Treatment for a substance use disorder is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. The type of program you choose, whether it is residential or outpatient treatment, should align with your personal preferences, resources, and the appropriate level of care.
Generally, a residential treatment program is the best setting for someone with a more serious substance use problem. The longer the history of substance use, the more entrenched the dependency tends to be. The residential programs provide a more intensive approach to treatment and offer continual support.
But residential treatment is not for everyone. In many instances, taking an extended leave away from work and daily responsibilities is simply not possible. In this event, an outpatient program provides an excellent option.
What is Outpatient Treatment?
Outpatient treatment offers access to the therapies and education that can help someone gain control over a substance problem. Outpatient treatment involves three main components: Psychotherapy, education, and Twelve-Step program integration. These combined treatment elements help the individual achieve the following objectives:
- To eliminate the use of substances
- To define short-term, long-term, and lifetime recovery goals
- To identify the triggers that lead to compulsive substance use
- To make fundamental changes in the response to those triggers
- To explore underlying factors, such as past trauma or negative life events
- To eliminate the conditions that support substance use
- To learn new coping skills for managing stress, anger, and conflicts, and to improve communication skills.
- To create a relapse prevention plan and actionable steps to take when recovery is threatened
- To acquire knowledge about the disease of addiction
- To develop a home environment that is supportive of recovery
Benefits of Outpatient Treatment
There are several benefits to the outpatient model for substance use treatment. These include:
- Providing treatment for people who need to continue working. Work and family obligations make it difficult for someone to take a long leave of absence in order to go to a residential treatment program. Outpatient care offers more flexibility. Evening outpatient therapy sessions, groups, and classes allow the person to be available during the day for parenting or work commitments.
- Providing treatment at a lower out-of-pocket cost. Residential treatment is more costly because it includes meals and housing, as well as more intensive programming. For someone with limited resources or insurance coverage an outpatient program can be a more cost effective option.
- Having access to the support of family members or a spouse. Because the individual is able to reside at home during the outpatient program they can enjoy the support of their family members. Being surrounded by their love and support can be protective against relapse.
- Providing treatment in a more discreet manner. For some, privacy concerns are a reason for opting for outpatient treatment. Staying at a residential treatment center may cause some to worry about confidentiality.
Different Types of Outpatient Care
One of the advantages to outpatient treatment is the ability to build a customized program based entirely on the client’s unique needs. Generally, there are three different levels of intensity available in outpatient treatment programs. These include:
Basic Outpatient Treatment
This level of care represents the minimal amount of outpatient intervention. The basic outpatient treatment services are an excellent option for individuals who have completed a residential treatment program and wish to reinforce their recovery with ongoing therapy and support as part of continuing care. Basic outpatient treatment includes primarily psychotherapy sessions, both individual and group, and classes.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
The IOP provides a range of intensity based on the client’s particular recovery needs. This is a customizable treatment option for those with a mild to moderate substance use disorder. Programming averages 9-12 hours per week, but will taper down as recovery benchmarks are met. In addition to the psychotherapy and education, the IOP includes family therapy, and medication supported recovery.
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
The PHP is the highest level of outpatient programming available. The PHP is preferred for the more serious substance use disorders. The PHP requires daily involvement, averaging 25-35 hours per week of participation in the various therapeutic activities. As with the IOP, the individual will step down to a less intensive level of care as they reach the recovery goals.
Outpatient treatment offers a viable alternative to residential treatment and should be explored as an option. If you or someone you love needs treatment for a substance use disorder but needs to maintain employment, consider an outpatient program.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, holistic addiction treatment, drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to heal each individual with respect and dignity, and reflects on our ongoing commitment to meet new challenges. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307