Everyone experiences addiction differently, therefore everyone should experience treatment differently in a way that works best for them. Some with less severe addiction cannot afford to completely disrupt their daily life with an inpatient treatment program. For these individuals, outpatient programs are the most convenient. In fact, the majority of addiction treatment is actually through outpatient programs.
What is Outpatient Treatment?
Rather than living in a facility, outpatient treatment allows the individual to schedule their own appointments with treatment providers and therapists. A simple outpatient program is different from an intensive outpatient program — intensive programs consist of a minimum of three hours per day of treatment for weeks or even months. While intensive programs still offer relative freedom to the patient, they are usually a stepping stone from inpatient treatment to simple outpatient treatment in the road to full recovery.
Outpatient treatment generally follows intensive outpatient treatment unless the individual is not suffering from a very serious addiction. Outpatient treatment can also include detoxification and medical assistance, but keep in mind that it is not the most advanced form of treatment, so it is generally not common to receive withdrawal treatment in outpatient programs. Outpatient treatment works best for those who are able to live on their own in a stable environment without severe risk of relapse while still needing basic addiction treatment on their own time. Those who attend outpatient treatment are generally independent and can rely on themselves to schedule appointments and actually attend treatment on their own.
Depending on how far along the individual is in recovery, outpatient treatment may begin intensively in day programs, meeting several days a week for several hours, and then slow as recovery continues a couple times a week for only a couple hours each. Outpatient treatment still includes access to individual and group therapy if necessary in a program specifically tailored to the individual. Outpatient treatment is especially important for those who have been discharged from inpatient centers to slowly re-enter society.
Continuing care groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings either for drug or alcohol use are also considered a form of outpatient treatment. Having a community that understands the struggles of addiction to share accomplishments and progress with is also a form of therapy.
Other Major Types of Outpatient Treatment
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)
Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) is a mix of inpatient and outpatient care. Those partaking in PHP will usually attend about six to eight hours of compulsory therapy at a facility each day and then live off campus or at home. Despite not living in the facility, PHPs are one of the most effective means of intensive treatment following complete inpatient treatment.
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
IOPs are intensive and highly effective in treating those struggling with less severe addiction. While living at home, patients will receive treatment at least three times a week for a minimum of three hours per visit depending on the specific program. Typically these guidelines are met by adolescents or those with children or jobs that keep them from being able to attend residential treatment.
Benefits of Outpatient Treatment
The main advantage of outpatient programs as opposed to inpatient programs is the flexibility they allow. Because the individual is not living in a facility, outpatient treatment allows for a solid balance between treatment, work and personal life. With that balance, there is also more opportunity to take what is learned from therapy and apply it to real life situations while still receiving counseling.
However, sometimes people and places at home are triggers for relapse and substances may be readily available—this is one of the main reasons why outpatient care is most helpful for those who are able to hold themselves accountable for their cravings and remove themselves from triggering situations.
Outpatient programs are also capable of treating co-occurring disorders with mild symptoms by offering both addiction and mental health therapy. Psychiatrists are available in outpatient programs and can provide intensive care for the mental health side of the disorder in addition to the substance abuse disorder care.
On a logistical note, outpatient treatment often costs significantly less than inpatient treatment. However, this is only really a benefit for those who are not in dire need of inpatient treatment, as many with severe addiction will result to both inpatient and outpatient programs.
Desert Rose Recovery offers a wide range of addiction recovery treatment options. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you are not alone. Call us today to speak with an experienced addiction specialist.