Inpatient vs Outpatient: Drug Rehab in Athens, GA

Sometimes, people make poor choices when taking prescription medication or when dabbling in recreational drugs. In a short time, substance misuse can develop and then an addiction develops. If this is you, you’re not alone. The state of Georgia is struggling with addiction at epidemic proportions. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2016, there were 918 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in Georgia. That’s a rate of 8.8 deaths per 100,000 persons compared to the national rate of 13.3 per 100,000 persons. Whether you started misusing drugs recreationally or medically, there is help at an Athens Drug Rehab facility. Understanding treatment options is vital to making informed treatment decisions.

What is Drug Abuse?

Although often used interchangeably, the terms “drug abuse” and “drug addiction” have different implications and meanings. Drug abuse refers to misusing substances, especially substances that can be used for medical purposes. However, abuse can apply to a wide variety of substances, from prescription medication to illicit street drugs. Drug abuse often leads to a dependence or an addiction.

What is Drug Addiction?

Addiction can result from a variety of factors and circumstances, including predisposition, environment, trauma and mental health disorders. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states, “Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” While addiction typically begins with drug abuse, it is not an indication of an individual’s moral status or stability.

What is Inpatient Treatment?

Inpatient treatment, also referred to as inpatient rehab, can begin after an individual successfully completes medical detox. Inpatient treatment tends to be very intense and involve a lot of emotional healing along with a strong focus on mental health. Patients receive 24-hour monitoring to help prevent a relapse. This is especially important for individuals who are dependent on a particular substance and can’t go more than a few hours without it. Inpatient treatment facilities include:

  • Hospitals: Detoxification is the first step in a treatment program and it usually occurs in a hospital setting. This short-term inpatient treatment is in a clinic like setting; it’s more intense and typically lasts one to three months.
  • Mental Health Facilities: Mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities treat those with both a mental health issue as well as an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. This is also known as an integrated treatment approach. Rehabilitation that specializes in mental health and substance abuse are specifically equipped to treat individuals that suffer from both conditions and most mental health professionals advocate for treatment that addresses both issues at the same time.
  • Residential Treatment: These facilities tend to be more “homey” and comfy because the duration of the stay can be lengthy. Patients are often considered medically stable and have established a foundation in recovery.  

Regardless of the facility, patients live in the facility full-time so that they can focus exclusively on the healing without the stresses of everyday distractions. Regardless of the substance, inpatient treatment program stays vary depending on the needs of the patient. One of the greatest benefits of inpatient treatment is the change of scenery. Changing your environment aids in changing your habits.

Anyone who wants a greater chance at success and a reduced risk of relapse can benefit from the inpatient treatment process. However, it is important to be mindful that inpatient treatment programs require a full-time commitment.

What is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment, also referred to as outpatient rehab, is usually the first choice for people suffering from addiction and seeking recovery. Outpatient treatment allows patients to live away from the facility and participate in treatment during the day. Clients visit the facility regularly for a set number of hours per week. This type of treatment program allows people more freedom; giving patients the ability to maintain a job and/or keep up with day-to-day responsibilities.

Due to its more flexible nature, outpatient rehab is best suited for individuals who have less severe addictions, are equipped to live on their own or in a sober living situation and are not in need of high levels of medical support.

Outpatient treatment may be ideal for you if:

  • Your addiction is relatively new or mild
  • You are in good health and only need occasional support or therapy
  • You are unable to commit to inpatient/residential treatment
  • Your current living situation is conducive to recovery
  • You are willing and able to pursue sobriety in your daily life

These programs offer a variety of therapies including behavioral and medication options. Patients will attend individual and group therapies. While outpatient treatment doesn’t include meals or overnight accommodations, treatment is similar to inpatient treatment in rigor and recovery goals.

Just as with each level of treatment, outpatient rehab isn’t for everyone. The best way to find out if outpatient treatment is right for you is to speak with your health care provider.     

What are Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)?

PHP, also referred to as day treatment programs, is a more intensive program than typical outpatient programs. PHPs are often used as a step-down treatment once a patient has completed an inpatient treatment program. The length of PHP varies greatly depending on a patient’s needs. Each PHP has a different approach, and each patient is unique.

Patients typically attend the recovery center 3-5 days per week for 4-6 hours each day. Patients receive individual and group therapy, and access to medical care if needed. Partial hospitalization is best for individuals who do not require 24-hour monitoring, but still require a high level of support to maximize success. Overnight stays are rare and occur only when absolutely necessary.


If you or a loved one are seeking drug addiction treatment, there are resources available in every state. There is hope for anybody battling addiction. With the right treatment program and a strong support system, sobriety is a real possibility. Finding a program that best suits your needs is an important step toward recovery. To find recover centers in Athens, visit Find Rehab Centers.