Detox Programs: Residential vs. Outpatient Treatment

If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance abuse disorder (SUD) and you are looking for treatment options, you may not know where to start. There are many facilities and treatment programs available to help you begin the recovery journey. 

The first step in treating a SUD is detoxification. Detoxing creates a foundation on which to begin building sobriety. It is the process of removing all addictive substances from the body. Detoxification ensures that the individual is physically stable enough to begin and fully participate in a treatment program. The detoxing process will be unique to each individual and it can take weeks or even months for the body to fully recover from withdrawal symptoms. The degree to which someone will experience withdrawal depends on the length of time the individual has been abusing drugs or alcohol and the type of substance consumed.  

Different Types of Detox Treatment Programs

There are two safe ways to detox from substance abuse. 

#1. Residential Detox Programs: Residential programs are held on-site at treatment centers. An individual will reside for a period of time at a facility and receive around-the-clock, on-site medical supervision. 

#2. Outpatient Detox Programs: Held by treatment centers, this type of detox program allows individuals to undergo supervised treatment during the day or evening, providing clients with the ability to return to their own residences following treatment. The flexibility of these programs allows those with existing commitments and responsibilities to keep them while they receive the help and support needed to achieve sobriety.

Residential and outpatient detox programs focus on safely helping clients return to healthy lives free from substance abuse. There are advantages that should be considered with each option. When making a decision, choose the option which will best support your long-term recovery goals. 

Residential Detox Programs 

Residential detox programs offer medically supervised detoxification in a safe and comfortable environment under the supervision of medical professionals. Residential treatment programs will have varying durations of stay depending on the facility you choose. Some treatment centers have a minimum requirement of a 30-day stay, while others will allow their residential programs to last 90+ days depending on medical necessity. 

The advantage of a residential medically supervised detox is that the treatment center will make the withdrawal period as comfortable as possible. There will be medical professionals on-site 24-hours a day, available to help you with any of your needs. A significant benefit of a residential program is that clients are less likely to be tempted by the environmental triggers or urges that led to their substance abuse. 

You should consider a residential detox program if: 

  • You have been unsuccessful in detoxing on your own
  • You have reached your lowest point and feel like giving up
  • There is a constant urge to continue abusing substances
  • You need structure and motivation
  • You need to detox from multiple substances
  • Previous outpatient treatment did not work

Outpatient Detox Programs

Outpatient detox programs are more flexible and will vary from facility to facility. Individuals who participate in outpatient programs are expected to attend these programs in person at their desired treatment center. 

Not all outpatient detox programs are the same, so you must research the program that best fits your needs. While there are programs that provide rigorous and structured support, sometimes comparable to residential programs, others are low-intensity, only offering educational resources to support your detox efforts.

Outpatient detox programs can be offered during the daytime, evening hours, or both. For many people, outpatient treatment is the option that works best for their lifestyle and is most adaptable for their needs. Treatments can be scheduled around professional, educational, or family commitments.

You should consider an outpatient detox program if: 

  • You have less severe addictions
  • You need to maintain a daily routine
  • You have a solid support system of family and friends
  • You do not do well with highly structured environments
  • Costs of residential programs are prohibitive

Avoid Detoxing on Your Own

Detoxing on your own and/or abruptly stopping the use of drugs or alcohol without medical supervision (going “cold turkey”) could lead to serious or even deadly complications such as severe dehydration, seizures, acute alcohol withdrawal, or even death.

Next Steps

When deciding if a residential or outpatient detox program will work best for you, our trained professionals can help you make an informed decision. It is never too late to get help for an addiction and find the detox program suitable for your needs. Recovery is possible for anyone at any time.

Detox is the foundation of success in recovery. It is the process of removing all addictive substances (both drugs and alcohol) from the body. Participating in either a residential or outpatient detox program is the safest way to detox from substance abuse. Both programs are focused on the overall health and well-being of the individual. Residential programs offer a structured program with 24-hour care from medical professionals that will make you as comfortable as possible during the detox. Outpatient programs are more flexible and have treatment programs that can work with your schedule. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. At South Florida Intervention, we have a staff of trained professionals to help you manage your treatment plan. Learn more about how we can help you or your loved ones lead happy, healthy lives while maintaining long-term sobriety. Give us a call today at (202) 390-2273.