Many people have the misconception that treatment should include an inpatient program, but that is only the case for those who fit the clinical assessment. Some factors include severity and duration of use as well as whether there are continued periods of instability and use after multiple attempts at lower levels of care. That being said, the majority of people who need and receive treatment services actually do so in an outpatient setting.

Benefits of Outpatient Treatment

By attending treatment on an outpatient basis, people are able to extend into a longer period of engagement, which usually means several months or more. They are able to get real help while they’re adjusting to daily life and have support through the recovery process. Outpatient treatment also allows for people to choose to see other care providers at the same time to create a collaborative team effort.

Types of Outpatient Treatment

Partial Hospitalization (PHP) is the highest level of care that can be delivered on an outpatient basis. This is a full-time schedule of treatment that is usually 6 hours per day, 5 days per week. People enrolled at the PHP level receive as many therapy hours (group and individual) as those in residential treatment, but either stay at a sober living residence or at their own home instead of at the facility.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) is a minimum of 9 hours per week, up to 16 hours per week, and consists of half-days and also includes both group and individual therapy time. Research has found that people who complete intensive outpatient treatment can be just as successful as residential treatment. This level often presents the best balance between ongoing care and social integration.

Regular Outpatient (OP) is typically up to 3 hours per week, though often only 60-90 minutes, and includes group and individual therapy sessions each month. When part of a program, it is the last step down as the lowest level of outpatient treatment, and may often last for 6 to 12 months to continue to provide longer term recovery support.

Types of Clients Who Tend to do Well in Outpatient Addiction Treatment

How do you know whether an outpatient model is the best choice for you or a loved one? Here are some points to consider:

• The addiction has not had several years to take hold, and the client can count on the support of family and friends who live nearby while undergoing treatment.
• The addict is not a danger to themselves or others.
• The addict is able to avoid being around friends who drink or use drugs.
• There is no history of chronic relapses after undergoing treatment.

Examples of Benefits of Outpatient Treatment for Addiction

• Effective for Early-Stage Addicts

This type of treatment usually focuses on techniques for overcoming addiction, which makes it a good choice for those in the early stages of an addiction. For someone who recognizes they have a problem and is motivated to change their lifestyle to nip the problem in the bud, an outpatient treatment program can be very effective.

• Multiple Services Available

Outpatient treatment programs can provide more than one type of treatment service to its clients. This type of multidisciplinary approach is a highly effective method for treating addictions. Examples of the services that may be offered to clients include the following:

• Individual therapy
• Group therapy
• Alcohol and drug education
• Gender-specific treatment groups
• 12-step programs
• Relapse prevention
• Life skills
• Mental health treatment
• Referrals to sober living houses
• DUI/DWI programs

Prescription medications may be given to reduce cravings and lower the risk that a client may start drinking or using drugs. These would be given under the supervision of a medical doctor.

  • Clients Can Maintain a Regular Routine
  • Outpatient treatment is an ideal option for those who want or need to continue working while seeking help for their addiction. Students can stay on track toward their educational goals, too. The schedule is flexible enough to allow clients to work or attend school around their treatment sessions.

  • Cost-Effective Option
  • This treatment option is less expensive than attending an inpatient treatment program, which may make it a more attractive option. Clients can receive a high level of treatment, without having to stay at a treatment facility as an inpatient.