Call Center

GET A CALL BACK

Information on Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment

Created On Tuesday, 12, January 2016
Modified On Friday, 17, September 2021

Looking for Tele-counseling? Get counseling safely from your home

GET A CALL BACK
Help is Possible

This is a picture with the word Outpatient on itOutpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs require the patient to live at home and attend treatment daily. These programs vary in terms of the commitment, from a few hours a week to several hours a day. However, before someone enters an outpatient drug rehab program. Outpatient drug rehab is a beneficial treatment approach for some addicts, but not for everyone. The primary difference between outpatient and inpatient programs is that a residential program provides 24-hour care, housing, supervision, and access to medical care. Also, residential drug rehab centers are more expensive than most outpatient centers. Outpatient drug rehabilitation differs in intensity and could include one session a week or multiple sessions a day, five days a week.

Most outpatient drug rehabilitation centers offer group counseling, individual counseling, relapse prevention training, and other approaches to help addicts. For example, patients would learn about substance use and how it affects an individual's life. Patients also develop skills in areas such as employment, communication, anger management, stress management, and financial responsibility. Relapse prevention training is also essential because it helps recovering addicts maintain their sobriety once they complete rehabilitation. Most patients remain connected with sober living groups, such as 12-step meetings and other forms of peer support. Outpatient programs offer numerous treatment methodologies to help addicts, and prior to entering a program, an addiction assessment is done to determine the best method of therapy and counseling.

DRS femme2A

Types of Outpatient Drug Rehabilitation

There are three main types of outpatient programs operated across the United States. These options are standard outpatient services, intensive outpatient programs, and partial hospitalization programs. Standard outpatient drug rehab is the least intense type of outpatient drug rehab. Patients may only meet once or twice per week for one to two hours at a time. These programs are beneficial for someone that is still working and who has family support at home. These programs also offer very little medical supervision and may include group therapy sessions or one-on-one counseling. Other outpatient options include intensive outpatient services, where patients meet for ten or twenty hours per week.

Intensive outpatient services offer more services, which does include group counseling, individual counseling, drug testing, peer support, and case management. Patients typically have a higher severity of the addiction. However, it is not uncommon for someone leaving inpatient drug rehab to attend aftercare with an outpatient drug treatment center. The final outpatient treatment option is a partial hospitalization program, or day treatment program, which usually takes place in a hospital. The patient usually attends treatment up to seven days a week, and the programs operate for three to eight hours per day. The therapy options include group therapy, family therapy, individual counseling, medical care, recreation, and social services. Partial hospitalization programs often serve as a transition from inpatient treatment for severe cases of addiction.

The Effectiveness of Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Intensive outpatient programs are different from traditional outpatient treatment. These are direct services for people with substance use disorders who do not require medical detox or 24-hour supervision. Overall, it is an alternative to inpatient and residential treatment. The programs are designed to establish psychosocial supports and facilitate relapse management and coping strategies. Intensive outpatient programs are considered as effective as inpatient treatment for most people struggling with addiction. However, an addiction assessment would determine what method of rehabilitation would be needed.

These types of programs provide group therapy services, education about substance abuse, and help individuals develop and maintain long-term plans for recovery. Intensive outpatient programs are effective for addressing early-stage relapse management and coping strategies and address individual symptoms and needs. These programs are more condensed and offer more services in a short time. Intensive outpatient treatment services benefit people that are still working and who have family support. Intensive outpatient treatment is another option to consider when searching for outpatient drug rehabilitation.

The Best Time to Consider Outpatient Substance Use Rehabilitation

When someone is struggling with addiction and substance abuse, it is important to consider treatment. Some addicts are willing to admit they have a problem and attend drug rehabilitation programs. However, this is not always the case, and many families organize a family intervention. Early intervention is essential and does prevent the addiction from spiraling out of control. During the early stages of addiction, outpatient treatment is a good option to consider because the addict may have responsibilities and family obligations to consider. Outpatient treatment consists of an individual attending treatment sessions daily, but they are not living at the facility.

