According to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), over 57% of Americans ages 12 and older used tobacco, alcohol, or an illicit substance in the past 30 days. The potential for substance abuse continues to increase, and so does the need for effective rehab treatment.
Outpatient rehab is a great option for those unable to receive inpatient treatment, but what is outpatient rehab? Here is what you need to know about the importance of outpatient rehab and why it may be the best option for you or someone you love.
What Is Outpatient Rehab?
Outpatient rehab is one of the best options for people who cannot enroll in an inpatient drug rehab program and those transitioning after completion of an inpatient treatment program. There are different types of outpatient rehab, but all types offer substance abuse treatment for patients without them having to be admitted into a facility.
If someone enrolls in a residential or inpatient treatment program, this includes access to 24/7 inpatient care with a team of medical professionals. Of course, what makes this possible is the requirement that patients live at the treatment facility for the duration of their medical care. Outpatient rehab differs from this approach since outpatient rehab can take place while the patient continues to live at their own home and maintains their normal responsibilities, such as work and family obligations.
Outpatient detoxification can be geared toward those who do not require around-the-clock supervision but are still seeking to receive a viable treatment program for substance use disorder (SUD) and varieties of co-occurring mental health disorders. Outpatient rehab is not limited to a certain kind of addiction but instead is focused on providing a successful recovery process for those who either do not require inpatient treatment or are unable to make the arrangements needed for inpatient care due to their work or family obligations.
Benefits of Outpatient Rehab
It is important to stress that outpatient rehab is not “worse” than inpatient rehab or a less effective treatment process overall. Outpatient rehab is an evidence-based treatment practice. It is not only possible to undergo a successful outpatient detox, but it is often more beneficial to choose this option because of its benefits. Some of the notable benefits of outpatient rehab for patients include:
- Outpatient detox is generally less expensive and more accessible (more options available)
- Treatment plans are typically shorter in length compared to inpatient treatment options
- Keeping your current job during the detox and recovery process
- Continuing to live at your own home while receiving treatment
- No relocation to a long-distance facility is necessary
These are only some factors related to outpatient rehab that make it especially beneficial to those seeking treatment. But it is important to stress, however, that outpatient rehab can vary in terms of cost, length, and overall treatment approach. Like inpatient rehab, outpatient options are still tailored to each individual, so choosing a treatment facility that offers outpatient detox does not mean patients must sacrifice a customized option that works for them.
Success Rate of Outpatient Rehab
The good news about outpatient rehab is that this approach does see an encouraging success rate. While more severe cases of addiction, such as long-term alcohol abuse or combined drug and alcohol abuse, are best suited for inpatient treatment programs with dedicated medical help around the clock, data suggests that there is no reduction in the success rate of those who choose to undergo outpatient treatment programs compared to inpatient treatment options.
Detoxing is only part of the overall treatment program when assessing the success rate of outpatient rehab. In addition to detoxing and cleansing from substance abuse, the various outpatient services offered can lay a solid foundation for long-term recovery with things like individual therapy sessions, group therapy for relapse prevention, and various other mental health services. Outpatient rehab also allows for the ongoing support of surrounding friends and family members; for many, this provides a crucial layer of support during recovery.
Types of Outpatient Programs
As mentioned, various outpatient programs are available. While the goal of each program type is the same, these examples help show the importance of outpatient rehab and the flexibility it can offer for different situations. Here are some of the most common types of outpatient programs:
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
As opposed to full hospitalization, partial hospitalization is an outpatient program aimed at preventing relapse or the need for a full hospital stay while being treated for substance abuse or a mental health disorder. This option is more common when there is an expectation for a patient’s ongoing improvement in situations that do not require 24-hour care. Partial hospitalization is a treatment decision a physician can make based on all the circumstances and the level of treatment a patient needs at the time.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
When a hospital stay is not required, or partial hospitalization has already been completed, IOPs are a great option for those who need a structured environment during their treatment and recovery process. IOPs usually require three to four weekly visits, averaging between nine and 20 weekly participation hours. IOPs focus on a range of treatment options, such as:
- 12-step meetings
- Individual therapy sessions
- Group therapy sessions
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
It is important to note that while most outpatient programs do not offer detox services, those affiliated with a hospital or inside a hospital might be able to provide them. In general, those requiring detox services will have already received detox treatment in an inpatient facility before enrolling in an outpatient program.
Standard Outpatient (OP)
This option is the most basic and most flexible of all outpatient treatment programs. Standard outpatient treatment is the most flexible, affordable, and best option for those who have completed inpatient or intensive programs or those with a less severe substance use disorder in its earlier stages. In general, individual cases are less severe during standard outpatient treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are common questions involving outpatient rehab and what is important to know before choosing a facility that is right for you and beginning the enrollment process.
Do I Need to Go to Inpatient Rehab Before Outpatient Rehab?
Inpatient rehab is not required for outpatient rehab, and it is very common for those who complete it to transition into outpatient rehab. Still, in many instances, those who do not require inpatient rehab can enroll directly in outpatient treatment. The facility you choose can help you determine what kind of treatment is right for you.
Can I Still Work While Going to Outpatient Rehab?
One of the best parts of outpatient rehab is the ability to continue working while you receive professional treatment and care. The flexibility of outpatient rehab allows you to undergo a custom treatment plan with flexible hours so that you do not need to make arrangements at your place of work before beginning treatments.
Are Weekend Hours Available for Outpatient Rehab?
The range of availability, such as weekend hours, will vary depending on the outpatient rehab facility you choose, but it is common for most facilities to offer weekend hours. Before deciding on a facility, it is important to reach out and determine what weekend availability is offered. This can help ensure that the facility can support you in your unique situation.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021). Highlights fo the 2021 National Survey on Durg Use and Health. Retrieved https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/2022-12/2021NSDUHFFRHighlights092722.pdf
National Institute of Health. (2015 June 1). Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence. Retrieved https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4152944/
National Library of Medicine. (1990). Definition of partial hospitalization. The National Association of Private Psychiatric Hospitals and the American Association for Partial Hospitalization. Retrieved https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10106610/