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Is Inpatient or Outpatient Drug Rehab Best for Young Adults?

inpatient and outpatient young adult drug rehab

When your son or daughter is struggling with substance abuse, it can feel like a complete crisis. Parents often experience an overwhelming range of emotions, from anger and disappointment, to fear, worry, and stress. On top of this all, you must make the difficult decision to seek professional help. Although your child is now a young adult, you might feel it is your duty to find the best drug rehab program. This has prompted the question, “Is inpatient rehab or outpatient rehab more effective for young adults?”

As a parent, your first step in choosing a rehab center for your young adult is to speak with a clinician or treatment provider. It is important to for a professional to assess your son or daughter’s needs, and the level of treatment recommended to help them into recovery. Of course, it is also important for you to understand the types of young adult drug treatment out there, and which will be most effective in treating your loved one’s substance abuse.

To help you get educated on young adult drug rehab and the different programs out there, Turnbridge weighs the possibilities of inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab below.

Inpatient and Outpatient Drug Rehab: An Overview

Inpatient drug rehab is a residential treatment program designed to provide a safe space for young adults to heal from substance use mental health disorders. Inpatient rehab means young adults live at the place in which they are also receiving therapy. 

Outpatient drug rehab is a treatment program consisting of regular meetings and counseling sessions, where young adults in recovery can go to receive treatment but also return home each night. In other words, young adults live at home and receive drug treatment services at an outpatient facility.

When considering drug rehab for young adults, it is important to recognize that both inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment have their own benefits. Both types of programs have the same goal of helping young adults recover and find a healthier, more productive way of living. Both inpatient and outpatient rehab programs can be effective in treating young adults. Ultimately, the best type of young adult drug rehab for your loved one will depend on their unique needs. Consider the following.

Inpatient Drug Rehab is Best for Young Adults who:

  • Do not have a safe, substance-free home environment. 

Ask yourself, honestly, if your loved one will be safe and supported where they are now. Do they live at home, or on their own? Do they live at college most of the time? Are you aware of your young adult’s whereabouts, and where they hang out when not at work or school? The foundation of recovery relies on a safe, secure, and stable place where individuals can heal from their drug using disorder. This place must be drug and substance-free, which means no alcohol, smoking, or other potentially triggering factors. If a drug-free and pressure-free environment is not guaranteed, an inpatient rehab program will be the most effective choice.

  • Are surrounded by others drinking and using drugs. 

Along with a safe environment, young adults need to be fully supported in their recovery. This means that the people surrounding your loved one must be respectful of their new path. If your son or daughter is in a place where they will still feel connected to old drug-using friends or pressured by college drinking buddies, it could trigger relapse. This is another reason to consider inpatient rehab.

  • Need to establish structure in their lives.

Many young adults struggling with drinking and drug use have lost control over their lives. This is, in part, due to the changes in the brain caused by substance addiction. Those who are severely substance-dependent will use drugs and alcohol compulsively, just to get through the day. As a result, many young adults who are addicted will benefit from an inpatient setting, where they can re-learn healthy habits and how to structure their days. Inpatient rehab programs emphasize the importance of routines for young adults, filling the days with activities, exercise, healthy eating, therapy, group meetings, and more. With this structure comes accountability, productivity, and improved mental health.

  • Are struggling with a co-occurring, mental health disorder.

Inpatient drug rehab is recommended for young adults battling a co-occurring mental health disorder alongside their drug abuse. When two disorders co-occur, this is called dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis requires highly specialized and integrated treatment, due to the complex, overlapping effects that these disorders create in the brain. In order to properly treat co-occurring disorders, they need to be treated in an integrated, inpatient setting where full healing is at the core of the program. Turnbridge offers an inpatient dual diagnosis treatment program for young adults. In this treatment program, multiple therapies (such as CBT and DBT) are used to help young adults cope with their symptoms and understand the root of their substance use and mental health struggles.

  • Will benefit from round-the-clock care.

You know your son or daughter best, and likely already have a good idea of their needs in treatment. If you have spoken with a clinical professional, you may also know the severity of your loved one’s drug problem. Thus, you likely know whether or not your young adult would benefit from regular support and care. One key benefit of inpatient young adult rehab is that it offers 24-hour care. Residents in this type of program always have access to support staff, clinical help, and the accountability of other peers in recovery.

