Posted on March 5, 2018 in Recovery

What Are the Pros and Cons of Inpatient Alcohol Rehab?

Alcoholism is a serious health condition that requires targeted medical intervention. For problem drinkers in need of rehab alcohol inpatient treatment services are usually recommended, although outpatient programs are sometimes offered as an alternative.

Inpatient alcohol rehab is considered the gold standard in the treatment industry, but if you or your loved one is in need of rehab services you should analyze your options thoroughly before making a final decision. Inpatient rehab has both strengths and weaknesses, and you should consider all of them as you contemplate your next move.

The Advantages of Inpatient Rehab

As a 24-hour, fully supervised option for rehab, alcohol inpatient programs offer the highest level of protection from the ravages of addiction and the temptations that might undermine recovery. During inpatient treatment getting clean and sober becomes the equivalent of a full-time job, and the patient is provided with everything they need to get the job done right.

While enrolled in inpatient rehab, distractions are eliminated and a mindset devoted to recovery is cultivated and reinforced through medical detox, daily individual, group and/or family therapy, educational offerings and holistic healing practices that emphasize sustainable wellness. For a period of 30-90 days the recovering alcoholic is able to concentrate entirely on their healing, in an environment where others are focused on fulfilling the same mission.

The Disadvantages of Inpatient Rehab

The intensity and single-mindedness of inpatient rehab can help energize recovery from alcohol abuse, but the demands it places on patients can be a bit overwhelming at times.

Even if family therapy is included, inpatient rehab can be a lonely affair. It takes alcohol-dependent men and women away from their loved ones at a time when they’re feeling lost and vulnerable. This can be especially stressful if there are young children involved, or if other family members are experiencing serious personal or health problems that require support and attention.

Inpatient rehab also takes patients away from their jobs, school, work and other critical life responsibilities, which may be yet another source of worry and concern. Focusing entirely on recovery is great in theory, but in reality it can create difficulties that could undermine a commitment to sobriety.

Why Inpatient Alcohol Treatment is the Best Option for Most Alcoholics

It isn’t easy to leave home for a month, or even two or three months, as men and women in inpatient rehab programs are required to do. But unless complicating factors are especially urgent, inpatient treatment programs are the preferred choice in most cases.

An alcoholic’s capacity for work and the ability to care for their families are severely compromised by alcohol abuse, and inpatient treatment programs generally offer the best chance for a lasting recovery. Outpatient treatment programs can work, but the outcomes aren’t quite as good for most people suffering from an alcohol use disorder, who could get better results by making the initial stage of their recovery the exclusive focus of their attention.


“Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help” – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Struggling with drug or alcohol addiction?

Call us for a free, confidential consultation.