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Effective Outpatient Treatment For Lasting Recovery

Outpatient treatment options in our Behavioral Health centers provide clients with the tools, treatments, and therapy to empower their recovery.

Outpatient rehab might not get the same press as inpatient rehab, but studies show that outpatient rehab is just as effective as residential rehab for treating addiction whilst offering clients freedom throughout recovery.

For more information about our outpatient treatment options read below

Don’t mistake outpatient rehab for a less serious form of treatment. When properly applied, outpatient therapy can be highly effective, especially when substance abuse or alcohol dependence is not too severe.

At the same, outpatient rehab is by no means the right fit for everyone. In the case of some severe substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders, residential rehab remains the safest and smoothest road to recovery.

What are outpatient rehab centers, then?

What is Outpatient Rehab?

For many mild and moderate addictions, outpatient rehab offers access to the same services you find in residential rehab, but without the cost or the requirement to spend a month or more in a treatment center.

 To understand outpatient rehab, you should understand how the continuum of care operates.

Inpatient treatment, otherwise known as residential rehab, is the most intensive form of treatment for addiction and mental health disorders.

With inpatient rehab, you spend anywhere from 30 to 90 days or more in a treatment center. The length of stay hinges on the scope and severity of your addiction, any previous attempts at recovery, and any dual diagnosis (addiction with co-occurring mental health disorders).

Accommodation ranges from basic to luxurious, with prices reflecting this. Healthy, balanced meals are provided, and you’ll have plenty of time alone to reflect between sessions.

The core of days in rehab are divided between counseling – both individual and group – along with psychotherapy sessions. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) are the most commonly used forms of psychotherapy, both for addiction and mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

You will also have access to:Intensive Outpatient treatment sessions with happy couple

  • Holistic therapies
  • Vocation development programs
  • Experiential adventure therapy
  • Family therapy
  • 12-step support groups

If you don’t want the expense or the restrictions of inpatient rehab, and if you don’t feel the need for the structure of a full-time residential program, outpatient rehab makes perfect sense.

With outpatient rehab, you’ll attend the same counseling and psychotherapy sessions, as well as engaging with any medication-assisted treatment as appropriate. Sessions take place for a few hours on weekdays. After therapy sessions, you return home or to a sober living home.

With outpatient rehab, you can stay anchored to your commitments and live at home while getting the help you need to conquer addiction to drink or drugs.

There are three main varieties of outpatient program, with the difference coming in terms of time commitment and intensity:

Traditional outpatient programsA regular outpatient program is suitable for very mild addictions or mental health disorders. Expect a few hours of therapy each week.

IOPs (intensive outpatient programs)If you need more structure and support, an IOP offers at least 9 hours of weekly sessions at a treatment center, after which you return home.

PHPs (partial hospitalization programs): A PHP is a full-time outpatient treatment program, with up to 35 hours per week of counseling and therapy, but without the need to pack your bags and head to rehab.

What to Expect at an Outpatient Rehab Center

Once you have determined which is the most appropriate form of outpatient treatment, what can you expect from outpatient therapy sessions?

Well, most outpatient programs contain the following components:

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): In the case of alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder, FDA-approved medications can help reduce the intensity of both withdrawal symptoms and cravings. This can be delivered in an outpatient setting.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is the most commonly used form of psychotherapy. You’ll identify what triggers you to use drink or drugs through CBT, and this therapy can also be applied to mental health conditions like depression. More importantly, you’ll also discover how to apply healthier coping strategies, enabling you to cope with life’s stressors without relapsing.
  • Counseling: Individual counseling allows you to work closely with a therapist, exploring the root cause of your addiction. With group counseling, you benefit from a wide range of input from others undergoing broadly similar experiences. Many people in recovery find this peer support powerful.
  • Contingency management (CM): This form of outpatient therapy incentivizes healthy behaviors with small rewards.
  • Access to 12-step programs: While not central to rehab itself, outpatient treatment centers should help streamline your access to any local 12-step groups you might find useful, such as AA and NA.

