cover for you so that when you come back from the center, you aren’t placed directly back into chaos, expecting to take care of yourself and all your overdue tasks.

It can be difficult, but communicating with the people around you about your situation can help you prepare. You can release some of the stress you build up by simply telling people where you will be and what your goals are. This can help get some additional support from those around you, so they know why you might be asking for a bit more help. 

Some things you should add to your to-do list to prepare for inpatient care:

  • Make sure that children and pets have someone to take care of them.
  • Consider the price you will have to pay for the treatment and talk with providers to understand the financial obligations.
  • Speak with your employer about your situation and being off work while you are in the facility.
  • Pay any bills or meet due dates before entering the facility. 
  • Know what you can and can’t take with you to your rehab facility.
  • Know the rough estimate of how many days you will be away.
  • Find someone that can take you to and from the recovery center.
  • Make sure you give contact information to your family so they can reach out to you at the center and vice versa.
  • Bring a journal or pad to write in; it can help the time go by when you are without your loved ones. 

Everyone will have a different experience when it comes to their recovery and the treatment they undergo. Inpatient is meant to curate a recovery plan specific to your needs so that you will be successful. Not everyone will benefit from the same activities, procedures, medications, etc. 

While all treatment plans usually become individual as you make changes and adapt to your own needs, inpatient care wants to prioritize you from the start so that you have the full support needed to overcome addiction. 

What To Expect

When you arrive at inpatient treatment, there are a few things that you might expect to see: all white everything, sterile labs, metal beds, people in hospital bed gowns, and very harsh lighting coming from the ceiling. 

Wrong! An inpatient treatment facility is nothing like that of a horror movie hospital. Most facilities want to capture the feeling that you’re at your home-away-from-home. You should be comfortable at your inpatient facility because the goal is to provide professional treatment that will help you get out and live your best life. 

You should expect to be on a strict schedule, with around-the-clock care. That means that no matter what kind of care you need—physical, emotional, or psychological—you can get it at any point. You won’t be left alone if you don’t want to be. The staff is trained to work with your needs to make a recovery as easy as possible. 

Things you should be prepared for when at inpatient treatment are:

  • A strict schedule: Most of your days might seem rigid, but staying occupied can help when trying to overcome a substance use disorder. 
  • Daily, if not multiple, visits from professionals: Whether it be in individual or group therapy, you will see psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors throughout your day to monitor your progress and assist you in any way you need emotionally and mentally. Everyone serves a different purpose, and collectively they are essential in your recovery process. 
  • Medically assisted detoxification: The process of detoxing from a substance can be terrifying to think about going through alone, but with inpatient care, you are monitored and taken care of throughout the process. This helps to alleviate stress and make sure that you stay safe. 
  • Speaking with your loved ones: When you go to inpatient treatment, you aren’t cut off from your loved ones. You can carve out time to talk with them and see them (especially if you are there for long periods).

How Long It Will Last

Depending on your individual needs, you could be at inpatient treatment anywhere from several days to six months. The severity of your substance use disorder will affect how long you stay. 

Everyone’s journey is different. It’s hard to say exactly how long you will be there, so that’s why planning is important!

Outpatient Care

Outpatient care is often the next step you take after completing inpatient care. Hopefully, the rehab center (like here at Soba) you are coming from after inpatient will have outpatient services, so it’s easier to make the transition. Outpatient services don’t require you to be at the facility but allow you to come back onto the campus and receive continued care during your recovery.

This way, your transition back into the community isn’t abrupt and harsh. Going back into an environment that you relate to your addiction can be challenging and triggering. Having the ability to go to and from your recovery center for services allows you to hold yourself accountable while also understanding that recovery is hard and the urges will be there. Having somewhere that you feel safe going back to will be essential in your recovery.

For some, though, going into outpatient care does not come as a result of finishing inpatient treatment and is the first step that someone takes in their path to recovery. Typically outpatient services are more affordable while still offering professional and good quality treatment. 

Suppose you can’t stop working altogether or don’t have the ability to have your children watched for weeks. In that case, outpatient allows you to take the time to better yourself while also allowing you to maintain everything you need at home. We want you to succeed in all aspects of life, and these services may help you achieve your goals!  

