When it comes to inpatient substance abuse treatment, there are two main options to choose from. One is inpatient treatment, while the other is residential treatment. Both provide a high level of substance abuse treatment.
They are both also intended for people who struggle with severe cases of addiction, multiple relapses, or co-occurring disorders, such as another mental health issue in addition to addiction or a comorbid medical condition.
Both residential and inpatient treatment centers are available all over the country. You can find one that is right for you by accessing your state’s health department, reaching out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for referrals, or talking to your primary care provider.
While they do share many similarities, and even sound the same based on their names, inpatient and residential treatment are two different types of treatment programs. In this blog, we will take a look at the difference between inpatient and residential treatment programs and how you can go about choosing the right one.
Are Inpatient and Residential Treatment Different?
As we discussed in the intro, while yes, they sound the same in name, they are technically different forms of treatment. People who have misused drugs may enter inpatient care due to the following:
- After an emergency – According to hospital data, approximately 50 percent of the people who find themselves in the emergency room due to a drug or alcohol-related incident are referred to an inpatient treatment facility by emergency room staff. If you have health insurance, you must be admitted by a hospital in order to qualify for inpatient treatment. Staying the night for “medical observation” does not count.
- At a hospital – Inpatient services are often provided at hospitals. In order to enter inpatient treatment at a hospital, you have to stay overnight for one night or more.
- Doctor’s referral – Ultimately, your doctor will decide whether or not inpatient treatment is right for you. They will assess whether this level of care is necessary for your situation.
During inpatient treatment, you will likely remain at a hospital for the duration of your treatment. While inpatient and residential treatment centers are often mislabeled as one and the same, that isn’t actually the case. Treatment facilities provide residential treatment, while inpatient treatment is typically done in a hospital.
There are several things that separate residential treatment from inpatient treatment. Some of those are:
- Voluntary sign up for the program. In some cases, treatment may be mandated by a court order.
- Living at the facility 24/7 for the duration of the program. Typically, you are not allowed to leave the property at any point during treatment. Some facilities might allow for people to leave towards the end of their treatment for a facility approved reason.
- During residential treatment, detox is usually required before treatment can begin. Some facilities offer detox on-site, while others may require you to go to a separate detox facility before starting treatment.
- Individual and group therapy. These are key components of treatment and usually are held every day. Therapy will dive deep into whatever is causing your substance abuse issues and help to get rid of them. Sometimes individual and group therapy will be supplemented by other types of therapies.
- Support groups, such as AA or other 12-step peer groups
- Family therapy. This is one of the supplemental therapies that we mentioned above. While in the beginning, visitors are strictly forbidden so that you can focus 100% of your time and energy on your treatment, later on your family might come in to participate in family therapy sessions. Family therapy can help your loved ones learn about the basics of addiction and how to best help you in recovery. Family dynamics are also examined, and communication patterns can benefit greatly from this therapy. Ultimately, relationships are strengthened.
- Aftercare plan. Relapse is likely with addiction, so a strong aftercare plan is needed to minimize the chances of it happening. The specifics of your plan will vary, depending on what you and your therapist feel is best for your needs. It can include checking into an intensive outpatient program, regularly attending 12-step meetings, seeing a therapist on a weekly basis, or moving into a sober living home. Aftercare will better prepare you to be a productive member of society and help you stay sober once you leave the structure of the residential treatment program.
All successful rehabilitation facilities will incorporate the above items into your treatment. Amenities, such as the type of room you stay in, additional elective activities, and luxury services, such as massages, are available in some residential treatment centers.
What Should I Expect When It Comes To Staff and Setting?
Residential addiction treatment facilities are staffed by a variety of professionals, such as:
- Doctors and nurses
- Social workers
- Case managers
- Support staff
Residential facilities can vary in terms of their level of care and the amenities they offer. Some are simple camp-style facilities with bare-bones amenities. Others, like luxury facilities, may be located in beautiful or exotic locales, such as the beach or even in the mountains. They may offer well-appointed services like full spa treatments, gourmet meals, and private suites.
Can I Use My Health Insurance To Get Treatment?
The cost of residential treatment can vary based on the type of treatment facility and the services that they provide. Some of the biggest factors when it comes to residential treatment costs are:
- Treatment Needed – Depending on the type of treatment, there may be additional costs. For example, those who are in treatment for opioid abuse may incur additional costs if they need medication-assisted treatment. In addition, some facilities may provide specialty therapies that may not be covered by insurance, such as adventure therapy.
- Length of stay – The average length of stay in residential treatment is 28 days, but this varies depending on the individual. Longer stays can result in higher costs, and your insurance plan may have a limit on the number of days that are covered.
- Location – The location of the treatment facility can impact the cost greatly. Usually, residential treatment programs are more expensive if they are near the beach, in the mountains, on a lake, or in another picturesque setting.
- Amenities offered – A residential program with only basic services will always be much cheaper than one that offers luxury amenities.
Insurance usually covers residential and/or inpatient care for a set amount of time. If a person needs additional services or needs to spend more time than is covered by insurance, then there might also be some out-of-pocket expenses.
Per the ACA, all insurance plans must cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders at the same level they cover other medical issues. The exact coverage will vary depending on your plan, but insurance can greatly offset the cost of residential treatment. Some insurance plans may require that you first attempt outpatient treatment before they approve coverage for residential care.
If you don’t have insurance or your insurance plan doesn’t cover as much as you need, there are some other ways that you can reduce your out-of-pocket costs for treatment. Some states may provide disability insurance benefits if you reside in a qualifying treatment facility for drug or alcohol misuse.
If you meet requirements, you can use Medicare to cover qualifying expenses for treatment. Medicare specifies that it has not designated a section to cover residential or outpatient treatment for substance abuse, but it can still cover certain services.
Do Residential Facilities Provide Aftercare Programs?
Eventually, you’ll need to transition out of an inpatient or residential treatment center and re-enter the outside world. An aftercare plan can ensure this transition is smooth and set you up for success in recovery.
The primary form of aftercare is often ongoing outpatient treatment, such as regular therapy sessions. A complete aftercare plan can include many other features that support a sober lifestyle, such as continued use of medications, attending peer support group meetings, and regular exercise and sleep.
Virtually all addiction treatment programs, both residential and outpatient, offer aftercare planning help.
How Do I Know What Level of Care I Need?
A residential treatment center is a step up from a partial hospitalization program or an intensive outpatient treatment and is often the most recommended treatment method by doctors and other specialists.
Residential treatment is usually recommended for the following type of people:
- Those with severe addictions that cannot be adequately addressed in an outpatient program.
- Those with co-occurring mental health or medical disorders.
- Those who have an unstable or unsafe home environment.
- Those who have experienced relapse.
- Adolescents, who can benefit from living in a place that allows them to wholly focus on their recovery, free from peer pressure.
Residential treatment allows for around-the-clock support. There are few to no opportunities to relapse, so you’re more likely to stay sober during this vulnerable time.
While some forms of outpatient care can offer a similar level of treatment intensity, the 24/7 nature of residential treatment makes it the highest level of care.
Are You Looking For Inpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Centers?
At Footprints to Recovery, our number one priority is getting you the help that you need in your fight against drug and alcohol addiction. Whether that be via inpatient treatment or another one of our many treatment methods, we don’t think you should go another day suffering from addiction. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs.
Questions about treatment options?
Our admissions team is available 24/7 to listen to your story and help you get started with the next steps.