A man in a group wondering, "Is outpatient addiction treatment right for me?"

Is Outpatient Addiction Treatment Right For Me?

You know you need addiction treatment. You also aren’t sure you need inpatient rehab. Could outpatient addiction treatment be an option? Outpatient rehab could be right for you if you don’t need 24-hour care, as stated by the scientific journal Psychiatric Services. So what do outpatient programs look like, and what are some of the upsides? We’ll answer those questions and more as we look closer at outpatient addiction rehab, including intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs.

What is Outpatient Addiction Treatment?

According to the Recovery Research Institute, people use outpatient addiction treatment more than any other approach. All outpatient programs share a few things in common. 

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Education about addiction and mental health 
  • Family sessions and activities
  • No overnight stays

Outpatient programs are created for different levels of need. Here are a few differences to keep in mind.

Less intense programs 

  • Sessions held 2–3 days a week
  • Sessions are 1–3 hours long
  • Evening and weekend sessions

  More intense programs

  • Sessions held 5–6 days a week
  • Several hours per session, often full days
  • Mostly daytime sessions, some evenings or weekends
  • More skills to support recovery (SAMHSA Treatment Improvement Protocols):
    • Assertiveness
    • Stress management
    • Relapse prevention
    • Role-playing to help people learn to refuse substances

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) 

IOP programs are best for people with a less severe disorder. It is a good fit for people who have a full-time job or attend school. They can carry these responsibilities with treatment.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) 

PHP gives added support for people with a more severe disorder. They may be working on independent living. PHP is a step below residential treatment but more intense than IOP.  

5 Benefits of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Outpatient addiction treatment has many upsides. Here are several reasons many people chose this approach. 

1. Lower cost

Outpatient treatment costs less than inpatient treatment. There are no overnight stays, and some programs may receive federal funding. As discussed by the National Council for Behavioral Health, this funding makes treatment affordable for more people.

2. Clinics are local

Outpatient clinics are common in many communities. Better access makes it easier to attend. Less travel means family members may be more likely to take part.

3. Flexible for work, school and home

A person in an IOP program can continue work or school. They can also be around family members at home. PHP programs are more time-intensive than IOP. But the flexibility still makes this choice attractive.

4. Step-down option from residential care

Residential care is a big change from regular daily life. PHP is often used to ease this transition. A person can continue learning and building skills. They have rehab support along with some comforts of home. 

5. Online recovery is an option

The COVID-19 pandemic made online recovery part of the new normal and has increased access to treatment. Online recovery can help people who prefer the format or need convenient access. It can also cost less and doesn’t require travel. 

Therapies Used in Outpatient Treatment for Addiction

Outpatient treatment for addiction typically involves some combination of therapies. These can include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), motivational interviewing, 12-step facilitation, relapse prevention, and other approaches.

CBT helps individuals identify thought patterns that are associated with their drug or alcohol use and develop techniques to respond to these thought patterns in a healthier way. DBT focuses on helping individuals gain control of their emotions and behaviors. Motivational interviewing encourages clients to explore and resolve ambivalence about changing their behavior. 12-step facilitation helps clients understand the principles of 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Relapse prevention focuses on helping individuals anticipate and avoid situations that may lead to using drugs or alcohol again. All of these approaches involve individual sessions with a therapist, as well as group therapy, which can help clients develop the skills and support they need for long-term recovery.

Outpatient Treatment Isn’t Always Appropriate for Everyone 

Outpatient treatment has many benefits. But it may not be a good fit for everyone. Here are a few reasons why: 

  • Outpatient services may not be intensive enough for a person’s needs because they may have multiple mental health or substance use disorders 
  • Some people need more daily structure in their recovery
  • Triggers in their home environment may pull them off track
  • Moving between home and treatment may feel stressful
  • They may become discouraged or uncertain during off-hours 

In these situations, residential rehab may be better at the start. Outpatient care may be appropriate when their recovery is more stable. 

Learn More About Outpatient Addiction Rehab at Promises Behavioral Health

Outpatient addiction rehab is a popular choice with many advantages. However, it’s not the right choice for everyone in recovery. To find out if outpatient addiction treatment could be right for you or a loved one, call us at 844.875.5609 to learn more.

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