Outpatient drug rehabilitation is a successful approach to treatment and is a common option for adducts leaving inpatient drug rehab programs. Residential drug rehab centers deliver intense specialized forms of treatment. However, outpatient drug rehabilitation programs have the capability of addressing the majority of the needs of patients attending outpatient programs. Outpatient drug rehabilitation programs are an excellent option to consider because they are less expensive and more accessible for most families. Overall, treatment should meet the needs and case requirements for the individual attending the program.

People that participate in outpatient drug rehab programs can maintain their work and school, family, and other important commitments. Outpatient treatment allows less disruption in a person's life if they have the proper family support. Also, outpatient programs allow the person to immediately apply what they have learned and apply it to the real world. These programs also provide more privacy regarding the individual's participation in treatment because they do not have to notify work unless it is through an employee assistance program. Generally, these programs provide the same level of quality of treatment as inpatient centers, although residential programs offer a wider array of therapy and counseling. There is no bad time to consider outpatient treatment, and there are effective rehabilitation options across the country.

The Process of Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation

This is a picture of a building with the word Outpatient written on itWhen someone begins an outpatient drug rehab program, they typically meet with a staff member who helps develop a treatment plan. Generally, the plan involves setting treatment goals, and the staff member will ask questions about any mental health issues, medical problems, legal issues, or family problems. The more data that is gathered does make it easier for the program to develop a comprehensive approach to treatment. Typically, the staff will go over the rules and guidelines with the program. Outpatient programs do conduct more random drug testing because the patient is not living at the facility.

The patient is expected to constantly attend treatment and not miss any sessions, and the patient could be expected to complete assignments outside the sessions. Typically, every outpatient program is different from the next, but treatment sessions usually last several hours a day for five or even seven days per week. Some programs may only meet twice per week, but it traditionally depends on the severity and extent of addiction. It is essential to have family support when attending an outpatient program because it is important to have reliable transportation to and from treatment.

When attending treatment, there are a variety of counseling methodologies provided to help patients and their families. Some of the therapies include Contingency Management, which is a clinical behavior therapy that uses stimulus control and positive reinforcement to change behavior per a literature review of Substance Abuse Outpatient Treatment Services. Other therapies include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is an evidence-based approach using a psychosocial intervention strategy. The process helps patients develop coping strategies and identify damaging though and behavior patterns that lead to substance abuse. Motivational Interviewing is also a common approach used in an outpatient program, along with the Community Reinforcement Approach.

Most outpatient programs also encourage patients to remain connected to 12-step programs or a form of peer support. Support meetings are essential because they facilitate healthy peer interaction. Relapse prevention and educational programs are also part of most outpatient centers. Different workshops are also offered, which teach coping mechanisms for stress and potential triggers. Life skills training is an integral part of outpatient treatment, which includes anger management, parenting classes, and other forms of support. Some outpatient treatment programs may offer childcare support and transportation services. Whether you are considering partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs, or traditional outpatient programs, there are effective options across the country that offer extensive resources and therapy.

The Alternatives to Outpatient Substance Use Treatment

The alternative to outpatient substance use treatment is residential rehabilitation. Not every drug rehabilitation program is the same, but there are two main types of treatment, which are inpatient and outpatient. Residential programs can last between three months to over six months and even up to one year. Inpatient programs require the patient to live at the facility during treatment, which is beneficial in removing the patient from their current environment. Someone that is struggling with an extensive addiction and chronic relapse. Residential programs provide support 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Patients have access to housing, constant supervision, and unlimited access to medical care.

Other alternatives include sober living homes, which are group residences for people who are recovering addicts. Aftercare support often involves outpatient treatment or sober living. Someone who lives in a sober living home has to follow certain house rules and contribute to the home. Residents must stay sober throughout their stay in a sober living home. Sober living homes promote long-lasting recovery. Sober living homes also help make the transition from rehab to living independently without using drugs or alcohol. These are group homes for those recovering from addiction. Sober living homes are an excellent alternative to outpatient treatment when choosing to transition from residential rehabilitation.

