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Depending on how severe your drug and substance abuse and
addiction are, you don't necessarily need to check into an inpatient drug
treatment facility. These types of centers are designed to cater to individuals
whose addictions are so severe that family members and friends have had to
intervene for them to get to rehab. In such a situation, a residential rehab
program will be more efficient.
However, you might benefit from outpatient drug rehab if
you are not far along in your addiction, if you just started using drugs, or if
you feel that you are prone to substance abuse and wouldn't want to go down
Alternatively, you could try out this type of rehab to
see whether it works, as well as gauge its effectiveness before you decide to
check into an inpatient facility for full-time rehabilitation.
That said, the main motivation behind outpatient drug
rehab lies in the cost, which tends to be less than what you would have to pay
at a live-in drug treatment center. Therefore, from the economic perspective,
outpatient rehabilitation would be a good place to start before you opt for
more drastic measures to deal with your addiction.
In the following guide, you will learn more about
outpatient drug rehab, what it involves, how it differs from residential
rehabilitation, as well as its effectiveness, benefits, and disadvantages. Read
on to find out more:
At its most basic, outpatient drug rehab involves
treatment where you live at home and go to work. However, you will have to
visit the treatment center or clinic for medication and/or therapy.
A recent survey found that outpatient drug rehab centers
attract 60% of all admissions for drug and substance abuse treatment. Among
these facilities, 12% of the patients receive intensive outpatient treatment
for a minimum of 2 hours a day and at least 3 days a week. Another subset
involves day hospitalization where some clients visit the clinic on a daily
basis for treatment.
The level of care at an outpatient facility is
appropriate for clients in different circumstances. These include:
Preventative therapy is designed for patients who are
worried that they might be headed towards substance addiction, and who are
looking for solutions to deal with the problem before it becomes a full-scale
Entry-level therapy works better for clients who have
just started abusing drugs or are new to addiction and wish to confront the
Through continuing therapy, clients who have just checked
out of an inpatient drug rehab facility will receive the continuing support and
medication required to keep them from reverting their substance abuse.
That said, the care provided at an outpatient drug rehab
facility after inpatient treatment will boost the rate of abstinence from drug
and substance abuse. Further, it will lower the rate of arrests.
However, research shows that only about 17% of clients
who manage to complete their inpatient, hospital, or outpatient program will
proceed to regular outpatient treatment, making the latter even more
That said, drug rehabilitation is accomplished in a wide
variety of ways. The choice will depend on your addiction, conditions, and
circumstances. As such, you might choose an outpatient rehab facility, go for
inpatient care, or even try to quit your addiction on your own.
Outpatient drug rehab is so attractive because it will
give you greater freedom. This means that you might be able to continue moving
around, taking care of business, and going about your daily activities even as
you seek treatment.
Although inpatient programs boast the highest rates of
recovery success, most outpatient rehab programs will also work but only if
they are followed as prescribed and professionally executed.
Outpatient rehabilitation works best for drug addicts
At most outpatient drug rehab facilities, therefore, the
program will use the tapering off method to ensure that the substance you have
been abusing leaves your system. Others might opt for non-addictive substitute
drugs to offset your withdrawal symptoms and keep you on track to full
recovery. The latter method, however, has high failure rates.
In most cases, you will find that outpatient care relies
heavily on outside support groups (such as the 12 step program) and group
therapy sessions. The group of addicts and therapies work together to solve
common issues, share stories, and motivate each other towards full recovery.
You also have the option of going for intensive
outpatient rehabilitation. In such a program, you will typically have to
dedicate a larger segment of your daily life to treatment.
In some cases, you might find an option that only
requires that you spend about one or two hours a week receiving therapy.
However, others will call for a time commitment of between 10 and 20 hours of
Luckily, all of these programs will allow you to go back
home after the evening or daytime program, or once you have attended your
required therapy session. The other option would be acute outpatient treatment,
which would run for about 3 months but can also be tailored to take up a month
Irrespective of the option you pick, most outpatient drug
rehab facilities might also provide you with some form of psychotherapy to help
you combat your addiction and deal with such facets of substance abuse as
problem-solving strategies, twelve step programs, and cognitive behavioral
Psychotherapy is effective because it is designed to
uncover the addiction, find out how it developed, and find solutions from the
back towards the front. As you will discover through these sessions, addiction
typically starts as a replacement for something that might be missing in your life.
