Inpatient Alcohol Detox vs Outpatient

By Midwest Detox Staff

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When you first make the decision to quit drinking, you might feel confused about what you actually need to do to get sober and stay sober for good. Detox is almost always the first step to take, and how you handle detox can have a huge impact on the rest of your recovery. But when you think of detox, you probably only think of a detox center where you stay for a few days or weeks while you overcome your withdrawal and learn the skills you need to continue living a sober life. However, the reality is that there is more than one way to detox, and they don’t all involve checking yourself into a facility full-time.

The two primary types of detox are inpatient and outpatient. We’ll go into greater detail about each of these options a little later on. But first, you’re probably wondering which method is right for you. In general, inpatient detox is the better option for people who have the time and resources to commit fully to their recovery. This is not to say that outpatient is ineffective, but years of research show that the risk of relapse is higher when patients rely solely on outpatient detox to begin their recovery[1].

So, which is better for you: inpatient or outpatient detox? What are the differences? Why does inpatient alcohol detox have lower relapse rates? Finally, where can you find a high-quality inpatient alcohol detox center in Wisconsin?

In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at the similarities and differences between inpatient and outpatient alcohol detox:

In This Article
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    What Is Inpatient Vs Outpatient Alcohol Detox?

    Choosing the right detox for yourself is extremely important. While some people start with inpatient detox and transition to outpatient detox, many choose one or the other. Let’s look at each to see which kind of alcohol detox would be best for you or someone important in your life.

    Outpatient Alcohol Detox

    Outpatient detox typically takes place at a hospital or detox center. Patients who pursue outpatient treatment will be expected to check in daily for varied lengths of time. The intensity of the program will vary from one provider to the next. Some outpatient programs may only have patients come in for as little as 30 minutes at a time, while others may have them come in for 6 hours or more each day.

    Treatment often begins with the initial assessment, which may include a physical examination, lab tests, and a discussion of the patient’s medical history. Further treatment will center on withdrawal management and counseling.

    The primary reason that people choose outpatient detox is convenience. Many outpatient programs allow you to schedule the times you can come in. For example, if you work during the day, you can find an outpatient alcohol detox center that offers evening sessions. Alternatively, you may only be available on certain days, in which case you can work sessions in around your schedule.

    As previously mentioned, outpatient alcohol detox tends to be less effective. This is because patients are not fully removed from triggers in their daily lives, so they are far more likely to relapse. Outpatient programs also tend to be much less intensive, but more affordable. In short, if you choose outpatient care alone, you’re essentially trading the efficacy of inpatient detox for the reduced cost and increased flexibility of outpatient detox. This is not to say that outpatient detox doesn’t work, but it is generally reserved for people with a mild-to-moderate addiction.

    Inpatient Alcohol Detox

    Inpatient alcohol detox requires patients to check into a detox center. During their treatment, patients will eat, sleep, and work on their recovery at the facility. While the intake process is similar to what patients experience at an outpatient center, everything thereafter is more intensive. Patients can expect round-the-clock care to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Inpatient detox also allows trained professionals to optimize care by managing and observing everything from diet to free-time activities.

    Benefits Of Inpatient Alcohol Detox Over Outpatient

    We’ve already discussed the fact that inpatient alcohol detox is more effective than outpatient detox, but it’s also important to consider some of the other benefits. First and foremost, inpatient detox is often the only viable option for people with severe alcohol addiction, though it is usually the best course of action for people with mild addictions as well. If you or a loved one have a severe addiction to alcohol, you’re at a much greater risk of experiencing life-threatening withdrawal symptoms like delirium tremens (DTs). Any other medical conditions associated with alcohol abuse, such as pancreatitis or cirrhosis of the liver, can be better monitored and treated with the 24/7 medical attention provided at an inpatient facility.

    One of the reasons that inpatient alcohol detox is more effective is the closed-off environment. With outpatient care, you can leave treatment, go home, and fall prey to all of the triggers of daily life. This greatly increases the risk of relapse. With inpatient detox, you are completely cut off from alcohol, with no choice but to give recovery your complete, undivided attention. As a result, you are more likely to leave inpatient alcohol detox with the tools you need to continue your recovery in rehab or an outpatient program.

    How Long Is Inpatient Alcohol Detox?

    Many people confuse alcohol detox with alcohol rehab, but the two are quite different. Detox is the first step you take when you quit drinking, and it is often followed by inpatient or outpatient rehab. In any case, rehab can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Alternatively, detox is much shorter.

    On average, inpatient alcohol detox lasts anywhere from 5 to 7 days, though this may vary from one program to the next. The severity of your condition and withdrawal symptoms can also affect the timeline. That said, most inpatient detox programs won’t last for much longer than a week, with very few exceeding 10 days.

    This is because detox is all about getting you through the initial withdrawal without relapsing. This is a vitally important stage of recovery, which is why it has its own dedicated treatment programs. Once you get past that first week or two without relapsing, you’re far more likely to continue your recovery successfully.

    Inpatient Alcohol Detox In Wisconsin

    Do you struggle with an alcohol use disorder? Are you or a loved one searching for a way to get clean of alcohol? Would you like to find a quality inpatient alcohol detox provider in Wisconsin? If so, Midwest Detox is the solution.

    At Midwest Detox, we offer top-tier inpatient detox for people struggling with alcohol addiction. You can check into our modern, comfortable facility and receive the best possible care from our trained staff. We know how to minimize withdrawal symptoms while maximizing your ability to overcome alcoholism. When you put your trust in us, we work day and night to make sure you start your recovery on the right foot.

    Are you in need of a private alcohol detox center to begin your recovery? If so, Midwest Detox can provide everything you need to detox in a safe, comfortable environment. Visit our site or call us directly at 414-409-5200 to take the first step toward sobriety.