Outpatient Program

Outpatient Drug & Alcohol Treatment

Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs are designed for clients that cannot leave their daily activities and responsibilities to attend inpatient therapy, but still need effective professional treatment to overcome substance abuse issues.

While an inpatient program can monitor a patient around the clock, offering structure and preventing access to addictive substances, outpatient rehab programs usually run 2 to 4 hours each day. Before and after the program, the client remains in their normal home/work/social environment.

The patient must be willing and able to exert the personal control needed to avoid the substance and the physical and psychological triggers that may lead them to use during and after treatment. Because of this, outpatient treatment is most beneficial for those who started abusing substances relatively recently and have a strong motivation to recover

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How Do I Know If I Need Outpatient Drug Treatment?

When applying for admission to a drug treatment program, individuals are carefully assessed to determine precisely what kind of care they will need. The severity and duration of the substance abuse, as well as the type of substance, will be major factors in this decision. Other factors like job, family and proximity to the facility are taken into consideration, in order to minimize stressors. The admissions staff will determine appropriate duration, what kind of treatment will be offered, and the frequency of visits. A typical program might last for six weeks, with the individual attending sessions five nights a week.

A few signs that outpatient drug treatment may be the appropriate option for you:

  • You have only recently begun to abuse substances.
  • You have already attended an inpatient drug treatment program and you are returning to treatment to strengthen your recovery (not due to a relapse).
  • You do not have a dual diagnosis / co-occurring mental health disorder

Ensuring the Success of Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient drug and alcohol treatment is a lower level or care and requires specific prior treatment and motivation to be successful. Have you gone through a medically-supervised detoxification? Have you gone through the withdrawal process? If not, it is best to choose an inpatient program as it may be too early for you to work on your recovery successfully, while still exposed to so many triggers.

Because of the time spent in their “old” environment, it can be difficult to avoid the people and places that trigger a craving for the substance of abuse. Individuals must be highly motivated and willing to utilize their support team (counselors, sponsors, etc.) and attend support groups that can provide encouragement and practical advice from people who have experienced and overcome the same problems.

In addition, enlisting the help of family and friends can be critical to the success of recovery for outpatients. Any problems with relationships should be addressed in family therapy sessions that can improve communication systems and allow loved ones to heal. These efforts can make a significant difference for the individual putting substance abuse behind them, so they can rebuild a healthier, more productive life.

What Does an Outpatient Drug Treatment Include?

Programs will vary from person to person, but they may include some or all of the following:

  • Peer group sessions, where clients can safely share experiences and feelings.
  • Individual counseling, where clients get one to one therapy sessions to help them get to the bottom of their addiction and learn how to rebuild their lives.
  • Educational sessions and lectures related to recovery and addiction.
  • Meditation techniques and mindfulness activities.
  • Wellness counseling and activities including nutrition, massage, yoga and more
  • Daily journaling

The programs offered in outpatient treatment programs are not unlike those offered to inpatient programs, with the main difference being that clients do not live on-site.

Reasons to Return to Outpatient Drug Treatment

There are a number of reasons why you may decide to return to outpatient drug treatment.

  • You are going through a particularly stressful time (such as family troubles or a very stressful holiday season) and you find that your recovery is not as stable as it used to be.
  • You have used a substance – even a sip of alcohol.
  • You find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the temptation of triggers.
  • You have begun to experience the strong emotions that contributed to your substance use before you went to treatment.

Whatever the reason, it is important that you return to treatment if your recovery is in need of reinforcement.

Does Outpatient Drug Treatment Work?

There are a few myths that have led some people to believe that outpatient drug treatment is not effective.

  • Outpatient treatment is right for everyone. Not true! Part of the success of outpatient treatment involves the appropriate placement during admission. Some people are more suited to inpatient treatment and an admissions specialist should be able to help.
  • Clients are faced with too many temptations during treatment. True, some temptations remain, but so is the desire to recover.
  • The relationships formed in the outpatient drug treatment program are not as strong as with the inpatient drug treatment program. This is not necessarily true. Outpatients will participate in group therapy sessions, support groups and more – they will have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships.

The bottom line? Outpatient drug treatment can work if it’s the appropriate treatment level.

Supporting Your Loved One in Outpatient Drug Treatment

Recovery is priority number one during outpatient drug treatment and showing your support comes in many forms:

  • Be aware of your loved one’s stress triggers and try to minimize them
  • Lend a helping, non-judgmental hand
  • Listen and communicate
  • Be open to working on your family dynamics together at family therapy sessions

Support is exceptionally valuable for clients working towards recovery. It’s also important that you learn about addiction and how it works. Outpatient drug treatment requires plenty of effort and success.

Next Steps

To learn more about outpatient treatment for yourself or a loved one we encourage you to contact one of our admissions specialists: Call 877-771-1750.