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The Pros and Cons of Inpatient Treatment

It’s hard to argue against the fact that treatment is necessary for an addict that is ready to reclaim their life and live in recovery. But, with so many forms of treatment available, the real question is which one is the right fit?

Inpatient treatment definitely has many advantages, with therapists and treatment being available on a 24/7 basis.  Unfortunately, there is no solid definition of what constitutes “rehab.” Programs and parameters of success vary, leaving no hard and specific statistics on success rates. Despite the fact that the Centers for Disease Control estimate that 60%-80% off all patients relapse within the first two years, there are many positives about residential treatment.

A residential treatment program addresses both the physical and mental health needs, along with the substance abuse disorder. Most inpatient programs perform a physical and blood test to test for infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, Hepatitis C, and HIV. Treatment options are discussed for positive tests. Also, dual diagnosis (having both a substance abuse disorder and a mental health issue) is not uncommon and both are treated within the inpatient facility. According to the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI), 53% of those suffering with a drug addiction also have at least one serious mental disorder. This is why it is so important that dual diagnosis issues be addressed at every inpatient facility.

Some of the other pros include the fact that a patient is surrounded by a supportive, therapeutic community 24 hours a day. You are not left alone to deal with your addiction or negative thoughts. There are also bonds created that, for some of us, are the first meaningful interactions we have had in a long time. Trust is built among group members or other clients in the program as you navigate through this terrifying, difficult journey together. However, these pros can also be cons, depending on the people you choose to befriend.

As mentioned above, sometimes pros can become cons. You will never be more vulnerable than when you are fresh out of detox, new to recovery, and working to figure out who you really are without drugs. If you create bonds with people that are not serious about recovery you could end up relapsing with them, either in or out of the facility. There is drug use in most rehabs. This is just a fact that you have to be strong enough to handle. Drugs become a security blanket of sorts for most addicts. The thought of being without them after daily use for months, years, or even decades, is terrifying. Also, many people become very close in rehab and plan to meet when they get out, sometimes with the best intentions (“Hey, we will go catch a meeting together!”). Unfortunately, those meetings sometimes never happen and you end up getting high with them instead. It is good to open up and create bonds, but proceed with caution.

Another huge con for most of us is that we have kids, jobs, school, or other responsibilities. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to be put on hold for 30+ days. Often, our employers are not even aware of our problem and would fire us if they found out.  So not only do we need a lot of time off, we need to invent a lie as to why. This is an obstacle that many addicts are faced with when they finally agree to get help. I personally know of at least 10 people that continued to use because they just could not find a way around their responsibilities at home.

At the end of the day, which treatment is the right one for you is a personal choice that takes research, planning, and consideration. It is always best to make a physical list of pros and cons to reflect upon and to help you make the most informed decision possible. For instance, if the cons above were an issue for you, perhaps the better option would be sedation-assisted detox. This is three days long, you are not in contact with other clients, and that in combination with medication-assisted treatment (Vivitrol), and a comprehensive aftercare plan, you eliminate nearly all the obstacles of inpatient treatment.

This type of treatment may be a better fit for your life when the time is right. It just depends on the individual and their life. Regardless of what pathway, treatment is an undisputed pathway to truly approach an addiction issue.

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