Outpatient rehab is an important option to consider for people who are seeking treatment for substance or behavioral addictions. In contrast to residential rehab, in which an addicted person stays at a treatment facility for a period of several weeks, months, or even years, in an outpatient rehab program, a patient undergoes treatment and attends counseling during the day and returns home at night.
What You Can Expect
Many outpatient rehab programs take place within a hospital-like setting, but they may also be located in a large home or treatment center. The heart of outpatient rehab is counseling, and patients will likely participate in individual, group, and family therapy sessions. The goal of this counseling is to help recovering addicts understand their addictions and learn to better care for themselves. They will learn coping strategies to deal with situations in which their addiction may resurface and will also learn how to make their families function better. They may also take educational classes, undergo regular drug testing (if needed), and be paired with a sponsor—a recovered addict who can support them through their journey toward a new life free of addiction. Outpatient rehab programs may also include medically supported programs as part of which a patient receives substitution therapy to prevent relapse. Intensive outpatient treatment plans may even involve day hospitalization. Outpatient rehab programs typically last from 1–3 months, but they can last for up to 2 years depending on a recovering addict’s needs. Alcoholics Anonymous and similar twelve-step programs are some of the most familiar types of outpatient rehab programs, but there are many types available to help people with different types of addictions. In addition, various rehab programs may have a faith-based, medical, or therapeutic focus.
The benefits of outpatient rehab include the ability to remain physically connected with your job and family during your treatment. You may be able to continue working at your job although you may have to cut back on your hours in order to meet the time commitments of rehab. Outpatient rehab allows patients to maintain a presence in their homes with their families because they do not have to spend the night at the treatment center. Recovering addicts are also able to stay in touch with their support systems. In addition, the cost of outpatient rehab also tends to be lower than inpatient rehab because there is no need to pay for room and board.
Outpatient rehab is not the best choice for all recovering addicts. People who have a long-standing addiction with a history of relapse, live in a toxic home environment, or have become a danger to themselves or others should choose residential rehab. In fact, outpatient rehab is often most helpful for individuals in the early stages of a substance or behavior addiction and for those who are coming out of a residential rehab and need continued support.
How to Find an Outpatient Rehab
You might start by calling the hospital nearest you to see if they offer a program that suits your needs. In addition, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration maintains a comprehensive, searchable national database of substance abuse treatment centers at www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov. Many outpatient rehabs offer programs that are geared toward individuals with special needs, including individuals with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health problems, adolescents, pregnant women, and older people.