Other options include transitional housing, which is an intermediate step between emergency crisis shelter and permanent housing. Transitional housing is meant to provide a safe, supportive environment where residents can overcome trauma and begin to address the issues that led to addiction and struggling with homelessness. Transitional housing is beneficial because of some residents transition to outpatient programs for treatment. Most outpatient treatment centers are also connected to 12-step support groups. Twelve-step support groups use the 12-step doctrine and ask members to admit their lack of control over alcohol and drugs. Peer support is also an excellent option to consider when not attending an outpatient treatment center.

Non-traditional approaches to treatment are also alternatives to consider. For example, adventure therapy programs assist individuals, groups, and families as they overcome behavioral issues, substance abuse, problems, or various mental health concerns. Adventure therapy is an effective method, and patients who have attended outpatient treatment have also followed through with adventure therapy to further their treatment. Adventure therapy is a powerful treatment approach for people struggling with addiction. Also, it is an exciting and productive element of family or relationship therapy. Adventure therapy promotes rehabilitation, growth, development, and enhancement of an individual's wellbeing. The programs provide structured activities involving direct experience.

Common Terminology Surrounding Outpatient Drug Rehabilitation

Term Definition
Intensive Outpatient Treatment Typically, a time-limited non-residential clinical treatment that involves attending a program daily for several hours per day. One step below intensive outpatient treatment is partial hospitalization.
Partial Hospitalization Programs are an intensive clinical service that is often medically monitored. The program is a step below inpatient hospitalization, and the patient is participating in clinical services all day long for a set time. Like outpatient treatment, a partial hospitalization program requires the patient to live at home and attend treatment daily.
Day Programs are outpatient day programs that have the highest level of care and structure provided in an outpatient setting. Typically, residents of day programs commit to meetings five to seven days per week at an outpatient center for multiple hours each day.
Continuing Care these are support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous and are ongoing support resources to help recovering addicts stay connected to sober people.
Peer Support is also known as mutual help organizations that are structured non-clinical relationships. Individuals participate in activities that engage, educate, and support patients recovering from substance abuse.
Sober Living Homes also referred to as a halfway house and operates as a bridge between an inpatient facility and the real world. Sober living homes are an excellent transitional option for recovering addicts leaving inpatient treatment.
Transitional Housing is supportive but temporary housing that acts as a way to bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing. Transitional housing also refers residents to outpatient treatment programs when they are struggling with addiction.
Abstinence is the absence of substance use, which involves not consuming a drug of choice during a specified period of time. Also, it is continuous abstinence from all alcohol and drugs.
Recovery Coach is a non-clinical peer support specialist or peer mentor that operates within a community organization. Most recovery coaches are former addicts and focus on helping individuals to set and achieve goals important to recovery.
Recovery Community Center is a hub that organizes recovery networks nationally to facilitate supportive relationships between individuals in recovery as well as family and friends of people in recovery.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Marcel Gemme, DATS - Author

More Information

Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.


Michael Leach, CCMA - Medically Reviewed on September 17, 2021

More Information

Michael Leach is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, who has over 5 years of experience working in the field of addiction. He spent his career working under the board-certified Addictionologist Dr. Rohit Adi. His experience includes working with families during their loved one’s stay in treatment, helping those with substance abuse issues find treatment, and teaching life skills to patients in a recovery atmosphere. Though he has worked in many different areas of rehabilitation, the majority of his time was spent working one on one with patients who were actively withdrawing from drugs. Withdrawal and the fear of going through it is one biggest reason why an addict continues to use and can be the most difficult part of the rehabilitation process. His experience in the withdrawal atmosphere has taught him that regardless of what approach a person takes to get off drugs, there are always mental and emotional obstacles that need to be overcome. He believes having someone there to help a person through these obstacles can make all the difference during the withdrawal process.