People with addiction illness have several treatment routes available to them which largely depend on the severity of their condition and the substance they have been abusing. Individuals who have been abusing potent drugs such as heroin or prescription painkillers are almost always recommended to attend inpatient or residential treatment.
This is mainly because of the negative effects of these particular drugs on brain and body function which requires medical supervision in rehab, particularly for the first step of detox. However, not everyone needs to attend residential treatment and in this article, we take a look at outpatient substance abuse treatment programs and what benefits they can offer.
Generally, it is people with mild problems with alcohol or drugs who are most successfully treated in an outpatient substance abuse treatment program. This is because much less damage is done to the brain’s chemical balance if patients receive treatment in the early phases of developing the illness.
Outpatient treatment programs are also a good option for people who have reached out for treatment voluntarily but who need a flexible program to work around their schedules.
What Is Outpatient Rehab?
Outpatient treatment programs generally offer the same treatments and therapies available at residential centers although patients remain at home. This allows individuals to continue with their regular responsibilities and duties, while they check-in to counseling or treatment sessions arranged at times convenient to them.
There are a variety of formats of drug and alcohol outpatient treatment programs offering differing levels of intensity and varying services. However, the focus of outpatient treatment is always on counseling, education, relapse prevention, and support.
Individuals who have high-pressure jobs or who are in a caregiving role at home can find outpatient treatment very effective, particularly if they are disciplined in their approach. Outpatient care can also be delivered as a form of aftercare for people who have attended residential rehab and require a little extra support in the early stages of recovering at home.
Types of Outpatient Rehab
Because addiction is a very personal illness affecting people in different ways, there are different types of drug and alcohol outpatient treatment programs available. Some people may have more severe issues to overcome than others although they may need as much flexibility in a treatment program as someone with a milder addiction.
The types of outpatient treatment available for individuals with substance use disorder fall into the following three categories:
An outpatient day program requires the highest level of time commitment, with 5-7 meetings organized through each week for multiple hours at a time. During an outpatient day program, individuals participate in ongoing therapy with individual and group counseling, CBT and other adjunct therapies like art and music therapy.
Although treatment sessions are intensive, patients are allowed to return home to their families or a sober living home while receiving care. Due to the extended time commitment of day programs may limit a person’s ability to work until the program has been completed.
Intensive Outpatient Drug Treatment Programs (IOPs)
Intensive outpatient drug treatment programs establish a treatment plan that has defined objectives, with milestones to measure progress. As objectives are achieved, patients in an intensive outpatient drug treatment program are able to reduce their time commitment for treatment and they are able to continue meeting their responsibilities at work or home throughout the program.
IOPs generally comprise multiple therapy sessions lasting for a few hours each every week. Intensive outpatient drug treatment programs allow patients regular access to counseling sessions, relapse prevention, family therapy and attendance in a 12-Step or alternative recovery support group.
12-Step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous offer ongoing support that serves to consolidate progress made while working the steps. However, there is now a wide range of continuing care groups offering alternatives to the 12-Step approach that offer support for as long as its required by the individual in recovery.
Continuing care groups are generally run by licensed addiction specialists and can be gender or age-specific, secular, holistic or faith-based according to the personal beliefs of the individual. Research shows how continued support positively boosts the chances of long-term recovery, making this kind of outpatient program particularly effective for those who have completed detox and rehabilitation treatment.
The Best Drug and Alcohol Outpatient Treatment Programs
Top-flight outpatient programs must offer the most crucial aspects of residential treatment, including:
- Evidence-based treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy
- One-to-one and group addiction counseling
- Nutritional education and awareness
- How to manage cravings and stressors for substance abuse
- Relapse-prevention planning
Essentially the kind of people who are most likely to benefit from outpatient addiction treatment are those who:
- Have completed detox and achieved sobriety
- Has a good understanding of how they lost control of their lives and the role drugs or alcohol played
There is no “success formula” when it comes to overcoming addiction which is mainly due to us all being individuals with our own set of unique needs, wants and desires. Both inpatient and outpatient programs have their merits and their own set of benefits. When an individual has reached the point where they accept they have a problem and are actively seeking treatment, the next stage is to find a path to healing that won’t disrupt their lives too much. Outpatient care is often the most practical solution for people making a personal commitment to recovery from addiction although naturally, the choice is best made by the individual concerned.