When someone emerges from the cloistered environment of a residential substance abuse program, they often confront a world where their old life of addiction beckons.

That call can be irresistible. Why? Because in the real world, relapse triggers abound, and friends and settings from that old life can reemerge from the dark, compelling people to slip.

Circumstances such as these show why outpatient programs for substance abuse are a staple of professional recovery.

These programs can help people transition back into society as newly sober people. They can also provide comprehensive treatment for people who cannot afford to put their lives on pause for the services offered in a residential program.

Under the umbrella of outpatient programs, clients can access an array of services that are typically more affordable than inpatient/residential programs yet more substantive than what is offered at a detoxification center.

Read on to learn more about the different types of outpatient treatment programs that exist and available services.

What Is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient programs are notable for the wide variety of options they provide and their structure. They are designed to give people the option to receive treatment while living off-site.

Many programs also offer clients the option to live at home, a sober living facility or another arrangement, while undergoing treatment.  They also offer flexibility to clients who cannot commit to receiving treatment at a residential or inpatient program, which requires an onsite stay — away from home —  that is typically 28 days or longer. This feature gives them the freedom to tend to the critical obligations of life, such as home, family, work, or school.

Outpatient treatment can be administered in a clinic, hospital, or rehabilitation facility. The therapy that is offered can be ongoing and provided at any time of the day. Because outpatient treatment is more affordable than residential options, insurance companies are more likely to cover the cost.

Outpatient treatment benefits clients who fit any of the following criteria:

  • Have early-stage substance use disorders that are mild addictions or less severe ones
  • Do not require drug or alcohol detoxification services
  • Want to continue aftercare upon leaving residential or inpatient treatment
  • Need treatment but cannot afford inpatient or residential treatment
  • Are motivated to remain on a schedule and committed to sobriety while pursuing recovery goals
  • Require structure and can access a support network of family and friends

Types Of Outpatient Programs

To truly maximize their outpatient programs, clients must be honest with themselves on two fronts:

  • Can they exhibit the discipline necessary to commit to attending therapy sessions while living at home?
  • Are they committed to being “all in” on their recovery while minimizing the distractions that come with living independently?

Outpatient clients are responsible for sticking to their treatment schedules and keeping their environment free of drugs, alcohol, and negative influences (especially friends and associates).

Any of these elements by themselves or in combination with each other can ruin their chances of achieving sustained recovery, putting them on a collision course with relapse and the legal and or health consequences that come with it.

There are two types of outpatient programs, which we will explain the following subsections.

IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program)

Intensive outpatient or IOP is a form of outpatient therapy that requires clients to attend sessions that have longer treatment hours and occur more frequently than a standard outpatient program. However, they are shorter overall than the standard outpatient sequence.

The following are key features of an IOP:

  • They serve as the first step after completing an inpatient/residential addiction treatment program.
  • They last a few weeks or months.
  • They feature therapy that is more rigorous than a regular outpatient program.
  • Sessions are usually three hours per day, five days per week.
  • They are geared toward clients in early recovery and/or require more hands-on support.
  • They may cost more than a regular outpatient program.

OP (Outpatient Program)

An outpatient program is a step down, clinically speaking, from an intensive outpatient program. It is less structured than an IOP, but it primarily focuses on preparing a client to fully transition back into everyday life. For a person in recovery, the key to successfully completing an OP is to have a home environment free of drugs and/or alcohol.

The key components of an OP are:

  • It typically follows the successful completion of an IOP.
  • It usually involves one to two sessions a week, at least one hour per week.
  • Programs can last up to six months or longer.
  • It is typically more hands-off than an IOP in terms of therapy.
  • It places the responsibility for recovery solely on the client.
  • It is geared toward people who have more time in recovery and only need minor support.
  • It may cost less than an IOP.

Programs Offered In Outpatient

Outpatient programs feature an array of evidence-based treatment modalities that are designed to address the psychological/spiritual aspects of addiction. They also offer critical life-skills training and education that can reorient individuals back into the real world as newly sober people.

Outpatient Programs Can Feature Any Of The Following Services:

  • Substance abuse education
  • Relapse prevention training
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • 12-step programs
  • Transitional living facility referrals (including sober living homes)
  • Cravings and triggers management
  • Life skills
  • Mental health treatment
  • Anger management
  • Random drug testing
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Spirituality

The Goal For Any Drug Treatment

At the end of the day, all drug treatment options, whether they are inpatient or outpatient programs, want clients to:

  • Cease drug use
  • Remain drug-free
  • Be productive people in society and in their family and work lives

How Professional Treatment Can Help You

Outpatient programs are a central feature of professional addiction treatment. A client can enter into an IOP or OP after going through medical detoxification. Detox is an important step as it treats the physical component of addiction and the varying symptoms that come with withdrawal.

During this phase, the addictive substance and other toxins are removed from the body and withdrawal symptoms that arise are treated by a licensed and certified medical staff.

An outpatient program can be included after someone has undergone residential or inpatient treatment, or, depending on the severity of the addiction after someone has undergone detox.

There is also aftercare available for people who complete treatment and want to remain connected to a supportive recovery community.

Get Help Today

Outpatient programs allow you to receive the treatment needed to beat your addiction. Let us help you locate a program that can help you achieve sustained recovery.

Call us anytime, day or evening, for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable addiction recovery specialists at Desert View Recovery. They can help you locate the right treatment option. Contact us online for more information.

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