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Outpatient Rehab Programs

One of the greatest moments of an addicts’ life is when they acknowledge a need for rehab. After all, an addiction will only be squashed if the addict genuinely wants to be sober. According to a Massachusetts Department of Health report from 2016, people who were forced into rehab were more than twice as likely to die of an opioid overdose than those who entered rehab voluntarily. 

So once this decision has been made, the addict must make another important decision: inpatient or Outpatient. The most significant difference between the two is that patients at an inpatient facility stay overnight. However, at an outpatient treatment program, patients attend various rehabilitation activities during the day for some hours but are free to return to their homes at night. 

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Outpatient rehab programs are designed for people who want to stop using a substance but require a program that can function around their schedule. Outpatient rehab programs are less expensive than residential or inpatient programs. Another asset of outpatient rehab programs is that patients can stay in contact with their loved ones. Such interaction undoubtedly serves as an incentive to become sober. 

Of course, the cost-saving component, as well as the flexibility advantages, comes at a cost. Those suffering from severe addictions, such as heroin or oxycodone, need stricter rehabilitation programs and would not benefit from an outpatient rehab program. Therefore, outpatient facilities are designed to treat mild substance abuse. 

How Does an Outpatient Treatment Program Function?

Late one night, a shivering addict shows up at the doors of an outpatient rehab center. What course of action will be taken? In a few months, perhaps this addict will walk out of those same doors sober, and become a model citizen. Or perhaps, this addict will leave on their own accord and resume their  self-destructive habits. If the addict is carefully monitored and put on a proper rehabilitation regiment, chances are, they will be cured of their addiction. 

First Things First: An Evaluation

Outpatient Rehab ProgramsThe very first thing the medical staff needs to do, is provide a substance abuse evaluation. Such a test is required to ascertain several things required for optimal rehabilitation services. After all, there is a good possibility that the individual’s addiction is too severe, and can only be treated at an inpatient facility. 

  1. What addiction does this potential client have? Alcohol rehabilitation compared to drug rehabilitation is vastly different, for example. 
  2. How severe is the addiction?
  3. Is there a dual-diagnosis present? Depending on how severe the addiction is, the individual could have a substance abuse addiction along with a mental illness. 

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Criteria

Addiction medicine professionals rely on the ASAM Criteria to determine the most beneficial path of  addiction services for the addict. The criteria examines the addict through six different dimensions. This thorough introspection allows medical professionals to best evaluate the addict.

Dimension 1: Acute Intoxication and/or Withdrawal Potential

The first dimension analyzes the individual’s history of substance abuse along with their history of withdrawal.

Dimension 2: Biomedical Conditions and Complications

Beyond the addiction, what other additional health services are required? The patient could have a medical condition (asthma, diabetes, etc.) and had not been following medical instructions. If certain health conditions are ignored, the client’s chances of sobriety become less. 

Dimension 3: Emotional, Behavioral or Cognitive Conditions and Complications

While the second dimension examines the patient’s physical health, the third dimension is more examinatory of the patient’s mental health. Does the patient have anger management issues, depressive systems, or a history of illicit behavior? Left untreated, any of these conditions could exacerbate the addiction, or prolong it. 

Dimension 4: Readiness to Change

As mentioned earlier in the article, an addict’s probability of becoming sober is exponentially greater if they genuinely want to change. 

Dimension 5: Relapse, Continued Use or Continued Problem Potential

The fifth dimension determines whether or not the patient is in immediate danger of alcohol or drug use. Can the patient effectively deal with his or her addiction? What are the chances that the patient will use again if not properly monitored? Sometimes these questions are easily answered. Other times, however, medical professionals need to conduct meticulous research.

Dimension 6: Recovery Environment

The final dimension analyzes the patient’s surrounding world outside of the rehabilitation center. Supportive friends and family members, criminal justice mandates, transportation issues, child care services required, or certain financial impediments could affect a person’s addiction.  

Treatments Delivered at Outpatient Rehab

Rehab ProgramsWhile outpatient rehab is for milder addiction, the treatment programs offered vary on a wide spectrum of intensity. No two addicts are alike. Unless a clinic for specified addictions, outpatient drug facilities are designed to cure all addicts. 

Day Programs 

The most intense treatment available at an outpatient facility is called a day program, lasting about six hours a day, five to seven days per week. Such programs are usually stepping stones between inpatient rehab and outpatient. Patients in day programs have complete access to all different therapists as well as medical treatment.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

As the name conveys, an IOP is more intensive and time consuming than regular outpatient drug treatment. An IOP will consume several hours for several days a week. Such programs will meet on weekends, mornings and evenings so as to allow the clients to continue living their lives.

Intensive outpatient programs are designed for individuals who may require intensive rehab, but whose jobs or lives limit them to outpatient. Along with the flexibility, comes respect. If an addict has come this far, they are most likely serious about their rehabilitation. 

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

This type of addiction treatment is not as intense as inpatient, but a bit more intense than IOP. PHP would be a good stepping stone between the two. 

These six dimensions depict a complete issue of every problem facing an individual, as well as the severity of the addiction at hand. Chances of a successful recovery become greater once the patient and the therapist examine the addiction from all the dimensions, as opposed to one or just a few of them. No one becomes an addict for just one reason. 

At this point, the therapist and the patient begin to work together to create a model blueprint that will best suit the individual patient. 

Continuing Care

Continuing Care is another term for support groups. Arguably, the most important part of an outpatient treatment program, these counseling groups allow recovering addicts a place to voice their concerns and their observations. In addition, these groups illustrate to individuals that they are not alone. Such groups are conducted by licensed therapists and take place once or twice a week.

Outpatient Treatment for Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Plenty of patients at outpatient rehab are dealing with addiction as well as another mental disorder. Usually, the addiction and the other mental disorder have coexisted with each other, and each feeds off of the other. For example, an addict could have depression, anxiety or a personality disorder. Is it the chicken or the egg? Is the addiction caused by the mental disorder, or is the disorder a product of the addiction? Either way, unless both affiliations are treated, both will remain.

How an Outpatient Rehab Facility Cures Addictions

Intensive Outpatient ProgramsAlready, this article has illustrated some of the most important advantages of an outpatient rehab – patients are allowed to participate at their own schedule, the cost is significantly less than other rehab programs plus, patients can continue to interact with their loved ones. However, there are some more benefits of an outpatient rehab program that help to strengthen sobriety in most addicts. 


Drug counselors allow a recovering addict to discover what caused them to abuse drugs or alcohol, discuss these sensitive emotions, increase awareness of negative thoughts, and also realize how to live a healthy life. Most addicts reading this right now will doubt such revelations, but experienced counselors at outpatient rehabs are trained at teaching healthy coping skills and ways for individuals to identify harmful triggers.


Any form of drug rehab is all about learning. The counselors of these rehab centers are attempting to teach individuals how to live a life void of their drugs of choice. How does an addict live life sober? Basically, a new life is being taught. The client must learn everything from what to eat to how to think. In addition, teaching family members, and people the client lives with, is integral in securing sobriety. 


Outpatient therapy offers an abundance of support, from the counselors explaining how to live a healthy lifestyle to the other patients sharing similar stories of addiction. During a stay at an outpatient rehab facility, the patient is surrounded by support. 

Call an Outpatient Addiction Treatment Today

If you or a loved one is thinking about joining an outpatient drug program, you should contact an expert today. Treatment specialists at Addiction Intervention are waiting to guide you to a life of sobriety. Act now and call us today.