Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment Options

Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment Options

When people think of drug or alcohol treatment, they often think of long stays at a facility lasting for months at a time. These facilities are often referred to as inpatient treatment programs and patients are required to live at the facility for the duration of the treatment.

While some situations do call for this sort of inpatient treatment, there are also many other options available that provide more flexibility for patients.

One option is an outpatient drug and alcohol program. These programs can vary in their intensity and range anywhere from a few hours a week to 20-plus hours per week. This flexibility allows the program to adapt to different patients yet still provide the necessary tools for recovery.

Outpatient programs are also more affordable than inpatient options, which makes them more accessible to a wider range of people of different backgrounds.

Below, we’ll review the options available for outpatient drug and alcohol treatment and explain how to find the right program for your situation.

What Is Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment?

Outpatient drug and alcohol treatment is a type of rehabilitation used to treat addiction. The patient participates in individual or group therapy sessions during the week but can still maintain other responsibilities outside of therapy during that time.

Outpatient treatment does not require 24-hour supervision, so patients can maintain a level of independence throughout the treatment.

Outpatient treatment programs can differ in intensity. Some less intensive programs only meet one or two days a week and for five to ten hours in total.

More intensive outpatient treatment programs can meet several times a week for up to 20-pus hours in total.

The intensity of the program needed will depend on the individual patient and their specific addiction and personal needs.

Benefits Of Outpatient Drug And Alcohol Treatment

Outpatient addiction treatment was developed to deal with the shortcomings of inpatient addiction treatment. While inpatient drug treatment can be very effective, it has several downsides that make it inaccessible to many people suffering from addiction.

Below are some of the benefits that outpatient treatment can offer over inpatient options.

Lower Cost

The main benefit of outpatient drug rehab centers is the lower cost for patients. If patients are paying for treatment out of pocket, this can often be the deciding factor in whether they can receive treatment.

If insured, many healthcare plans will not cover extended inpatient addiction treatment. So for many patients, outpatient treatment is the only affordable option.

Despite the lower cost, outpatient drug and alcohol treatment can still be extremely effective when used appropriately. As with any addiction treatment, the willingness of the patient, the support structure, and the right choice of treatment options are key to the overall outcome.


Another benefit of outpatient drug and alcohol treatment is the flexibility it provides. Many patients are simply not able to spend months at an inpatient facility.

In addition, many patients may not need that level of constant supervision. Outpatient programs allow for the flexibility needed to treat each patient individually.

In addition, outpatient programs can be combined with other treatment options such as medically assisted treatment (MAT). By combining different treatment options, patients can have a higher chance of success.

Finally, patients can move between different levels of outpatient treatment programs as needed instead of being locked into a specific time frame. For example, a patient may start in an intensive outpatient program but later transition to a lower-intensity program during treatment.

Better Transition

One challenging aspect of recovery is the transition after treatment has ended. This can be a difficult time to manage as patients need to apply the skills they’ve learned in treatment to real-world situations and triggers.

Inpatient treatment can provide an enhanced sense of security due to the highly controlled environment and supervision. When this ends, the transition can be jarring for patients and this can lead to relapse in some cases.

Outpatient treatment can sometimes provide a smoother transition since the patient is still participating in most of their daily activities. This allows them to apply the tools and strategies they learn immediately.

Since the patient returns during the week for sessions, they can report any difficulties they’ve had and receive additional counseling or strategies to help them better cope with real-world situations.

How Does Outpatient Rehab Work?

Outpatient programs can vary but they will each have the same core activities to help patients on their journey to sobriety.

Most programs will begin with an initial evaluation. This will determine if the patient has any concurrent physical or mental health issues that will need to be addressed.

During this assessment, the patient’s past drug or alcohol use will also be considered to help find the right treatment to match their level of addiction.

This initial phase will also include a detox period where the patient stops using drugs or alcohol. For some patients, this period may require medical supervision. The outpatient program can provide assistance or guidance on any necessary medical supervision during the initial phase of detox.

For patients with less severe addiction, an outpatient drug detox program can be used.

After the detox phase, the majority of the outpatient treatment services can begin. They include:

  • Behavioral counseling and therapy (group or individualized)
  • Ongoing evaluation and treatment of any concurrent mental health issues
  • Substance use monitoring or testing
  • Case management.
  • Long-term continuing care focused on relapse prevention (aftercare)

During this phase of outpatient treatment, patients learn the skills and tools to reverse negative behavioral patterns that contribute to addictive behavior. Patients will also learn how to cope with cravings or triggers in their daily lives that can threaten their sobriety.

Finally, there is aftercare. This critical aspect of treatment can be vital for a patient’s success. Aftercare is a less intensive phase of outpatient treatment but still provides assistance, structure, and a support system if needed.

Aftercare can be in-person meetings in a group setting. Some programs also offer online outpatient drug treatment aftercare where patients can meet virtually.

More Information About Drug And Alcohol Rehab Centers

Emory Recovery Center offers a vital resource for individuals grappling with addiction through its outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs. These programs are designed for flexibility and affordability, catering to those who require a treatment plan that aligns with their daily life.

We offer a variety of outpatient treatment plans, each varying in intensity, to suit the unique needs of our patients. Our experienced team is ready to conduct evaluations and assist in selecting the most suitable outpatient treatment option. This approach ensures the greatest likelihood of recovery success while allowing patients to continue managing their life commitments outside of treatment.

For more information about our adaptable outpatient drug and alcohol treatment services, please reach out to us. Our addiction specialists are available to provide further details and guidance.




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