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Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment programs offer flexible treatment options and support groups for those who are looking for support through the recovery process.

What is Outpatient Treatment?

A standard outpatient treatment program offers more independence flexibility than partial hospitalization (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP).

When a patient is discharged from an inpatient substance abuse program, they are ready to continue to a higher level of care. They may have attended half-day groups and individual therapy a few times a week. Once a patient’s treatment team deems them ready, they can attend individual therapy one to two times per week; this is considered outpatient treatment.

Every outpatient program is different. Some programs allow patients to continue seeing therapists. Due to high caseloads, they may have to refer discharged patients to an outside therapist. Many recovering addicts see a therapist before treatment and choose to return after being discharged.

It is recommended that recovering users attend an outpatient substance abuse program one to two times a week, along with additional 12-step meetings and/or support groups that are appropriate for their situations.

Patients interested in searching for outpatient alcohol and drug programs in their areas should not have a difficult time finding support.

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The Difference Between Outpatient and Inpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab programs are quite distinct from inpatient rehab programs.

When a patient is admitted to a residential inpatient treatment program, they start a medical detoxing process and are under 24-hour supervision by licensed professionals. Their days are filled with groups, activities, educational sessions, and individual therapy. During the week, inpatient clients meet with physicians, psychiatrists, and nutritionists. Inpatient treatment is the most intensive type of rehabilitation.

 

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In contrast, outpatient rehabilitation is one of the least restrictive types of addiction treatment. Individuals who have stepped down from other programs into the outpatient program will live their daily lives like normal while attending therapy sessions throughout the week. It is common to have regular or random alcohol or drug use check-ins.

Outpatient group therapy is recommended as long as patients are in a strong place regarding recovery and sobriety and will not allow others to lead them astray.

There are numerous benefits of attending an outpatient treatment program before genuine aftercare begins.

  • Clients who are in outpatient care have shown enormous progress in recovery, and are typically ready to return to day-to-day life activities outside of treatment facilities. This eagerness showcases motivation, perseverance, and independence.
  • Clients in outpatient programs can put into practice what they learned in treatment. All of the coping skills, relationship training, addiction education, etc., can now be put to the test. Outpatient therapists help clients continue to create and monitor short and long-term recovery goals.
  • Outpatient treatment provides even more flexibility. Discharged clients see outpatient therapists a couple of times a week, leaving much more time for building relationships, finding new, safe hobbies, working on job skills, and reconnecting with supportive friends and family.

Types of Outpatient Treatment

When an individual is participating in outpatient treatment, therapy is the main focus. This includes:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Trauma therapy

Holistic practices and therapies can also be delivered by outpatient specialists, such as seeing a nutritionist, meditation instructor, or acupuncturist.

The number and types of therapies in outpatient treatment are truly up to the clients themselves, although once or twice per week is always recommended, at the minimum.

Aftercare Groups

Unfortunately, the return to substance use is a part of recovery. Relapse does not equal failure, or that going back to treatment will not work. However, individuals should take care to do what they need to do to be successful outside of the walls of treatment facilities.

Treatment teams and clients will determine an aftercare plan, even as a client is still under care. This might include developing a management plan, identifying outside triggers, setting appointments, identifying barriers to recovery, determining support systems, identifying coping skills to use in multiple settings, etc. Aftercare is all about being proactive and creating success.

Actual aftercare programs, or groups, consist of a sober living community, outside support groups individuals can attend, and alumni groups at a treatment center. Ongoing individual therapy and case management are also forms of aftercare.

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Length of Treatment

Outpatient treatment typically runs for three months. In reality, recovering addicts can visit with a therapist and other specialists as long as they want.

Cost of Outpatient Treatment

The cost of outpatient treatment is dependent on the individual therapist and the type of insurance a client possesses. Most people only have to pay a minimal co-pay for each hour-long therapy session. There are a lot of therapists who offer a sliding scale for those who may have difficulty paying. The duration and frequency of sessions will factor into the cost of outpatient treatment.

Commonly Asked Questions

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