Outpatient Addiction Treatment Center
An outpatient treatment program bridges the transition between more intense forms of substance abuse treatment and living an independent life in recovery without structured treatment. It’s often recommended as part of continuing care when you leave inpatient rehab, a partial hospitalization program, or an intensive outpatient program (IOP).
What Is Outpatient Treatment Like?
Outpatient rehab programs are the final phase of professional substance abuse treatment. It’s the last stop on your return to everyday life. An outpatient program allows you to face real-life challenges that can threaten your sobriety while maintaining a foothold in professional treatment. It provides a regular time each week to get help with providers and reinforce relapse-prevention skills with the help of professional treatment and peers in recovery.
In the spectrum of alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs, this is where it falls in the levels of care:
- Drug detox or alcohol detox
- Residential Treatment
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- Outpatient treatment
- Sober-living residences
Many alcohol and drug rehab centers offer all of these levels of care, though some may only offer residential treatment or a couple of these options. In these cases, the drug or alcohol rehab may refer you to another facility after you finish their inpatient or PHP program.
Most people enter an outpatient program having just left a more intensive level of outpatient care. An IOP meets at least 10 hours a week. Outpatient treatment programs usually meet one to three hours a week. Many will have you start at three hours and gradually decrease the amount of time you attend therapy as you gain your footing in sobriety outside a treatment setting.
Some outpatient drug rehab programs provide regular individual or group therapy sessions, once a week or every other week. They also connect you with support groups and resources to help you stay sober. Outpatient programs may offer several different times and places you may attend your sessions, as well as a place to get referrals for other types of medical or psychological care.
Some people in choose to stay in sober-living facilities as an added layer of support in sobriety. Others choose to live at home if that environment is healthy and conducive to their recovery work.
How Is an Outpatient Program Different From an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?
In the step-down approach to substance use disorder treatment, you enter an outpatient program after you complete an intensive outpatient program (IOP). An IOP is the type of treatment that follows a residential program or a partial hospitalization program.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
An IOP requires participation in multiple sessions a day, several days a week. An outpatient program requires regular, though far less frequent attendance. As the name suggests, an IOP is a more intense form of treatment than regular outpatient treatment.
Whereas a regular outpatient (OP) meets one to three hours a week, an intensive outpatient program (IOP) meets at least 10 hours a week. This time is spread out over the week. For instance, some IOPs meet for three hours a day, every weekday.
An intensive outpatient program doesn’t include all the specialized treatments and activities as a residential program, but it does offer many of the same aspects of care. An IOP offers more treatment options than an OP.
IOPs may include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Medication management
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- Support groups
- Life skills training
- Relapse-prevention education
How Is Outpatient Treatment Different from a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)?
Partial hospitalization is the highest level of outpatient care. Of the different outpatient treatment programs, partial hospitalization offers the most hours of therapy and activities each week.
Partial Hospitalization Program
A PHP addiction treatment program usually meets five to six hours a day. Many attendees choose to live in nearby sober-living residences managed by or associated with the treatment facility. You’re free to live at home as well if that is a supportive environment for your sobriety.
Partial hospitalization programs will have similar day programming as inpatient treatment. This may include individual and group therapy as well as a wide selection of experiential approaches like art therapy, specialized groups, mindfulness, and others. An outpatient treatment program that meets just one to three hours a week will mainly consist of group therapy and individual counseling with other services on an as-needed basis.
In the spectrum of levels of care, intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) come after partial hospitalization programs.. Many people transition out of residential rehab or partial hospitalization programs into an IOP before entering an outpatient program (OP). IOPs usually meet for three hours a day, three or four times a week. OPs meet the least amount of time — one to three hours in one day or over a few days a week.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab
Inpatient treatment always involves living at the treatment center while you receive care. Residences are usually set up like apartments or dorms where you share space with another client. Some luxury rehab centers offer the option of private accommodations.
In residential drug rehab, you attend specific treatment during the day. This is a full day of care that usually involves groups, individual counseling, and recovery activities like fitness, yoga, and other holistic approaches. All your meals are taken on campus. In the evenings, you may attend 12-step groups or participate in social activities with other clients.
Outpatient treatment requires that you live at home or in a sober-living residence. You attend treatment programming during the day but do not live at the treatment facility. Outpatient treatment can vary in hours and days. Many people start with more intensive outpatient care and decrease the type and hours of treatment as they grow more confident in their sobriety.
Is Outpatient Right for Me?
Most people with severe substance use disorders don’t enter addiction treatment at the outpatient level. For people who don’t require a higher level of care like a residential program or partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient treatment could be clinically appropriate with a transition into an outpatient setting as they have more days of sobriety under their belt.
Outpatient addiction treatment is ideal for those who feel confident about sustaining sobriety without the everyday structure of a higher level of addiction treatment. It can also be a good tune-up option if you are feeling less secure in your recovery journey and need some extra support beyond what groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous can provide.
What Happens After Outpatient?
Drug and alcohol rehab teaches you the skills to achieve lasting recovery. In an outpatient treatment program, you refine the relapse-prevention skills you learned in higher levels of care. As you begin to immerse yourself more into work, school, family, and society, you will eventually “graduate” from outpatient at the treatment center.
Your recovery work is not over, however. Sobriety is something you must constantly protect from triggers, especially in the early days. Some people choose to stay in a sober-living residence after treatment, so they are around others dedicated to a substance-free lifestyle. Many sober-living residences also offer regular activities, groups, and onsite managers for extra support.
After outpatient treatment, it’s important to follow your aftercare program and practice healthy coping skills. This often includes:
- Individual therapy sessions
- Medication management for co-occurring mental health disorders
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or SMART Recovery
- Couples or family therapy
- Regular fitness
- Proper nutrition
- Getting enough sleep
- Avoiding triggers when possible
- Hobbies and sober fun
Vogue’s Outpatient Programs
Partial Hospitalization Program
A half-way step between the inpatient and intensive outpatient phases, partial hospitalization provides the structure of inpatient care with added freedoms.
Intensive Outpatient Program
(IOP): During this phase, you begin to return to your previous life, but with significant support to prevent relapse. An IOP usually requires several hours of treatment on several weekdays.
At this point you’re fully able to live on your own. Our outpatient level of care provides the occasional support needed to face a life of sustainable sobriety.
A sober living home provides a supportive living environment while you attend outpatient care or transition back into everyday life.
Vogue’s Inpatient Programs
The first step of recovery, the sub-acute detox phase, follows a medically supervised protocol to eliminate drugs from your system. Medical professionals make sure you’re safe and comfortable during withdrawal and detox.
A fully supervised and highly structured program, inpatient drug rehab provides a safe environment to recover from addiction and learn healthy ways to cope with its root causes like trauma or a dual diagnosis. Addiction professionals draw on a blend of traditional and holistic therapies that support mind-body healing.