Outpatient Drug Rehab: What Is It?

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Outpatient treatment facilities provide a flexible option for people who need to balance their treatment plan with their daily lives. Outpatient substance abuse treatment offers several benefits, including various types of therapy.

Outpatient Drug Rehab: What Is It?

When thinking about substance use disorder treatment, many people picture inpatient treatment facilities, where participants stay for the duration of their care.

While inpatient treatment centers are the best choice for some people, others may see more benefits from outpatient care.

Outpatient rehab centers offer the same types of drug addiction treatment as inpatient programs. However, participants do not remain on the premises overnight.

Levels Of Care In Outpatient Rehab Programs

Outpatient treatment programs offer varying levels of care. The most intensive levels provide the most structure and require the biggest time commitment.

Some people begin with more intensive forms of care and gradually step down to less intensive therapies. Others may only choose one type of outpatient treatment.

Partial Hospitalization Programs

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) provide the most intensive form of outpatient drug and alcohol treatment.

PHP treatment offers at least 20 hours of care per week, and participants may attend these programs for five to seven days throughout the week.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) provide more than nine hours but fewer than 20 hours of care throughout the week.

A person might attend this type of program for three to five days out of every seven, though schedules vary by facility.

Standard Outpatient Programs

Standard outpatient programs (OP) are often simply called outpatient programs, and they provide fewer than nine hours of treatment per week.

Outpatient treatment often works well for people with less severe addictions, as well as people who have recently attended a more intensive form of treatment.

Why Consider An Outpatient Rehab Facility?

When dealing with substance abuse, people may choose outpatient behavioral health services for several reasons.

Here you’ll find some of the most common reasons for selecting outpatient treatment providers.

Opioid Addiction

Outpatient mental health services are commonly used to treat opioid addiction.

Research shows that the most effective treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) is medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which can be administered on an outpatient level.


While inpatient care offers a high level of structure, it does not provide much flexibility.

For many people, especially people dealing with an unstable home environment, this structure may outweigh the need for flexibility.

For others, however, a more flexible treatment schedule works best, and outpatient care offers this type of schedule.

People with less severe addictions or those who cannot take time away from their jobs, school, or families may benefit most from outpatient flexibility.

Strong Support Network

Outpatient addiction treatment is appropriate for people who have strong support systems.

For people who do not have a lot of social support, the structure and group dynamics of inpatient care may provide the best choice.

However, people who do have a strong network of friends and family members may prefer outpatient services, as these services give them better access to that network.

Step-Down Addiction Care

People often attend outpatient programs as a form of step-down addiction care.

For example, after participating in an inpatient program, clients may seek outpatient services as a form of aftercare and relapse prevention.

Continued therapy sessions, support groups, and other forms of care can help people maintain sobriety after their initial treatment program ends.

Cost-Effective Treatment Services

Outpatient addiction programs often cost less money than inpatient services.

The cost of addiction care can become a major barrier for people who want to begin recovery, especially when substance abuse creates financial difficulties.

For many, outpatient services reduce this barrier, providing a more accessible care option.

Types Of Addiction Treatment Offered In Outpatient Programs

Outpatient addiction treatment offers several types of therapy. Programs often tailor services to meet the unique needs of their clients.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

In medication-assisted treatment (MAT), doctors prescribe medications that reduce cravings and other withdrawal symptoms.

This form of medical care is especially common within opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment, and it has also become more common among people receiving treatment for alcohol abuse.

Evidence-Based Therapy

Evidence-based therapy is therapy that has been researched and proven effective. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), for example, is an evidence-based therapy.

Other evidence-based practices are often used during group therapy and individual therapy sessions.

For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven helpful for people dealing with substance abuse and other mental health conditions.

Holistic Treatment

Some outpatient treatment centers take a holistic approach to addiction care.

“Holistic” sometimes refers to a whole-person approach to care, an approach that may combine evidence-based practices with alternative practices such as meditation.

Some holistic programs only offer non-pharmaceutical approaches.


Outpatient addiction treatment may also include aftercare, helping clients continue their recovery after a more intensive treatment.

Aftercare may include alumni programs, weekly therapy sessions, and contingency management programs.

Find Treatment For Substance Abuse

Addiction is complicated and creates significant healthcare needs. However, it is a treatable condition.

If you or a loved one is experiencing substance abuse, contact Detox Rehabs to discover available treatment services.


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