Some rehab centers provide outpatient treatment for substance abuse. People looking into addiction treatment might ask themselves, is an outpatient treatment program for me?

Standard knowledge affirms there are hundreds of thousands of individuals across the nation that suffer from substance abuse. Fortunately, numerous rehab facilities across the country can provide addiction treatment relief. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are more than 14,500 specialized drug treatment facilities in the United States.

Understanding more about how outpatient treatment programs operate could help somebody in making the best decision when ready.

A severe addiction to particular substances, such as alcohol and drugs such as opioids, are typically treated more successfully in an inpatient residential treatment program where patients can receive aid in managing detox and withdrawal symptoms. However, a mild substance addiction detected in the initial phases can ordinarily be successfully treated in an outpatient treatment program.

Outpatient treatment programs are an ideal option for individuals who are driven to become sober but also need the flexibility of a treatment program and facility that will operate around their agendas.

What Is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment can be highly beneficial for patients with substance use disorders and are serious about becoming sober. Outpatient treatment programs come in multiple formats and diversify in terms of intensity. Again, all treatment programs will ordinarily concentrate on therapy, education, and developing a safe, supportive network of peers who also are sober.

Outpatient programs offer substance addiction and mental health treatment, which can be scheduled for various periods throughout the week. This schedule provides patients the ability to proceed with their everyday duties while still living at home and checking into their outpatient care provider at scheduled times for their weekly therapy, medication, and counseling sessions.

Outpatient programs come in an assortment of formats, differing levels of intensity, and offer a variety of services, with the general focus being education, counseling, and administering a network of support.

Only the individuals with a firm determination to overcome addiction and who have a devoted, disciplined approach may be successful in an outpatient treatment program.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

Substance addiction treatment programs typically fall into two categories: inpatient or outpatient treatment. Most who are inquiring into addiction treatment question what is the difference in inpatient vs. outpatient treatment? While each treatment program has its advantages – the particular form of treatment required must be considered based on a patient’s requirements at that moment.

Inpatient Treatment

  • Suited for patients requiring an intense level of care
  • Provides patients with a comprehensive treatment while they live at the facility
  • More regular individual therapy sessions
  • More regular group therapy sessions
  • Costs more than outpatient treatment
  • 24/7 medical supervision
  • Typically a 30-day program

Outpatient Treatment

  • Suited for patients requiring less intensive treatment therapy
  • Outpatient treatment provides structured support and flexibility while the patient remains living at home
  • Less regular individual therapy sessions
  • Less regular group therapy sessions
  • Costs less than inpatient treatment
  • Patients have access to a recovery support network
  • Typically 10-30 hours per week

Who Are the Best Candidates for Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment programs are primarily considered a lesser intense form of substance addiction care. These programs do not offer around the clock supervision services, and there are no clinicians around when triggers strike in the middle of the night. Because of these reasons, outpatient treatment programs are recommended for individuals who have:

  • Completed inpatient treatment previously and want to continue therapy
  • The beginning stages of addiction where the habit is still moderate
  • Close sobriety companions who can support them during a crisis
  • Healthy mental health conditions, besides their addiction

Even individuals with mild forms still must deal with her addiction, but they require much less hands-on aid and supervision. Individuals like this can succeed in outpatient treatment programs that offer a lower level of medical assistance.

However, many individuals who enroll in outpatient programs do it for convenience and not out of recommendation.

Forms of Outpatient Treatment

There are different forms of outpatient treatment based on instances like the substance of choice or the patient’s severity of addiction and degree of recovery.

The general forms of outpatient treatment will fall into these categories:

Day Programs

  • Outpatient treatment day programs provide the highest level of care and structure supplied in an outpatient treatment environment. Day programs require patients to commit to meeting 3-5 days a week at an outpatient treatment facility for 4-6 hours per day. Day programs allow patients to cooperate in ongoing addiction therapy, counseling, biofeedback, group therapy, and even alternative forms like music or art therapy.

  • Patients can return home or a sober living facility at the end of the day. Day programs require a significant time dedication, which can limit the patient’s availability to go to school or work until the program is completed.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

  • Intensive outpatient programs implement a treatment plan with goals written out to show progression. As these goals are achieved, the therapy required per week will be decreased.

