Outpatient rehab is medical treatment for addiction that allows the individual to return home or to sober living each evening. Outpatient rehab can be a stand-alone treatment option, but works best following inpatient (also known as residential or overnight) rehab with a medically supervised detox program. Outpatient rehabilitation facilities cover a wide variety of addictions and often simultaneously provide care for co-existing mental health or medical problems.1
Usually, outpatient care is less costly than inpatient care. One of the biggest perks is that you will be able to remain in your own home or sober living house while getting treatment. This can be a real advantage, because you will be able to maintain some level of normal living or working. You will probably be able to keep some of your regular job hours, and do things like pick your kids up from school, or whatever else it is that you get done on a daily basis. As you progress through the outpatient care program, these daily tasks will likely become even easier to perform.
Outpatient rehab offers different levels of care, depending on the facility you choose. Some terms to be familiar with include:
- Partial Hospitalization: This treatment level is intended for individuals who may need medical monitoring or medical assistance, but are not quite in need of overnight hospitalization. Partial hospitalization works best when the individual has a safe and supportive home environment. Partial hospitalization usually requires a full-time commitment as it lasts approximately 4-6 hours each day for most days of the week.
- Intensive outpatient (IOP): IOP treatment is a step-down from partial hospitalization and works as a stand-alone treatment or as a highly effective follow-up to more intensive care. With a focus on preventing relapse, these programs allow individuals to return to work during the days or evenings and require only a 2-4 hour commitment each day.
- Counseling and Therapy: Counseling and therapy sessions usually involve appointments with a trusted mental health provider, recovery coach or treatment team. Group therapy may also be included in this. Counseling and therapy are vital to any recovery plan, and are absolutely essential for
It is important to understand the importance of recovery at this time. Addiction is an all-consuming illness, and it may take time to overcome. The objective of a good rehabilitation program is to not only get you past the withdrawal stages of your detoxification, but to help you to establish a new form of thinking that goes opposite what your brain has been shaped into by means of addiction. This will entail forming new habits of thinking, especially learning to cope with anxiety or pain without dependence on the substance that you once abused. For this reason, you may want to consider inpatient detoxification services to help you get through the first stages of recovery, and transition into outpatient care to maintain ongoing wellness.
Outpatient Rehab after Inpatient Rehab
Outpatient rehab treatment is an excellent way to bridge the gap between full substance use disorder and the life you want to live. Outpatient treatment is one way many people gradually strengthen resistance against relapse and return to normal life with a newfound support system.
Even thinking romantically about the substance or the things that were associated with its use is a form of mental relapse, so rehabilitation should encourage you to come up with new ways of relaxation and pleasure seeking that have no connections to substance use. This means that if you have a lot of habits that include friendships and recreational habits that include the drug, you will have to take responsibility to give these up and create new habits. For example, you might need to change who you hang out with and where. You might even need to change where you go on your work break. Even though outpatient rehabilitation will not physically bar you from access to these types of influences, it has the advantage that you will learn to gradually discard them of your own initiative and will not face the temptation alone.
Outpatient care facilities are available in nearly every community, and comprehensive lists can be found online or by speaking to a healthcare professional for guidance and assistance. It is good to do some shopping around and get good direction when you choose your outpatient care program. Some programs may offer little more than drug education. While that can be a great step in prevention of substance abuse, it will not nearly do the trick for addiction disorder, which needs actual medical attention.2
Outpatient Rehab for Wellness
If you choose to get outpatient care instead of inpatient rehabilitation, be careful to arrange suitable transportation in advance to and from all of your appointments. Missed appointments are one common reason that rehabilitation may fail. Studies have shown that those who miss appointments in outpatient care are significantly less likely to complete the detoxification process than those who receive treatment in an inpatient facility. However, those who do keep their appointments and go through with the outpatient program in-full celebrate better success in long-term freedom from relapse.
Outpatient treatment is an investment you make in yourself and your loved ones. As part of a comprehensive recovery program, outpatient rehab is an option that stands out. Building a support network in recovery is possible with options that meet your schedule and lifestyle needs.
1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A research-Based Guide.” Found online 2/8/16 at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs.
2. Motoi Hayashida, M.D., Sc.D. “An Overview of Outpatient and Inpatient Detoxification.” Found online 2/8/16 at http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh22-1/44-46.pdf.