Preparing For Departure From Inpatient

If you are coming to the end of your stay at an inpatient treatment facility, you might still feel like you aren’t ready to dive back into normalcy. Having somewhat of a buffer between leaving the facility and being on your own can help you build better habits with the help of counselors and psychologists. 

This kind of treatment is less time-consuming than inpatient, but you should still expect to see somewhat of a schedule and have a time commitment to it. Sometimes you can reach between 10-15 hours a week spent at the facility, not including time traveled to get there. 

Outpatient treatment does not offer 24-hour support and assistance, so you must have other people, whether a trusted loved one or a sponsor, available to you when you need help. Being monitored closely to having free will is sometimes enough to trigger a relapse, so outpatient helps monitor your progress and sobriety. 

Starting Off With Outpatient Care

If you have finally decided to seek help with your addiction, outpatient care can help by providing monitored detoxification, group and individual therapy sessions, and planning. 

You might be nervous to show up, but you take a step towards your recovery each day that you do. Outpatient care staff are trained professionals who show up every day to help you throughout your recovery, so take advantage of all the support you can get from us!

What To Expect

When you begin the outpatient treatment, you learn ways to cope with your addiction. We know that we are sending you back off into the community at the end of our sessions, where we can’t keep an eye on you. Outpatient services often offer various learning opportunities surrounding addiction, relapsing, coping mechanisms, and more so that you are better equipped to be on your own afterward.

With outpatient services, you can maintain your normal lifestyle of spending time with your family, attending work or going to school. You can learn ways to incorporate what you’ve learned at outpatient into your everyday life in what some might feel is a more organic way. You are never entirely taken out of your life and placed in a facility. Therefore you still have to take care of your everyday obligations. 

With outpatient services, you should also accept early mornings or late nights. Many of the meetings and events will happen at “off” times to accommodate work and school schedules. Staying committed and having the support of those around you can help you to be successful throughout your outpatient services

Comparing the Two

With both outpatient and inpatient services, you will find personal advantages and disadvantages that you may find. It’s good to understand how they compare so you can figure out which service will benefit you most. 

Of course, speaking to a professional who works at one of these recovery centers, like Soba Recovery Centers, is another way for you to gauge if inpatient or outpatient treatment is right for you.


There are many advantages to both inpatient and outpatient, but if you are someone who likes to see it spelled out clearly in a listicle, this is for you:

Inpatient Treatment

  • 24-hour professional assistance.
  • Set a schedule for activities and sessions.
  • Ability to see your family and speak to them frequently.
  • Personalized treatment that can be monitored.

Outpatient Treatment

  • Less of a time commitment.
  • Can be more affordable.
  • Ability to stay at home and work while in treatment.
  • Teaches coping and integration through your current experiences.


Like all services, you might find that some advantages are disadvantages, and that’s okay. You must do what’s best for you, so understanding what you want from your treatment can help to make that decision easier. 

Inpatient Treatment

  • Being away from your family and friends for long periods.
  • Explaining your absence to your employer, which can be very stressful.
  • It can become expensive.
  • Often encourages outpatient treatment services after the fact to help with transitioning back to normalcy.

Outpatient Treatment

  • You have times where you aren’t being monitored, which can cause anxiety for some.
  • Your home life might not be helpful in your recovery as it could be triggering.

Get Help At Soba Recovery

The first step towards recovery is asking for help. We know how hard it can be to get there, and we here at Soba Recovery Centers want to ensure that we make it as easy as possible for you to get the help you deserve.

We offer inpatient services and intensive outpatient and outpatient services in San Antonio, TX, and Mesa, AZ. Our staff are trained professionals who want to help you, so don’t be afraid to give us a call with any questions.

No matter which services you end up taking part in at Soba, you can feel good knowing you’re in the right hands.



Effectiveness and Cost-effectiveness of Four Treatment Modalities for Substance Disorders: A Propensity Score Analysis | NCBI

Types of Treatment Programs | National Institute on Drug Abuse

Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence | NCBI

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