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Residential v Outpatient Treatment: Why the Former Wins

March 9, 2015

In our experience the long term recovery success rates are substantially higher for those completing a full residential rehabilitation program as opposed on an ‘outpatient basis’.

Here’s why:

#1:  Supervised Detox - A clinic setting provides far greater comfort and safety for those concerned about the detox process itself in regard to withdrawals, cravings, etc. Full-time qualified care and attention is not usually achievable on an outpatient basis.

#2:  The Rehab Program Itself - The immersive environment in a residential setting has multiple benefits for those seeking long term recovery. An individual's mindset can really change toward that of group support, and 12 step work (if appropriate), when fully absorbed in a complete detox, therapy and aftercare environment. It's difficult to achieve the same level of change in an outpatient program.

#3:  Removes Triggers - Being in a full time residential setting removes the everyday triggers the patient normally experiences as part of their addictive cycle. Time and time again, we've seen that being removed from these provides the emotional breathing space required to recognise the triggers for what they are and begin to put healthier strategies in place as well as establish new, healthier boundaries, etc.

#4:  Early Integration - Integrating clients into local recovery meetings, aftercare meetups, etc., even whilst still in a residential setting, is a great way to build new, healthier coping mechanisms as a habit for when clients are discharged. This assistance gives individuals the skills necessary to engage in meetings and other mutual aid support networks later, but they are learned whilst still under the professional care of a clinic. It would be difficult to pass these skills on in a non-residential setting.

#5:  Recovery is a Team Sport - Witnessing the example of others in recovery, at their point in the journey, provides a vision of what's possible later. This is hugely motivational as well as providing the group support that is the signature of long term recovery.

#6:  Consistency - Using an outpatient process and going home at night to the same old triggers and life issues can result in an emotional reverse of work already done which can prolong the whole process. Consistent therapeutic work in a residential setting, especially when working with the same therapists, saves time and helps cement progress made in the psychological work required to fully resolve an addictive pattern.

#7:  Apples to Apples - A full residential setting for a period of weeks allows an individual to begin comparing themselves and their recovery progress against others at the same stage. This is a far healthier gauge to measure progress rather than the fragmented interactions, most likely in a non-clinic setting, and is far more likely to result in healthier emotional conclusions about one's own progress on the recovery journey.



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