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Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment - Outpatient

Outpatient Treatment: What is it?


Outpatient treatment is when you go to a treatment facility for drug and alcohol addiction treatment, but you don’t stay at the center overnight. This does not mean that you are unable to take apart of the different aspects that the facility has to offer. It does mean, though, that you will have to provide your own lodging and place to stay in between treatment sessions.


In a perfect world, a person who wants to get clean and detox, go to rehab, and get treatment for substance dependence would be able to take a break from his/her life, stop work, stop taking care of his/her family, and focus on treatment.


But we don’t live in a perfect world.


Rehabilitation and treatment centers who offer outpatient treatment understand that you don’t live in the perfect world and that you may have responsibilities that you can’t just drop to commit to an 30 to 90 day inpatient treatment program.


Outpatient treatment is designed so that you can continue to take care of the responsibilities in your life and also get treatment.


There are various types of outpatient treatment, including 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day treatment plans. There are also intensive outpatient treatment plans. These plans have you scheduled for multiple counseling, therapy, and education sessions throughout the day.


Depending on the treatment center you go to, outpatient treatment can seem just as intense as inpatient treatment.



Outpatient Treatment: Who needs it?


There are two major benefits to outpatient treatment: cost and flexibility.


The cost of outpatient treatment is substantially cheaper than inpatient treatment. This is because inpatient treatment provides all medical and nutritional treatment, as well as accommodations, counseling sessions, etc. Depending on what outpatient program you go to, the costs may vary depending on what is available to outpatient patients.


Secondly, flexibility is another key factor to why people choose outpatient treatment. This flexibility is great if you have children or a job. However, with this flexibility comes less structure. Therefore, it puts more of the responsibility on the addict to come to sessions. This may be difficult, especially in the first 30 to 90 days of treatment.


What happens in outpatient drug and alcohol treatment?


As noted by the NIDA, depending on the intensity of the particular outpatient program, outpatient treatment may be little more than drug education.1 More intense outpatient treatments may provide medical and nutritional help, however, this is not the norm.


The level of involvement you receive from a treatment center is very different between centers. Your success rate is not determined by just one factor. Part of your success is your responsibility. However, other factors, such as the type of program you choose, the personal attention you will get, etc. may determine the strength of care you receive. Each patient is unique and responds to many different approaches to treatment. However, certain programs are statistically more successful than others.


1) “Drug Addiction Treatment in the United States.” The National Institute on Drug Abuse. Date downloaded: July 9, 2010.