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  • Addiction & recovery

What to Know About Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Nzinga Harrison
Nzinga Harrison

January 27, 2020

cindy

When it comes to addiction treatment programs, many people might first think of 30-day inpatient rehabs, as seen in countless TV shows and movies. Inpatient treatment has been popular for many years but for some people, leaving their jobs, homes, and loved ones for an extended period isn’t an option. For those who need a more flexible option, outpatient recovery programs are a helpful alternative. If you or your loved one is interested in learning more about outpatient addiction treatment, here are the top factors you should know.

Outpatient Program Services

In general, the majority of services provided by inpatient programs are also available in an outpatient setting. These services include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): As part of a medically-supervised outpatient program, medications are prescribed to help ease withdrawal side-effects and prevent relapses. For mental health conditions that occur alongside addiction, medication management can treat anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, PTSD or any other psychiatric symptoms.

  • Therapy and counseling: Outpatient programs provide individual or group therapy sessions, or a combination of both. These sessions can take place at the clinic or may even be available via video chat.

  • Peer network: Just like inpatient programs, outpatient treatment brings individuals with addiction together by building bonds.

  • Help for families and loved ones: Family members are important partners in the recovery process, especially for individuals living at home during their outpatient treatment. Many outpatient programs involve family members in therapy, either with the individual in treatment or through support groups for loved ones affected by addiction.

  • Support resources: Outpatient programs with community partnerships can assist with housing, employment, healthcare, childcare, legal services, wellness programs, and continuing education.

Outpatient Program Scheduling

Not everyone feels comfortable starting their recovery by being removed from their daily life. Outpatient programs are beneficial for those who want to maintain their work responsibilities and family commitments while receiving addiction treatment. This means that the various aspects of a treatment plan are structured around the needs and schedule of the individual. For people who need flexible timing, outpatient treatment lets them attend their appointments and group meetings without disrupting their daily routines.

The main priority of outpatient programs is to provide the most effective, convenient recovery services. Some may offer mental health services via video chat or staff who can meet at whatever location is convenient for the individual. The goal is to ensure individuals have access to support resources that extend beyond the clinic walls, whenever needed.

Unlike inpatient programs that typically last between 30 and 90 days, there is no pre-determined length of treatment in outpatient programs. This means that individuals in outpatient recovery can engage with health services, therapy, peer groups, and support resources for as long as they seek them.

Quality of Outpatient Programs

Addiction is an extremely personal disease, which means that no two people experience it the same way. This also means that the recovery journey differs from person to person. For some people, inpatient treatment is effective and for others, outpatient programs are very beneficial. It’s important to remember that the quality of any treatment program is not just determined by whether it’s inpatient or outpatient.

Here are some important quality indicators of both types of treatment:

  • Accreditation by independent nonprofit organizations like The Joint Commission or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF®)

  • Clinical staff credentials and licensures, such as LADC (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor), LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), CAC (Certified Addictions Counselor) or CCDP (Certified Co-occurring Disorders Counselor)

  • A well-rounded treatment team of professionals from different disciplines

  • Use of evidence-based treatments that are proven by science and research to be effective in treating addiction

Who Benefits from Outpatient Treatment Programs?

All types of people can benefit from outpatient treatment. It is common for some people to begin receiving treatment at an inpatient facility if they need specific rehabilitation services or close medical observation, and then transition to an outpatient program when they are more stable. Outpatient programs make it simple for people to continually engage in the lifelong recovery process, due to the open and flexible access to support.

Whether it’s inpatient or outpatient treatment, seeking help for addiction is the first important step in the right direction. Selecting a recovery program is a very personal decision that depends on an individual’s specific needs and circumstances. To learn if an outpatient addiction treatment program like Eleanor Health is the right fit for you or your loved one, contact us today.

If you need help with your substance use disorder, we are here to help you build your confidence and momentum towards the future you want. We provide treatment services for adults with alcohol, opioid, and other substance use disorders. We are currently located in Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, and Washington.