Outpatient treatment generally entails some amount of daily treatment at a clinic or facility and allow you to return home during non-treatment hours. This type of program gives people more freedom and the ability to maintain a job and keep up with day-to-day responsibilities at home. Those just beginning outpatient care may need daily sessions, while those further along or with less severe addictions may be successful with one or two sessions per week.
Outpatient programs generally last from one to three months, as this is usually the window of time in which recovering addicts are most likely to relapse. How long a client stays in outpatient care depends on the process they’re making in recovery, which takes into account both their mental stability, as well as their physical health. Since outpatient care doesn’t involve monitored residence at a facility, clients need to be dedicated to the program and capable of pursuing sobriety without intensive care. They also need a living situation that is free from drugs or alcohol.
Outpatient treatment costs less than residential or inpatient treatment and is often the preferred choice for people with jobs or extensive social supports. The downside, though, is that this type of treatment isn’t always as effective, and some low-intensity programs don’t do more than offer drug education. Other models, such as intensive day treatment, are comparable to residential programs in services and effectiveness, depending also on an individual person’s characteristics and needs. Group counseling is a major component in many outpatient programs and some are designed to also treat people with medical or other mental health issues in addition to their drug abuse disorders.
Some of the top benefits of outpatient treatment are:
- Less commitment. On average, this type of treatment requires less time and money to complete.
- Greater privacy. Given that you can keep up with your daily life, you will likely get by without having to disclose to employers of friends that you are undergoing treatment.
- Greater autonomy. You hold yourself accountable on a daily basis, while still being able to receive medical support when needed.
- Collective support. Individual counseling, along with group and family therapy will help you build a network of supporters that will be there for you and make sure you stay strong in sobriety.