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 / Addiction Information / Inpatient / Inpatient vs. Residential Rehab

Difference Between Inpatient and Residential Drug Rehab

Substance abuse and its subsequent rehabilitation seem to be two pretty simple ideas. But things are not always as they appear. Lack of enough knowledge about addiction contributes to the widespread misconceptions that have become part of the fabric of public opinion. Even among those actively engaged in the rehabilitation process, there is a significant gap in knowledge about certain concepts and terminology, let alone the procedure itself.


For instance, the terms "inpatient treatment" and "residential treatment" for drug misuse are typical terminology that, despite the significant distinctions between the two, are often used interchangeably, which may lead to confusion.

Inpatient vs. Residential Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment

Caregivers and family members must educate themselves on the many therapy options available to their loved ones to make the best decisions. When it comes to the many services open to the general public, the unpleasant truth is that, in the end, you get what you pay for in terms of both the quality and quantity of those services.


Families with a loved one battling mental illness want them to get the best treatment possible at a reasonable price. As a result, you must review all treatment options before deciding on a program. Residential and inpatient treatment are two of the many options available.

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What is Inpatient Rehab?

After pretreatment and detoxification, the next rehab phase is often inpatient therapy, which may last anywhere from one to three months. The purpose of inpatient care is to offer medical stabilization around the clock. This is why this type of therapy is more akin to being in a hospital. 


The program is highly structured and adheres to a timetable, with possible components including individual and group therapy, withdrawal management, and peer support. During the time that you are participating in an inpatient therapy program, you will get comprehensive services, including:


  • Your addiction treatment team is available around the clock to assist.

  • The use of drugs (for medication-assisted treatment, or MAT) to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

  • Close monitoring to assure both your security and your comfort.

  • Simultaneous treatment for mental health problems that are concurrently present.

  • Counseling addresses the underlying issues that contribute to addiction.

Medically Reviewed:


Rolling Hills Recovery Center

Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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What is Residential Rehab?

Residential therapy often has a higher price tag than inpatient treatment because it includes more services and facilities. In residential care, the program expands its attention to multimodal therapies by guiding you through various therapeutic procedures, including cognitive behavioral therapy (also known as CBT), to address the root causes of your addiction.


The treatment also includes sub-acute detoxification for patients who continue to have cravings even after they have stopped using drugs.


Therefore, compared to inpatient therapy, residential treatment programs focus more on sustained abstinence from substance use. This involves introducing and putting into practice additional activities that are vital to the healing process throughout the rehab process.


Participating in activities that aid in the formation and bonding of solid support networks, the discovery of a sense of purpose, and other life skills that are crucial for the successful treatment of addiction

Consequently, while you are participating in residential care, you can anticipate receiving services:

  • Support from addiction treatment specialists around the clock.

  • Medications on an as-needed basis to reduce withdrawal and cravings.

  • Therapy for co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders (often known as dual diagnosis treatment)

  • Individual and group counseling sessions are designed to address the factors contributing to relapse.

  • After completing the detoxification process, some patients continued their treatment by moving on to residential care, which assists them in sustaining their sobriety.

Choosing Between Residential and Inpatient Treatment

There are several considerations when choosing between an inpatient and a residential treatment facility. Some of the most significant factors are the amount of time required, the availability of health insurance, and familial, social, vocational, and other commitments.

Comparing the Advantages of Inpatient and Residential Treatment for Addiction

Both residential and inpatient rehab care have unique advantages that they provide. Some people cannot afford to be away from their families, homes, jobs, and other obligations in a residential treatment rehab center for an extended period. Others, on the other hand, may need this environment to learn how to deal with drug misuse and mental health difficulties and stabilize themselves physically.

It is comforting to know that your sobriety is being closely watched and that you are surrounded by others who share your goal of recovery from substance abuse. This is what residential care provides.


Inpatient care, on the other hand, allows patients to return to society faster than residential care. It is because inpatient therapy takes less time. After completing the treatment, you will also be able to connect with community services, mental health care, and medical care to assist you in maintaining your sobriety long after you leave the treatment center.

Some benefits of inpatient care include local support groups, outpatient therapy for mental health issues, doctors who may provide pharmacological intervention, and other community resources. Thus, this program will allow you to retain your present living arrangements and continue to take care of your day-to-day responsibilities, which is the only significant change that will occur.


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Do not be afraid to contact Rolling Hills Recovery Center if you or a loved one needs help picking a treatment option.


When looking for a rehab treatment program, you must know the many possibilities available. We understand that residential therapy and inpatient treatment have many of the same characteristics. Both programs are helpful to patients, yet their treatment approaches and results are distinct. We'll help you decide what the best plan of action is!

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Inpatient vs. residential alcohol and drug addiction treatment
What is Inpatient Rehab
What is Residential Rehab
Choosing Between Residential and Inpatient Treatment

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Comparing the advantages of inpatient and residential treatment for addiction
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