man in denim shirt smiling with arm perched on railing after learning about outpatient rehab programs

An outpatient treatment program bridges the transition between more intense forms of substance abuse treatment and living an independent life in recovery. 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 represent the final phase of professional substance abuse treatment. It’s the last stop on your return to everyday life. Some people in outpatient programs 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.

In the spectrum of addiction treatment programs, this is where outpatient treatment falls:

  1. Drug detox or alcohol detox
  2. Inpatient treatment
  3. Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  4. Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  5. Outpatient treatment
  6. 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 an outpatient treatment facility after you finish their program.

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 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, as well as access to a variety of support groups and resources to help you stay on the right path. Outpatient programs may also offer several different times and places you may attend your sessions, plus a place to get referrals for other types of medical or psychological care.

How Is Outpatient Treatment Different From an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

In the step-down approach to substance use disorder treatment, an outpatient program follows an intensive outpatient program (IOP). An intensive outpatient program 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.

There are a few different types of outpatient rehab:

  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Outpatient program (OP)

Partial hospitalization is the highest level of outpatient care. A PHP addiction treatment program usually meets around six hours a day. Many attendees live in nearby sober-living residences managed by or associated with the treatment facility.

Intensive outpatient programs are a step-down from PHPs. Many people transition out of residential rehab or PHPs into an IOP before entering an outpatient program. Intensive outpatient programs usually meet for three hours a day three or four times a week. Outpatient programs meet the least amount of time — one to three hours in one day or over a few days a week.

The higher the level of care, the more extensive the treatment services. For example, a PHP will have similar programming as inpatient treatment. This may include individual and group therapy as well as a wide selection of experiential approaches like art therapy, psychodrama, specialized groups, mindfulness, and others. An outpatient treatment 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.

Is Outpatient Treatment Right for Me?

Most people with severe substance use disorders don’t enter addiction treatment at the outpatient program 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 Treatment?

Drug and alcohol rehab teaches you the skills to achieve long-term 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 treatment.

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

At Vogue Recovery Center, we follow a step-down approach that includes the following inpatient and outpatient recovery phases:

  • Detox: The first step of recovery, the sub-acute detox phase, follows a medically supervised protocol to eliminate drugs from your system.
  • Residential Treatment (also known as inpatient treatment): 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.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): A half-way step between the inpatient and intensive outpatient phases, partial hospitalization provides the structure of inpatient care with added freedoms associated with outpatient treatment.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): During this phase, you begin to return to your previous life, but with significant support to prevent relapse. An intensive outpatient program usually requires several hours of treatment on several weekdays.
  • Outpatient Treatment: At this point you’re fully able to live on your own. Our outpatient program provides the occasional support needed to face a life of sustainable sobriety.

Depending on the Vogue Recovery Center location, outpatient treatment options include day programs and evening hours. Treatment plans typically include group therapy, individual therapy, and other treatment services as needed. Our outpatient program focuses on relapse prevention and strengthening recovery skills.

Insurance and Admissions

Recovery is not an easy process, but it’s well worth it. Vogue treatment center’s outpatient programs can provide the support you need as you grow stronger in your sobriety. We are in-network with several insurance providers and accept most major insurance plans. Call us today with your questions about rehab and a free, confidential consultation.