Addiction affects millions of Americans each year, making education on substance abuse treatment incredibly important. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 48.7 million people struggled with a substance use disorder in 2022.[1]

If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, you might be wondering what type of program you should attend. The two most popular rehab programs include inpatient treatment and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs).

While inpatient requires you to live at the facility and offers 24/7 care, intensive outpatient programs allow you to live at home and commute to treatment sessions a few times per week. Both programs offer their own set of benefits and advantages, which means you have to evaluate which one would be best for you and your needs.

If you are prone to relapse and require intensive care, you should opt for inpatient treatment. On the other hand, if you have a supportive home environment to live in and need to continue working or caring for other responsibilities while you receive treatment, an IOP might be right for you.

What is Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehab programs are also referred to as residential treatment. In other words, you live at the facility while you receive addiction recovery services. Typically, inpatient rehabs last anywhere from 30 to 90 days depending on your needs.

Inpatient treatment centers will assess your needs and create an individualized treatment plan based on the information they gather. These programs tend to include a wide variety of services, from medical detox to relapse prevention planning and aftercare support.

Inpatient rehab offers the following types of support to assist in your recovery:

  • Medical detox services
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Psychoeducational support groups
  • Individual therapy and group counseling
  • Nutritional counseling
  • 24/7 access to medical treatment and psychological support
  • Housing and meal plans
  • Holistic treatments and amenities like massage or full gyms
  • Relapse prevention planning
  • Aftercare services

The main benefit of inpatient programs is the environment they provide. Instead of allowing you to experience triggers for relapse that are common in everyday life, you will be immersed in a recovery program. This lessens your chances of relapsing during early recovery and gives you the time you need to fully focus on treatment.

Who Should Attend an Inpatient Program?

Inpatient treatment centers are advantageous for a wide range of people and personalities. Just about anyone can benefit from receiving inpatient care. However, some people might be in a situation that requires this type of addiction support.

If you relate to the following, inpatient rehab is right for you:

  • You have a moderate to severe substance use disorder
  • You have a co-occurring mental health condition
  • You have tried outpatient rehab on its own with no success
  • You have experienced relapses in the past
  • You do not have a supportive environment to live in
  • You would benefit from medical detox services

Determining the severity of your substance use disorder can be difficult, however, there are things to look out for. For example, if you have experienced withdrawal symptoms when you cannot use a substance, often get into risky situations while you are under the influence, or deal with uncontrollable cravings to abuse a drug, you might require inpatient treatment.

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

Intensive outpatient programs still offer rigorous addiction treatment, however, they require you to either live at home or in a sober living house. While you receive many of the same services as inpatient rehab, you do not get the 24-hour care and supervision they offer. Because of this, you have to be extremely dedicated to your sobriety to be successful in an IOP.

IOPs usually include treatment sessions 3 to 5 days per week for a few hours each day. During your time at the facility, you will participate in one-on-one counseling, group therapy, and psychoeducational support groups. You will also check in to discuss your progress and submit to drug testing to ensure you are staying on track.

Like inpatient rehab, IOPs offer individualized treatment, which means all of the services you participate in will be suited to your needs.

Who is IOP Suited for?

Intensive outpatient programs can be used as a standalone treatment for people struggling with mild to moderate substance use disorders. They can also be used in combination with inpatient rehab as part of a continuum of care.

If you are looking to use IOP as a standalone treatment option, you must:

  • Be able to keep yourself accountable for your sobriety
  • Have a supportive environment to live in
  • Have completed a detox program already if needed

Additionally, intensive outpatient programs are great for people who need to continue working, going to school, or caring for children while they receive treatment. Oftentimes, the program will work with you to create a treatment schedule that suits your needs.

Get Connected to a Top-Rated Inpatient or Intensive Outpatient Program

Whether you are interested in inpatient rehab or an intensive outpatient program, First Step Behavioral Health is here to help. We offer both types of programs as standalone options or a continuum of care, ensuring you have access to the form of support you need.

To receive assistance in figuring out whether inpatient rehab or IOP is right for you, contact us today.


  1. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): HHS, SAMHSA Release 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Data, Retrieved January 2024 From

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