  • Intensive outpatient programs are built for individuals who are serious about becoming sober but are still required to work and conduct daily duties. An intensive outpatient program ordinarily requires patients to attend multiple sessions per week of group therapy, individual counseling, relapse prevention education, and 12-step programs.


  • Aftercare groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous are ongoing support groups that help addicts continue their dedication to sobriety. These groups will meet weekly and are conducted by a licensed therapist. Some aftercare organizations may be age-specific or gender-specific, and others may concentrate on a specific aspect of rehabilitation.

Outpatient Treatment Offerings

An outpatient treatment program will often blend both individual and group counseling to educate patients on how to overcome their addiction. This is a comparable mix to what is offered at an inpatient treatment program. Counseling conjoins the two formats.

Inpatient treatment programs provide an assortment of amenities that outpatient treatment programs don’t offer, such as:

  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Parental education
  • Fitness opportunities
  • Medication management
  • Nutritional support
  • Job placement assistance

Patients enrolled in outpatient treatment programs are provided with a list of community resources that could assist with the sobriety process. Still, these services are not typically available in an outpatient program.

It's time to begin detox. How do I get started?

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Benefits of Outpatient Treatment

For individuals with a mild form of addiction, outpatient treatment is generally an ideal rehab option. These programs are more convenient and flexible than an inpatient treatment program.

Some of the most important reasons to consider outpatient treatment will include:

  • Affordability: Due to the patient’s ability to live at home during an outpatient treatment program, this means they won’t have to pay the costs of living in an inpatient treatment facility.

  • Flexibility: Outpatient programs primarily work around the patient’s schedule. This is advantageous for those who are unable to abandon their work, school, or family obligations.

  • Access to their family: Throughout an outpatient treatment program, family support and involvement are emphasized, as loved ones can help encourage them to continue on their route to sobriety.

How to Choose an Outpatient Program

Outpatient treatment programs are not all the same. Some addiction treatment facilities use old treatment approaches that were successful in the 1950s-60s but have been proven to be outdated.

As a result, it is vital to find out if a particular outpatient treatment center is the best choice. Those inquiring can ask about the experience and credentials of the program operator, and they should get a full understanding of what the treatment program offers.

Primarily, those seeking treatment can find the best provider by asking essential questions and getting an expert opinion. Mental health counselors can assist potential patients and their families in letting them know whether or not outpatient care is the appropriate choice for their circumstances. Treatment counselors can also help by running tests for mental health conditions, which can help patients in understanding the extent of underlying issues that need to be addressed.

Top addiction recovery programs will include:

  • Intervention
  • Assessment
  • Detoxification
  • Therapy & Counseling
  • Residential Treatment
  • Outpatient Treatment
  • Partial Hospitalization Programs
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs
  • Aftercare Plans

Expectations of an Outpatient Treatment Program

During an outpatient treatment program, patients and their families can anticipate experiencing:

  • Assessment
  • Medication
  • 12 Step Involvement
  • Individual Therapy Sessions
  • Family Therapy Sessions
  • Group Therapy Sessions

A comprehensive medical and bio-psycho-social assessment can assist in determining the clinical level of care for every patient’s specific needs.

Get Help Today

Outpatient treatment programs are most successful for those who are experiencing a mild to moderate addiction. Outpatient treatment programs will allow the patient recovering to remain living their everyday life while still receiving recovery support as an ongoing process.

A vital advantage of joining an outpatient treatment program is how these programs allow patients to remain in their comfortable and natural surroundings. In contrast, they have all the support needed to help them maintain their sober lifestyle.

The most prosperous outpatient treatment plans will be custom for each patient. Outpatient treatment programs will be a more lengthened recovery plan, which ensures there’s enough time for patients to make a full recovery.

To hear more about outpatient treatment programs, contact one of our addiction treatment specialists here at Unity Behavioral Health today.

Get Help Now

Speak to one of our experienced and caring representatives at Unity Behavioral Health to learn about how our rehab programs can help your loved one defeat addiction.


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