The Benefits of an Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehab

While not universally suitable, outpatient rehab has the following core benefits:

  • Affordability: You won’t be paying for accommodation or food at the rehab center, so outpatient rehab is a much more affordable outpatient, and almost always covered by health insurance.
  • Flexibility: For mild and moderate alcohol use disorders or substance use disorders, outpatient therapy allows you to engage with treatment without unmooring from your schedule completely.
  • Discretion: Concealing a month or more away from work is impractical for most people. If you want to kickstart your recovery discreetly, outpatient treatment delivers the help you need discreetly.
  • Access to your support network: If you have a stable, supportive home environment and a network of sober friends and healthcare professionals in place, outpatient therapy lets you continue taking advantage of this love and support while you pursue addiction treatment.

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

An IOP goes by many names, including:

  • Intensive outpatient program
  • Intensive outpatient rehab
  • Intensive outpatient therapy
  • IOP program
  • IOP rehab 

All of these terms can be useful when you’re searching for an IOP near you online.

With intensive outpatient treatment, as mentioned above, you’ll remain at home while attending therapy and counseling sessions at a treatment center.

Most IOPs offer at least 9 hours of weekly contact with your treatment team. Sessions are usually 90 minutes to 3 hours, and held over 3 weekdays. This allows you to maintain some semblance of a normal life, while committing fully to your recovery at the same time.

Most IOPs last for 12 to 16 weeks, giving you several months of sustained and structured input.

Despite the name, an intensive outpatient program is not the most intensive form of outpatient therapy. A PHP (partial hospitalization program) is a more intense form of treatment than an IOP, just one step down from residential rehab. 

For some people, an IOP is the first-line treatment. For others, an IOP is a step up or down the continuum of care.

Intensive Outpatient Program for Mental Health

For those suffering from mental health disorders, an IOP can be more practical and less stigmatized than heading to a treatment center. 

IOPs can be effective for treating:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)

Outpatient vs IOP

The only difference between a traditional outpatient program and an intensive outpatient program is the time commitment. 

With an IOP, expect a minimum of 9 hours of counseling and therapy weekly, set against just a few hours weekly with a regular outpatient program. 

In both cases, you’ll return home after your sessions.

Finding an Outpatient Rehab Near You

Whether you’re looking for outpatient alcohol rehab or help for cocaine addiction symptoms, here are some simple pointers to help you choose the right one:

  1. Make sure the outpatient treatment program is tailored to your addiction and circumstances
  2. Check that the treatments and therapy offered meet your needs
  3. Choose the location of outpatient rehab wisely
  4. Does the treatment center accept insurance?
  5. Avoid rehab centers promising success

1) Make sure the outpatient treatment program is tailored to your addiction and circumstances

All addictions and all mental health conditions are different. When you’re looking for an outpatient treatment center, you should make certain it specializes in treating the addiction in question.

Explore all aspects of the programming offered, from detox through to treatment proper and aftercare. Does this fit with your needs? Only you will know. 

Consider addiction treatment in the same way as treatment for any other serious health issue. If you suspect you have cancer, you seek treatment from an oncologist. Approach your recovery from addiction in the same way, placing your faith in specialists rather than generalists.

2) Check that the treatments and therapy offered meet your needs

While all decent outpatient programs for addiction offer an evidence-based combination of MAT, psychotherapy, and counseling, not all rehabs have the same approach to treatment.

Some have a pronounced spiritual bias, while others are rigidly secular. While some rehabs will touch on holistic therapies, others have a whole-body approach to recovery across the board.

Take the time to thoroughly research all your various options so you end up with the most personalized fit.

3) Choose the location of outpatient rehab wisely

When you’re looking for outpatient rehab, it pays to find somewhere as close to home as possible. 

If you’ll be heading to the treatment center anything up to five times weekly, the less time you spend traveling the better. 

4) Does the treatment center accept insurance?

Of those 20 million people in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health requiring addiction treatment, only 10% get the treatment they need. For 30% of these people, the perceived cost of treatment and not having insurance is the primary obstacle.

With the ACA (Affordable Care Act), insurance companies are obliged to meet the cost of outpatient rehab for addiction and mental health, both classed as essential care.

Check that any of the rehabs on your shortlist accept insurance if you plan to pay for treatment this way.

5) Avoid rehab centers promising success

Rehab centers that guarantee success are not the holy grail.

Indeed, addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease, with data showing between 40% and 60% of people in recovery relapsing at least once.

View recovery instead as a process rather than an event. Look for outpatient rehabs that help to streamline that process for you.


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Facing addiction can be daunting but here at Drug Rehab Centers.com we walk with you every step of the way as your partners in recovery. 

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