Inpatient vs. Outpatient Benzo Rehab: Which Is Right for You?

Almost 13% of U.S. adults use benzodiazepines, while around 2% abuse them. Furthermore, many people also develop a benzo addiction, which can have significant negative consequences on the mind and body. The best way to recover from a benzo addiction is to attend benzo rehab, of course. However, there are several treatment types available to choose from, primarily inpatient and outpatient treatment. When considering inpatient vs. outpatient benzo rehabyou will need to consider the severity of your addiction, the level of support from family and friends, as well as your time and financial resources. However, before signing in for treatment, you may also want to learn more about benzo addiction and the difference between the two treatment types. Don’t worry, though, we will explain all of that and more!

What does benzo addiction do to the body and mind?

Even though benzos are prescription medications, they can have a significant negative impact on the body and mind if abused. Unfortunately, it is rather easy to develop a benzo addiction, even if you follow the prescribed dosage. Therefore, it is best to understand what benzos actually are, as well as the effects they may have on the body and mind.

What are benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are medications that are used to help people relax. They are basically tranquilizers in pill form. Benzos are usually prescribed to people with severe anxiety, panic disorders, sleeping issues, epilepsy, and acute alcohol withdrawal. While there may be more than a dozen different prescription benzos on the market, all of them fall under two categories: Hypnotics and Anxiolytics.

two types of benzos
There are many benzo variations but only two types.

Hypnotic benzos are shorter-acting and usually prescribed for people with sleeping problems or similar problems. Anxiolytics, on the other hand, are longer-acting benzos that are used to treat anxiety and similar mental health disorders. The most common benzo is Xanax, with Klonopin and Valium being close second and third. Some of the other benzos include Restoril, Librium, Halcion, Dalmane, and Ativan.

Benzos are also sometimes used in addiction treatment, although very sparingly. Most long term drug rehab Pennsylvania centers are reluctant to administer benzos unless there is a specific need for them. This is due to the fact that benzos, even when administered carefully, have the potential to cause negative changes to the body and mind.

Effects of benzodiazepines on the body and mind

The way that benzos affect the body is by slowing down its vital functions. Benzos slow down heart and breath rates even with the prescribed dosage. When abused, however, benzos have the potential to even stop the heart! Furthermore, benzos also affect the liver, as it is the organ responsible for metabolizing them. Abusing benzos can cause damage to liver tissue, as well as cause the liver to be dysfunctional. This is why checking into one of the Pennsylvania substance abuse treatment programs for benzo addiction is so critical. On your own, you may not be able to determine the amount of damage that benzos are doing to your body.

Long-term addiction to benzos can also create numerous long-term side effects, such as:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weak pulse
  • Muscle weakness
  • Seizures
  • Mental health issues

The way that benzos affect the mind is by reducing activity in several areas of the brain. This is done by increasing a certain brain chemical called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Our brain naturally produces GABA to “slow things down” and allow us to deal with difficult situations. What benzos do is forcibly tell our brain to release more GABA. This has a significant short-term calming effect and may cause a person to feel elated, tranquil, serene, peaceful, or undisturbed. Most people who suffer from benzo use disorder try to replicate these effects by simply taking more of the drug.

a hammock
Benzos can make a person feel tranquil and serene.

However, benzos are extremely addictive, and our body builds tolerance to them rather fast. This usually leads to a person increasing their dosage over time to achieve the same effect.

Long-term effects of benzos on the mind

Benzodiazepines are simply not meant for long-term usage. Prolonged benzo use is very dangerous, and it can lead to:

  • Cognitive decline
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cognitive impairment

Using benzos for more than a few months will usually create an addiction. When this happens, the brain will rely on benzos to produce GABA. What this does is makes the person feel much more anxious and fearful than before. Of course, once this happens, the stress levels usually skyrocket as well.

Benzo addiction, while being quite dangerous, is inherently treatable. There are numerous therapy options available, such as medication assisted treatment Pennsylvania, under two treatment types. When it comes to treatment at a treatment center, you will have to choose between an inpatient and an outpatient setting. They are quite different from one another and you might want to fully understand the difference before committing to treatment.

The difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab programs

When it comes to inpatient and outpatient treatment, each offers distinct benefits. Inpatient treatment offers a comprehensive treatment approach where you will be staying inside a medical facility for the duration of your treatment. Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, allows you to spend some (or most) of your time at your own home. While inpatient treatment is singular, outpatient treatment has several variations, including:

The difference between outpatient treatment options lies in the time spent within the facility. The less intensive the program, the less time you will need to spend in the treatment center. However, some outpatient treatment options come very close to inpatient treatment. When it comes to partial hospitalization programs, for example, the only difference between them and inpatient treatment is that the patient gets to sleep at their own home.

two people discussing inpatient vs. outpatient benzo rehab
Both inpatient and outpatient treatment usually feature talk therapy.

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment have their share of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these pros and cons will allow you to choose the program that can benefit you the most.