After you uncover the reasons behind your drug and
substance abuse and addiction, you might start taking the necessary measures to
work on these issues. Further, the outpatient drug rehab facility is likely to
teach you how to deal with these issues without having to resort to alcohol or
Problem-solving strategies and behavioral therapies, on
the other hand, might change your responses in those situations that trigger
your substance abuse. Similarly, a twelve step program will provide you with the
support you need, as well as help you feel like part of a large community
battling the same problem.
The other types of therapy and medications used at
outpatient drug rehab facilities will depend on the type of drug/substance you
abuse, the severity of your addiction, your personality, your living or
financial situation, among others. These therapies include but are not limited
In many facilities, the doctors will prescribe
medications such as Naltrexone, buprenorphine, and methadone to help you quit.
These drugs are usually prescribed to deal with the abuse of prescription
painkillers and opiate drugs like heroin.
Otherwise abbreviated as MET, motivational enhancement
therapy is a procedure created at outpatient drug rehab centers to help addicts
examine their thoughts and feelings about addiction. Through this type of
therapy, you might also commit to getting started on more intensive treatment.
In most cases, the therapy will consist of anywhere
between 3 to 5 sessions with the therapist. During these sessions, you will
focus on your plans, and your motivations for change.
CBT, as cognitive behavioral therapy is called, is
focused on providing you with new strategies and skills for coping with those
situations when you are at high risk of going back to your addiction.
Through this type of therapy, you will learn how to deal
with intense emotions, cravings, stress, and anything else that might drive you
into maladaptive drug and substance use.
As a client at an outpatient drug rehab center, you will
also learn how to build, activate, and maintain strong social support networks
that you can call upon during your hour of need. Additionally, the therapy will
prove effective at dealing with any mental illnesses that might co-occur with
your addictive, including anxiety and depression.
Some outpatient drug rehab facilities apply individual
therapies in their treatment regimen. These therapies include EMDR (Eye
Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy) and DBT (Dialectical
Behavior Therapy). They might be appropriate for drug addicts suffering from
co-occurring mental conditions.
By treating these conditions that might be the reasons
underlying the substance abuse and addiction, the outpatient facility may
effectively wipe the slate clean and allow the client to recover fully.
Through contingency management, the outpatient center is
more likely to provide concrete incentives so that the addicts in their care
will choose to stay clean. To this end, the clients might receive rewards such
as cash, prizes, and vouchers after attending meetings and passing drug
At a twelve-step program, you are highly likely to learn
to accept that your drug and substance use and abuse are out of control. As a
direct result, the only way you are going to recover from this addiction would
be through total abstinence.
Treatment through such a program might consist of
attending ongoing structured meetings on a regular basis, as well as receiving
and counting on the additional social and psychological support from your
Through this type of therapy, the outpatient drug rehab
center might invite close members of your family (siblings, spouses, partners,
parents, children, and so on) to attend therapy with you.
At times, more than one member of your family will attend
the sessions. The group (or the pair, as it were) will focus on examining how
your addiction has been altering the relationship.
However, the family members present might also get to
learn how they can best support you through your recovery. Additionally, they
may agree to get involved in the other treatments you undertake - such as
offering rewards for any good behavior you display.
Last but not least, group therapy will allow you to meet
up with other addicts struggling with similar substance use and abuse problems.
After making new friends, you might be in a better position to increase your
social support. Further, the group will let you know that you are not alone in
your struggles, which might prove inspirational in your journey towards
In some cases, the outpatient drug rehab center you check
into might also provide such alternative therapies as:
Although these forms of therapy are not necessarily
designed as primary therapies, they are useful in improving the effectiveness
of the other types of treatment you undergo at an outpatient rehabilitation
A recent study found that private outpatient drug rehab
facilities are twice as likely as public outpatient programs to provide
treatment on demand. Most of these centers, for instance, admit clients within
48 of a reported drug abuse problem.
One logical reason might revolve around the fact that
private facilities usually work for a profit. As such, they are likely to
charge higher prices and accept health insurance - making them more
However, of the millions of Americans in need of
substance and drug abuse treatment but do not receive it, 38% reported that
their lack of treatment was on account of the fact that they lack health
insurance. An additional 10% reported that their insurance provider did not
provide substance abuse treatment cover.
