When individuals are seeking treatment for substance abuse or addiction, they are faced with the decision of choosing between two main types of programs: inpatient programs and outpatient programs. 

These programs aim to provide individuals with the necessary support and resources to help them embark on their journey to recovery. It’s important to note that these two options differ from each other significantly in terms of their intensity, duration and level of care that they offer to the individuals seeking help. Whether inpatient mental health treatment or outpatient is right for you can come down to several factors, including price, personal preference, time commitment and so on.

What is an Inpatient Program?

An inpatient program, which is also referred to as residential treatment, is a comprehensive and structured form of therapy that requires individuals to reside at a specialized treatment facility for a specific duration of time. This immersive form of treatment is meticulously tailored to meet the unique needs and requirements of each individual seeking assistance. 

The duration of these programs can range from as short as 28 days to as long as six months, with the timeframe being determined based on the specific needs of each participant and their overall progress throughout the treatment process.

Intensity of Care

Inpatient treatment programs offer the highest level of care and support for individuals seeking treatment for substance abuse or addiction. This is because individuals are living at the facility and have access to 24/7 medical and emotional support.

Inpatient programs are ideal for individuals who have a severe addiction, co-occurring mental health disorder or have relapsed after previous attempts at recovery. The intensive nature of inpatient programs allows for a structured and controlled environment, which can be beneficial for those who need a higher level of care.

Treatment Approach

Inpatient programs typically offer a variety of evidence-based treatments, such as individual therapy, group therapy and medication management. These programs also often incorporate holistic approaches, such as yoga, meditation and art therapy, to address the mind, body and spirit.

The treatment approach in inpatient programs is tailored to each individual’s needs and may change throughout the course of their stay. This allows for a personalized and comprehensive approach to recovery.


Inpatient programs, with their round-the-clock care and abundant resources, tend to have a higher price tag compared to outpatient programs. The comprehensive support and constant availability of medical professionals contribute to the increased costs. However, it is essential to acknowledge that many insurance plans do provide coverage for a significant portion of the expenses incurred in inpatient programs. In addition to insurance coverage, numerous facilities also offer flexible payment plans or financial assistance programs, thus alleviating the burden of the overall cost for individuals seeking treatment.

What is an Outpatient Program?

Outpatient treatment programs involve attending treatment sessions at a facility while living at home or in a sober living environment. These programs typically range from three to six hours per day, three to five days per week and can last anywhere from three to six months.

Intensity of Care

Outpatient programs offer a lower level of care compared to inpatient programs. This is because individuals are not living at the facility and do not have access to 24/7 support. However, outpatient programs still provide a structured and supportive environment for individuals seeking treatment.

Outpatient programs are ideal for individuals who have a mild to moderate addiction, have completed an inpatient program or have a strong support system at home. These programs allow individuals to continue with their daily responsibilities while receiving treatment.

Treatment Approach

Outpatient mental health treatment offers similar evidence-based treatments as inpatient programs, but the frequency and intensity may vary. For example, an individual may attend individual therapy once a week and group therapy twice a week.

Outpatient programs also offer flexibility in terms of scheduling, allowing individuals to attend treatment sessions while still maintaining their daily responsibilities. This can be beneficial for those who cannot take an extended leave from work or school.


Outpatient programs, in comparison to inpatient programs, exhibit a distinct advantage with regards to their affordability, given that they do not necessitate round-the-clock care and an extensive allocation of resources. It is important to note, however, that the actual cost of these outpatient programs may fluctuate depending on factors such as the frequency at which treatment sessions are conducted and the duration for which they are administered. Moreover, it is worth highlighting that numerous insurance plans embody a provision wherein they contribute a portion of the expenses incurred for outpatient programs, further enhancing their economic feasibility.

Which Program is Right for Me?

When faced with the decision of choosing between inpatient and outpatient programs, it is crucial to carefully evaluate and consider various factors that revolve around the unique needs and circumstances of the individual in question. By taking into account these significant elements, you can make an informed decision regarding which program would be most suitable for yourself or your loved one in terms of recovery and overall well-being.

Severity of Addiction

The severity of addiction is an important factor to consider when choosing between inpatient and outpatient programs. Inpatient programs are typically recommended for individuals with a severe addiction, as they offer a higher level of care and support.

Outpatient programs may be more suitable for individuals with a mild to moderate addiction, as they offer a lower level of care but still provide structure and support.

Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety, may benefit from an inpatient program. These programs offer access to mental health professionals and can provide a more comprehensive approach to treating both addiction and mental health.

However, outpatient programs can also address co-occurring disorders through individual therapy and medication management. It is important to discuss any mental health concerns with a treatment professional to determine the best course of action.

Support System

Having a strong support system can be beneficial for individuals in recovery. Inpatient programs offer a supportive and structured environment, which can be helpful for those who do not have a strong support system at home.

Outpatient programs may be a better option for individuals with a strong support system at home, as they can continue to receive treatment while also having the support of loved ones.

Personal Preferences

Personal preferences should also be taken into consideration when choosing between inpatient and outpatient programs. Some individuals may prefer the structure and intensity of an inpatient program, while others may prefer the flexibility and independence of an outpatient program.

It is important to discuss personal preferences with a treatment professional to determine the best fit for the individual.

Get Help Today

Old Vineyard offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment services for those seeking help. Old Vineyard offers adolescent, adult and senior-focused programs, to tailor to a large variety of needs. You can call, or schedule an assessment to get started with Old Vineyard today.

If you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or get to the nearest emergency room.

If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, call 988 or get to the nearest emergency room.


Old Vineyard Behavioral Health Services

Old Vineyard Behavioral Health Services is a treatment center that provides compassionate inpatient and outpatient treatment to help those achieve meaningful mental health and wellness. We treat a variety of behavioral health disorders including trauma, depression, mood disorders and more.

Our team of dedicated staff pride themselves on creating a safe and welcoming environment for all of our patients and their loved ones. Some of our services include our treatment, specialty and outpatient programs. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, we provide a beautiful, campus-like atmosphere.

To schedule a consultation with us or for more information, please call 855-602-5920.