Advantages and disadvantages of inpatient and outpatient rehab programs

The decision between inpatient vs. outpatient benzo rehab will inevitably be made based on your needs. However, each treatment type has its inherent benefits. The benefits that inpatient treatment brings to the proverbial table include:

  • 24-hour care, support, and monitoring
  • Extremely structured environment
  • Easy access to a range of therapies and recreational activities

Furthermore, residential drug treatment Pennsylvania centers will provide numerous amenities for their patients, including gyms, swimming pools, saunas, etc.

Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, provides the following benefits:

  • The ability to customize your treatment according to your schedule
  • Wide range of treatment intensities

Of course, outpatient treatment is also quite cheaper than inpatient treatment. Unfortunately, the cost of the treatment is usually the deciding factor for most people.

As for the disadvantages, inpatient treatment comes with the following cons:

  • Inability to work or take care of dependents
  • Higher treatment cost

Outpatient treatment has the following downsides:

  • Lack of 24-7 medical supervision
  • Exposure to everyday stressors
  • Less structured than inpatient treatment

Deciding between the two treatment types will usually come down to evaluating your needs, your goals, and your current situation. There might be other factors that might influence your decision, as well.

person thinking carefully about inpatient vs. outpatient benzo rehab
Choosing between inpatient vs. outpatient benzo rehab will require some thinking.

Factors to consider when choosing between inpatient and outpatient rehab programs

When choosing between inpatient vs. outpatient benzo rehab, you will want to consider the following:

  • Severity of addiction
  • Level of support from family and friends
  • Time
  • Financial resources

If your addiction is exceptionally severe, your choice is all but made for you. However, most benzo addictions are not as severe as to warrant inpatient treatment. That being said, having 24-7 monitoring and numerous therapy types readily available is extremely beneficial.

You can also combine the two. Many people start their addiction treatment in an inpatient setting and then “graduate” to outpatient treatment. The length of the treatment itself will vary on the patient’s needs and the severity of their addiction. The more severe the addiction, the longer the treatment and vice versa. On average, benzo rehab lasts between three weeks and several months.

To get the most out of benzo rehab, you will want to combine various therapy types with counseling. That will provide you with the best chance of attaining a long-lasting recovery.

Role of therapy and counseling in benzo rehab

Benzo rehab is much more than simply overcoming your physical addiction to benzodiazepines. Your situation prior to treatment led to you developing a benzo addiction. Therefore, your treatment needs to help you deal with the root cause of addiction, as well as its consequences. More often than not, benzo addiction has a co-occurring mental health disorder (anxiety, depression, etc.), which requires a visit to one of the dual diagnosis treatment centers Pennsylvania. During the course of the treatment, depending on your case, you will have access to various therapy types. Some of the most common therapy types used in benzo rehab include:

  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
  • CM (Contingency Management)
  • MET (Motivational Enhancement Therapy)
two people attending a counseling session
Counseling is often a key component of benzo rehab programs.

The role of these therapies is to help you change how you think (CBT), provide you with positive reinforcement (CM), or help manage feelings of ambivalence (MET). Rehab counseling, on the other hand, can help encourage your recovery, help you develop a relapse prevention plan, and refer you to outside support groups. A benzo addiction counselor will also help create a supportive environment that can help you achieve success and become more resilient to setbacks.

Tips for preparing for rehab

After you decide on either inpatient or outpatient treatment, you will want to make sure that you get the most out of your choice. To do so, you will want to:

  • Set clear goals
  • Find support
  • Take care of work, family, and finances

Going to benzo rehab is your own, personal, journey. That means that you need to set clear goals before you arrive at the treatment center. Of course, the ultimate goal is to become fully sober and lead a fulfilling life, but you will want to start smaller. The reason why goals are so important is that they will provide you with motivation and will help you create a new and improved mindset.

To set great goals, you may want to utilize the SMART technique. Basically, you will want your goals to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound
two hands joined together
Rehab is all about accomplishing your goals.

Remember, your goals are unique to you. Never try to adopt someone else’s goals, go with what makes sense for your particular journey. If you need help setting proper goals, the best thing is to talk to a benzo addiction counselor.

Aside from goals, you will also want to have a support mechanism in place before you check into rehab, whether inpatient or outpatient. You can get support from various people such as your friends and family members, community members, or even local businesses. The more support you have, the better!

Lastly, you will also want to make sure that you can fully commit to treatment. When it comes to inpatient vs. outpatient benzo rehab, both treatment types require full commitment from their patients. This means that you will want to make sure that your work, family, and finances are all in accordance with your treatment goals.

Aftercare options and the importance of continuing treatment and support after rehab

Benzo addiction recovery is not over once you finish your rehab at a treatment center. In fact, some people argue that this is the time when your recovery actually starts. Recovering from any addiction is an ongoing process, one that you may need to manage for the rest of your life. Therefore, it is extremely important that you continue treatment even after your rehab is over. There are several options available to you, including:

Any of these options may help you maintain sobriety and prevent relapse, but it is always best if you combine them together. In other words, the more support and treatment options you have, the better.

When it comes to inpatient vs. outpatient benzo rehab, what is truly important is that you consider your entire situation. It is not a choice you can make lightly, as the continuation of your future sobriety may depend on it!

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