Outpatient treatment programs are an alternative to residential treatment for those who aren’t able to leave work or family for an extended period of time. In outpatient rehabs the recovering individual (client) does not live in the structured environment provided by residential treatment. Outpatient rehab is designed to help the individual who doesn’t necessarily need structured residential support from an inpatient program, but does need addiction treatment.
The most effective use of an outpatient program is to transition a client from residential treatment (where they are supported by professionals at all times) to a more independent level of treatment. With this type of treatment, the addict or alcoholic lives in a residence (typically home) that is not provided or supervised by the program, but they continue to regularly attend formal treatment. Treatment is implemented in the form of individual and group therapy, referrals to other needed services, and management of aftercare plans.
Although outpatient rehab is not nearly as demanding as an inpatient program, an IOP, or intensive outpatient program, is still very time consuming. It requires a major commitment of time and energy because programs often meet three or four times per week for at least two to four hours at a time. All outpatient rehab programs have different recommendations, but most require that the individual commit to a minimum number of days and hours that they attend. Many outpatient rehabs require that the person attend addiction and treatment education classes, support groups, and 12 step meetings to supplement individual and group therapy.
Outpatient rehab can be very effective for some alcoholics and addicts. Many people find the freedom of an outpatient rehab program to be beneficial because they are able to receive treatment without interrupting important, healthy components of their lifestyle. Since the amount of time spent involved in outpatient treatment is less than a residential program, the client is able to maintain their job, home responsibilities or school work.
Outpatient rehab is not a good choice for someone who will suffer from intense withdrawal symptoms while detoxifying. It is also not a good choice for someone who does not have a home environment that is supportive of their recovery or someone who has relapsed a number of times despite other recovery efforts. These individuals need more support than outpatient rehab offers and should seek a residential treatment facility.