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5 Outpatient Options for Substance Abuse Treatment

Like any other complex illness, addiction doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all treatment. Treatment should be tailored to the person’s needs and circumstances. Think about inpatient rehab, for example. It’s highly effective, but it requires a longer commitment and can get expensive, so it’s not a feasible choice for everybody.

Fortunately, inpatient rehab is not the only option for people with addictions. Outpatient rehab treatment can also provide effective care. Not all outpatient care looks the same, so patients can explore the options that will work best for them. Below are five types of outpatient addiction treatment. 

  1. Partial Hospitalization Programs 

A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is the most intensive outpatient option. PHP is still less intensive than inpatient rehab, as the patient does not stay overnight. 

These programs take place in hospitals and medical centers, and they include several types of therapy. A person may attend a PHP for up to seven days per week for several hours of sessions each day. For patients with more severe addictions, the added treatment time can help them achieve a more successful recovery. 

  1. Intensive Outpatient Treatment 

A step down from PHP, intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) shares some similarities with inpatient care. These structured programs offer a lot of the same therapies that you would find in inpatient rehab. Some of these therapies might include: 

  • individual therapy 
  • group therapy 
  • family counseling 
  • 12-step groups 
  • addiction education 

Patients may spend up to several hours per week at an outpatient facility, but they don’t stay overnight. Programs typically run three to five days weekly.

  1. Medication-Assisted Treatment and Outpatient Detox Programs 

Sometimes, addiction treatment requires medication. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can be provided in an outpatient setting. 

MAT options may depend on the drug that the person has become addicted to. For instance, the FDA has approved certain drugs to combat alcohol addiction, but cocaine addiction does not have any approved medications yet. However, MAT can also include mental health medication and medication to ease withdrawal symptoms. 

MAT often includes medical detox, which can also be provided in an outpatient setting. During detox, the drug leaves the body. Some addictions, such as opioid addictions, require a gradual detox for the patient’s safety. In this case, a doctor may prescribe an opioid such as methadone or Suboxone. The doctor will prescribe smaller and smaller doses, letting the patient taper off the medication gradually. 

  1. Aftercare and Continuing Care 

Outpatient treatment is often used as an alternative to inpatient care. However, it can also be used as a step down from inpatient care. After attending inpatient rehab, a person might receive aftercare or continuing care

Though they don’t live at the facility anymore, they may still come back on a regular basis for counseling, support groups, and education. Aftercare can help patients maintain their recovery, especially as they transition back into their daily lives. 

  1. Group Therapy and 12-Step Programs 

Group therapy and 12-step programs may take place in residential facilities, but they’re also available outside of rehab. Counseling centers may offer addiction-focused group therapy. And while 12-step programs are not an official form of treatment, they do help a lot of people abstain from drugs and alcohol. 

Both group therapy and 12-step programs offer the benefit of community. Addiction can be a very isolating illness, and loneliness can trigger a relapse. In group settings, people can connect with others who also have addictions, making them feel less alone. 

Affording Outpatient Addiction Treatment  

For many people, outpatient treatment is more affordable than inpatient care. Some outpatient treatment options are available for free; others accept insurance or offer sliding scale payment options. If you’re discouraged by the cost of inpatient rehab, don’t give up on getting treatment. You have many options that can help you recover successfully.

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