That said, among those working through outpatient drug
rehab facilities, 60% reported they had no health insurance while only 21%
showed that they had Medicaid. A further 11% enjoyed private insurance, which
allowed them the funds to battle their substance abuse and addiction.
To this end, the dissection between private and public
outpatient drug rehab facilities depends on a variety of factors, chief among
which is cost.
Based on the severity of your addiction problem, you might
have to choose between inpatient and outpatient treatment. Consider the
following information while making your final decision:
As mentioned above, the choice between inpatient and
outpatient drug rehab will depend on your circumstances and situation. Both
models offer similar types of therapy. The main difference lies in whether you
will get to stay at home or live in the on-site facility provided.
At an inpatient program, you are highly likely to receive
more intensive therapy over longer hours and a wider variety of therapy. The
best candidates for this type of facility often include those with a higher
risk of relapsing into substance use.
The supervision and drug-free structure provided by the
onsite living situation prevents drug and substance abuse. As a client, you
might also be suffering from co-occurring mental health issues that also
require frequent monitoring and treatment by a medical professional.
Last but not least, inpatient drug rehab facilities are
an excellent fit for clients with severe withdrawal symptoms that would not
allow them to live independently without having to revert to drug abuse.
Outpatient rehabilitation facilities provide a wide
variety of services. The program, for instance, might range from daily
treatment (day hospitalization) to intensive care (over 3 or more days a week).
Additional options include low impact care where you only have to attend the
facility a couple of days (usually less than 3) every week.
You need to be emotionally, mentally, and medically
stable to check into an outpatient drug rehab program - at least enough to
continue living on your own and/or with family and friends.
This type of therapy comes with many benefits and
freedoms. For instance, you will enjoy the feelings of familiarity and control
- which are effective at improving your chances for recovery. Additionally, you
might have a stronger social support network that you can easily count on when
you feel the need to relapse.
Last but not least, your friends and family might help to
supervise your behavior, as well as motivate you with alternatives to substance
abuse. They will also support you in your hour of need to ensure that you do
not go back to drug use.
At most outpatient drug rehab facilities, clients enjoy
greater flexibility. As a direct result, you will enjoy substance abuse
treatment without being forced to take the time to check into a residential
inpatient facility. It works best for:
However, the main difference between outpatient and
inpatient drug rehab revolves around the cost, with the latter being more
expensive. At an inpatient care center, for instance, the cost might be higher
to cater for round-the-clock staffing, meals, housing, and the broad range of
recovery amenities and therapy.
Since outpatient care tends to provide fewer services, it
follows that most of the facilities providing this type of care will charge
At an outpatient rehab, you are likely to receive the
help you need to battle your addictions and emerge victorious. Most of these
facilities even cater to the needs of those battling different types of
Some of the drug and substance addictions solved at
outpatient facilities include, but are by no means limited to:
To help you make the right choice of an outpatient
rehabilitation facility, consider the following:
Most outpatient rehab facilities provide the
comprehensive care you might need to recover from your addiction fully.
Although you won't be required to stay overnight, you will still enjoy
intensive and serious programs to guide you towards full recovery.
In some cases, the programs are quite time-consuming and
will require you to show up before you can defeat your addiction. Luckily,
these facilities also call for support from family and friends, which boosts
their rates of success.
Most outpatient rehab facilities work with you to
schedule your sessions and the different treatments you require according to
your diagnosis. This means that you can choose from the sessions you will
attend. Additionally, you have the flexibility to choose when to schedule your
sessions, although popular options include evenings, mornings, weekends, and
In the same way, outpatient rehab programs are effective
because they combine different therapies. Some use the educational form of
discussion while others will apply group sessions to provide you with the
motivation you might require on your journey to recovery.
That said, the treatments provided at these facilities
encompass a variety of facets, and come with highly personalized and
comprehensive programs. Since these therapies are designed to address your
issues with chemical dependency, it follows that you will soon enjoy faster
recovery while enjoying the comforts and convenience of staying in your own
Since you won't be required to eat your meals or stay
overnight in the center, it means that your final costs will be lower than if
you had opted for an inpatient residential drug rehab center.
Although inpatient facilities are quite luxurious and
attractive, they are cost-prohibitive to a vast majority of drug and substance
As mentioned above, outpatient drug rehab will keep you
in the home environment while working with the individual elements in your
current life. As you might already know, addiction is multifaceted and affects
different aspects of life - from relationships to careers.