  • Have tried outpatient treatment but have since relapsed.

Unfortunately, substance addiction is a chronic and often relapsing disease. When a person does not have a stable environment or sober support system, relapse becomes more likely. Relapse is not uncommon, and its important to recognize that relapse does not mean failure. It also does not mean that treatment has failed. Typically, relapse indicates that another type of treatment approach would be more effective for a young adult. If your loved one has tried outpatient rehab in the past, but has since relapsed, this can be a good indicator that an inpatient rehab program is the next step.

Outpatient Rehab Programs are Recommended for Young Adults who:

  • Will thrive in their current home environment. 

If your loved one lives in a place that is free of substances (drugs and alcohol), free of outside pressures, and full of supportive people who respect their sobriety, your young adult will likely be successful in an outpatient rehab program. One benefit of outpatient treatment is that clients can live at home, in a place they feel comfortable, while still getting professional care. This also enables young adults to stay close to friends and family who support their recovery. You will just want to ensure there are no toxic relationships involved that could disrupt your loved one’s progress.

  • Are in the very early stages of a substance addiction.

Often, people will try drugs or alcohol in their early teen and young adult years. When experimenting with drugs and alcohol turns into more regular or prolonged use, it poses danger to a young person’s brain health and functioning. Substance abuse before age 25 can disrupt the maturation of the brain, and make a person more vulnerable to addiction. However, if caught early, much of this damage and risk can be prevented. If your son or daughter is in the early stages of the addiction cycle, or struggling with a less severe substance use disorder according to your clinician, an outpatient rehab program is a good choice. Outpatient treatment will enable your young adult to continue going to school, living at home, while receiving the therapy they need to stop using.

Principles to Look for in Any Young Adult Rehab Program

At the end of the day, when choosing a young adult rehab program, it is important to ensure the program meets criteria set forth by experts in the field. Young adults and teenagers have unique needs in treatment when compared to adults. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, for example, outlines the key principles that a young adult and teen treatment program should possess, in order to be effective. These principles can apply to outpatient and inpatient treatment, and include:

  • Programs are at least 90 days in length, with extended care options available.
  • Programs are tailored to the unique needs of each client, considering all their needs beyond drug use (such as age, gender, medical history, legal troubles, mental health, and more).
  • Treatment focuses on the whole person, not just the drug use – meaning psychological, medical, and social well-being are also considered.
  • Behavioral therapies are utilized in a young adult treatment setting.
  • Family and the community are involved in the treatment process, where young adults and teens can benefit from this support even while in rehab.
  • Mental health treatment services are offered, as many issues with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more will start in the teen and young adult years.
  • Issues such as trauma, abuse, violence, and thoughts of suicide are also addressed in treatment.
  • Drug use is monitored, whether it is an inpatient or outpatient rehab program. If a young adult relapses without the rehab center knowing, it could escalate into a more severe addiction or overdose.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse also emphasizes the importance of professional, drug use intervention for young people. Even if a teen or young adult is not addicted to a drug, they can still benefit from an inpatient or outpatient rehab program. As stated by the NIDA:

“Substance use disorders range from problematic use to addiction and can be treated successfully at any stage, and at any age. For young people, any drug use (even if it seems like only “experimentation”), is cause for concern, as it exposes them to dangers from the drug and associated risky behaviors and may lead to more drug use in the future. Parents and other adults should monitor young people and not underestimate the significance of what may appear as isolated instances of drug taking.”

Choosing a Drug Rehab for Young Adults

As a parent, you must put your own desires aside and think about what is best for your son or daughter. Choosing the right treatment program now can set your loved one up for success long-term. While outpatient rehab can provide young adults more flexibility and autonomy in their recovery, including the ability to go to work and school, there are also many benefits of inpatient treatment. Inpatient rehab is the best choice for young adults with poor support systems, unstable living situations, and/or mental health struggles that would be best addressed with more watchful, integrated care.

Turnbridge is a young adult drug treatment center, helping young men and women through the recovery process. To learn about the outpatient care program and inpatient treatment programs available at Turnbridge, please do not hesitate to reach out. Call 877-581-1793 today.