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A Comparison: Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab Success Rates, Harmony Place

When you’re looking for addiction treatment, you’ll need to choose an inpatient or outpatient rehab program to begin your recovery process. Many people want to know a facility’s rehab success rate before committing. It’s important to understand that success has different meanings among individuals and addiction treatment centers. Success rates are only part of the picture because recovery is far more than just staying sober.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that most people who start and remain in treatment stop using substances and experience a greater quality of life. Each person’s results can vary widely, though. The NIDA notes: “[…] individual treatment outcomes depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s problems, the appropriateness of treatment and related services used to address those problems, and the quality of interaction between the patient and his or her treatment providers.”

At Harmony Place, we work with you to explore all the possibilities to facilitate your sustained sobriety from the start. We consult with you, your family, your doctor, and other interested individuals to design your best treatment plan. You’ll know what to expect and you’ll be empowered to take charge of your life.

What Are Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab Success Rates?

According to the National Institute of Health, approximately half of rehab patients remain clean after treatment. Addiction experts differ in determining how long a person must maintain positive behaviors to be considered recovered or successful. Most studies look at the first 12 months or less following treatment. Some equate recovery with abstinence, and others see it as the absence of certain negative behavior patterns.

How long a person needs treatment depends on each individual’s situation. Many people leave treatment too early, but the NIDA says that most addicts need at least three months in rehab to curtail or stop drug use. Longer treatment tends to produce the best outcomes.

Bear in mind that no rehab program can cure addiction. The NIDA states: “Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s disruptive effects on their brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.” Rehab programs aim to show people how to manage their illness and avoid relapse.

What Is the Success Rate of Inpatient Drug Rehab?

Approximately half of the individuals in inpatient drug programs remain clean when they leave. Addiction Relapse Prevention reported that relapse rates are about 50% within the first three months after completion of intensive inpatient programs. Because of addiction’s chronic nature, though, a one-time, short-term treatment isn’t typically effective in the long run. Many individuals will need multiple interventions and continual monitoring.

What is Inpatient Addiction Rehab?

Inpatient addiction rehab is often the first phase of treatment for severe SUD, during which clients reside at the treatment facility for 28 to 90 days. They receive a higher level of care than what therapy alone can provide. This typically includes detoxification and medical supervision during withdrawal. Programs also help residents confront their self-destructive beliefs and behaviors. 

Residential therapy enables patients to leave their normal surroundings. They become immersed in a healthy environment designed to facilitate physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. At Harmony Place, we begin relapse prevention immediately after detox to help you set your mind on continued success. 

What Is the Success Rate of Outpatient Drug Rehab?

As with inpatient rehab success rates, outpatient rehab success data varies. A 2016 study in Addictive Behaviors found that 52% of outpatient treatment patients completed their programs. In a 2021 investigation noted in JAMA, patients in a mobile telemedicine treatment program reduced opioid use by 32.84% at three months post-treatment.

What Is Outpatient Addiction Rehab?

Outpatient addiction rehab features freedom and flexibility so you can manage your home, work, and school life while getting treatment. It’s suitable for people whose addiction isn’t advanced so far as to require a stay in a residential program. Outpatient rehab also serves as the final phase in a formal treatment program. It may last anywhere from three months to over a year.

Outpatient rehab programs may include the same therapies as inpatient programs. You have the chance to practice what you’ve learned in the real world while in treatment. This option doesn’t include room and board, making it cheaper than inpatient and partial hospitalization programs. 

Once you’ve completed outpatient rehab at Harmony Place, we don’t leave you on your own. We can help you stay connected and supported with our alumni and aftercare services.

How Do Addiction Treatment Centers Measure Rehab Success Rates?

Since there are no universal standards of rehab success rates, addiction treatment centers create their own metrics for treatment effectiveness. They may count factors such as completion of a program, sobriety rates, internal studies, and client interviews. They might collect and process client follow-up data at certain times, like three, six, or 12 months post-treatment.

To help ensure your best possible outcome, look for a trustworthy facility that employs holistic, research-backed therapies. Their staff members should be professionals who specialize in the programs they offer. Effective programs aim to treat the whole person, not just the addiction.

How Can I Gauge an Addiction Program’s Effectiveness?

Although we don’t have federal standards for rehab success rates, the Recovery Research Institute lists several criteria for determining what a high-quality program should provide:

  • Comprehensive screening and assessment of substance use disorders (SUDs), medical history, and social networks
  • Integrated treatment approach that addresses co-occurring mental disorders and illnesses related to drug use
  • Continuum of care, including connecting patients to potential resources and peers
  • Clean, comfortable, and respectful environment
  • Inclusion of family and loved ones in treatment
  • Strategies to reduce dropout risk
  • Adequate staffing with ongoing training
  • Nationally recognized accreditation
  • Individualized treatments sensitive to demographic characteristics of patients
  • Reliable markers of patients’ outcomes during treatment

Another indication of a facility’s effectiveness is its investment in aftercare services. Aftercare should be an extension of the center’s formal program. A facility should continue to offer you and your family individual, group, or family therapy sessions as needed.

What Factors Increase the Risk of Relapse from Inpatient Treatment?

Even the best treatment program cannot promise that relapse won’t happen. Each individual has to cultivate the inner strength to continue fighting the urge to use again. Researchers have found several common factors that affect relapse risk after inpatient treatment:


A 2019 study published in Addictive Behaviors found an association between young age and a higher risk of relapse. When individuals start using drugs while their brains are still developing, the substances affect the brain’s decision-making areas more severely. According to, the earlier young people begin substance use, the more likely they will continue using and develop an addiction.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Patients in the study with co-occurring psychiatric disorders or a dual diagnosis were more likely to fall back on substance use. Mental illness is often related to impaired areas of the brain that are vital to recovery. A Translational Psychiatry article says that this makes it harder to navigate “the physical and psychological processes that accompany withdrawal from addiction.” 

Short-Term vs. Long-Term

In this study, long-term addiction treatment programs appeared to reduce relapse risk. People receiving short-term treatment of two to four months were more likely to relapse compared to those being treated at a long-term clinic for six to 12 months. Addiction Relapse Prevention states, “Sustained abstinence likely allows time for the brain to resume normal functioning that can lay the foundations for long-term success.”

Completing a Program

The Addictive Behaviors study observed that patients completing their inpatient program had a greater likelihood of remaining sober. Whether someone stays in treatment depends on factors pertaining to the program and the individual.

The NIDA lists several program success factors, such as:

  • The range of medical, psychiatric, and social services provided
  • How well the clinician establishes a positive relationship with the patient
  • Ensuring that the patient cooperates in developing the treatment plan and clearly understands treatment expectations
  • Transitioning to less intensive care as smoothly as possible

Individual factors include:

  • Motivation to stop using drugs
  • Degree of support from loved ones
  • Pressure from family, employers, or legal system

Reclaim and Recalibrate at Harmony Place

For accredited inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment, turn to Harmony Place. Our facilities throughout Los Angeles are designed to support you at whatever stage of addiction or recovery you find yourself. We’re here to help you build a personal relapse prevention plan for your long-term sobriety.

If you stumble along your path to sobriety, please don’t lose hope in yourself or the process. SUD shares similar relapse rates with asthma, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes, which all require continual professional care, monitoring, and adjusting. Let us help you discover how to experience the freedom you and your loved ones deserve.

Staying clean long-term might not be easy, but it is possible with compassionate, competent help. Ask us about our rehab success rates and evidence-based programs — we’re eager to tell you. Reclaim and recalibrate your life by reaching out to Harmony Place today.