By checking into an outpatient program, you might
increase your ability to address these challenges. The proximity to your
regular life while undergoing treatment means that you are more likely to
succeed at facing your challenges as they come while at the same time working
with your family, friends, colleagues, and clients to rebuild your previously
Even as you seek treatment through an outpatient rehab
program, you might still be able to continue working and participating in your
social and familial responsibilities. This might be important especially if you
are the breadwinner in your family or for yourself.
As such, you don't have to put your work or career on
hold as you seek recovery from drug abuse and addiction. In many cases, you can
even continue fulfilling everyday responsibilities with colleagues, clients,
and bosses while also working on your addiction recovery.
If your loved one is undergoing recovery, checking them
into an outpatient rehab facility will allow you to remain involved in the
entire process. It is hard to recover from substance abuse, and most people
cannot do it on their own.
By providing support as family and as a friend, you will
contribute to the successful recovery of your loved one. Further, the
outpatient rehab will allow you to attend to the program when called upon to do
Most inpatient rehab programs dramatize the homecoming
experience, which might involve high expectations and act as an additional
source of stress to the addict. This problem is effectively removed with an
outpatient rehab program.
Additional benefits of outpatient drug outpatient rehab
However, outpatient rehab programs also come with their
unique disadvantages. These include:
After deciding that outpatient rehab is the way to go,
you also have to choose the right facility and program to work with. While
evaluating the different options out there, you need to keep in mind that
everyone is different. As such, your needs might not be the same as those of the
recovered former addict who motivated you to seek treatment.
The following are some of the factors you should consider
while looking around for the right outpatient rehab center for you:
For starters, you might want to look for a facility that
provides a relatively relaxed environment and a flexible schedule of programs.
While attending outpatient rehab, you will continue working and maintaining
your family and home responsibilities.
As a direct result, you need to schedule your time
carefully so that you do not burn out and end up where you are trying to escape
- abusing drugs compulsively to deal with the stresses of daily life.
To this end, think about the outpatient rehab as a night
school. This means that you should look for a program that has classes offered
at the most convenient of times. The program should also be designed around
The most effective outpatient rehab program is likely to
schedule regular visits with your program director/therapist. To make this
happen, the facility must keep the staff to client ratio low.
In such a program, easy access to the director/therapist
will ensure that you have the freedom to drop by the office whenever you are on
campus, when you need additional guidance or when you have additional questions
- all of which will improve your chances of recovery.
When undergoing outpatient rehabilitation, you should
look for a program that provides open lines of communication. These lines
should remain open even when you are off campus.
In most cases, rehabilitation only works when it happens
around the clock - and not just when you are in session with the program. By
signing up with a communicative center, the staff will be able to reach out and
talk to you if you miss a session or whenever something unusual happens.
Further, you will have easy access to the facility
whenever you need assistance or guidance - especially when you are off
The best outpatient centers maintain stable relationships
with other programs in the same area. Although your chosen treatment facility
will serve as the main hub for your recovery, what they offer could be
supplemented by other activities in the area.
To this end, you might want to choose a center that is
affiliated to a gym, spas, yoga classes, and other forms of additional therapy
that you might benefit from on your journey to full recovery from
Only sign up with outpatient drug rehab programs that are
accredited and licensed by your state. You might also want to check that the
staff members are well trained and highly experienced in addiction management
and mental health treatments.
Where possible, check to see if there are any statistics
and user reviews posted online about the outpatient rehab facility you are
interested in attending. Go through these reviews and statists to discern the
success rates to expect from the center, and use the knowledge gathered to make
your decision about whether to sign up or to proceed to the next choice.
Your main goal should be to get the help you require to
fight off your substance abuse and addiction. At an outpatient drug rehab
facility, you will receive the assistance you have been looking for and get
started on your journey towards recovery.
Although the decision to quit might be difficult, you
will soon find that there exist systems and mechanisms that will support this
decision. One such option that many former addicts benefited from was an
outpatient rehab center.
However, before you choose a facility, do some
investigation and find out as much as you can about the center, the programs
provided, the quality of care to expect, as well as the cost implications of
Once everything meets your expectations, sign up with the
facility and start working on your recovery. With time, and based on the level
of support and motivation you receive, you will soon be able to say you are no
longer tied to your old addiction.
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