Start the Journey to Sobriety: Exploring Substance Abuse Outpatient Programs

Beating an addiction isn’t something that you can do on your own. You need assistance, support and guidance as you embark on your journey to sobriety, but where do you get that type of help?

Substance abuse treatment programs offered by reputable, local rehab centers will provide you with all the help and assistance you need to achieve sobriety. However, you need to make sure you choose the right treatment program.

With so many different types of substance abuse treatment programs out there, it can be difficult to determine which one is right for you. Learning more about the numerous options available to you for substance abuse treatment programs will help you as you make this extremely important, life-changing decision.

Outpatient Rehab vs. Inpatient Residential Program

All treatment programs for addiction can be broken down into one of two categories: outpatient treatment and inpatient. Both types of programs provide a structured environment in which you will receive assistance and support in not only overcoming your addiction, but in learning how to stay sober long after you have sought help.

How Do Residential and Outpatient Rehab Programs Compare?

Residential and outpatient rehab programs offer some of the same types of support services. While the exact types of support services that are offered will vary depending upon the treatment center you choose to visit, you can typically expect both residential and outpatient rehab programs to offer some form of individual counseling, support groups similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, family counseling, and educational classes that focus on teaching valuable coping skills that will help you stay sober.

Now, you may be asking yourself, if both outpatient rehab treatment programs and residential treatment programs offer the same support services doesn’t that make them the same type of program? The answer is no.

Residential and outpatient rehab programs are structured very differently from each other. Everything from how long the treatment program lasts to the amount of time you spend each day on treatment will vary depending upon whether you are in an inpatient residential program or an outpatient rehab program.

When you take a closer look at how do residential and outpatient rehab programs compare based on the structure of the programs, you will notice the following differences.

Amount of Personal Freedom

Attending a residential treatment program, you essentially remove yourself from society and focus solely upon beating your addiction. You will spend 24/7 at the rehab center. In some cases, visitors may be restricted or limited and there may be limits placed on making phone calls.

The rather isolated nature of a residential treatment program helps you focus on getting to the root issues that caused your addiction and learning valuable coping skills that will help you stay sober.

Outpatient treatment programs are often offered at rehab centers, but they aren’t as intense. You will visit the treatment centers for several hours and then be allowed to go home at the end of the day.

Considering that outpatient treatment programs provide you with more freedom than an outpatient program, there is a risk that you could relapse. A good support group, outside of the rehab center in which you are using for your outpatient treatment program, is necessary in order to help you stay sober.

Medical Supervision

Medical supervision is another huge difference between outpatient treatment and residential inpatient treatment programs. While attending a residential inpatient treatment program, you will be monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a team of medical professionals. This type of medical supervision is necessary if you suffer from one of the many substance use disorders that require detoxification.

The medical supervision you have access to in a residential program can reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms and help with cravings. Receiving this type of assistance, you are less likely to relapse as you aren’t experiencing painful, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms or having an intense craving for your substance or drug of choice.

Some outpatient treatment programs may offer some type of medical supervision, but you aren’t being constantly monitored like you would be with a residential treatment program. This means that if you suffer from a medical issue or experience a problem, there could be delays in getting help as medical professionals are not immediately around you.

Length of the Program

Residential treatment programs tend to last anywhere from 30 to 90 days. Some of the more intense residential treatment programs may even last 120 days or half a year.

How long an outpatient treatment program lasts will vary depending upon the rehab center that is offering the program. Outpatient programs can last anywhere from several weeks (usually between 6 to 8 weeks) to several months (6 months or more).

Intensive Outpatient Programs an Option for Some Types of Substance Use Disorders

Depending upon which substance use disorder you are seeking treatment for, intensive outpatient programs may be an option for you. Intensive outpatient programs allow you to receive intense treatment for your addiction without having to completely leave their lives and reside on-site at an inpatient rehab center.

With intensive outpatient programs, you still receive valuable assistance and support that helps you beat your addiction, but you don’t have to leave home or take extended time off of work. You can continue to work and live at home all while receiving treatment for your substance use disorders.

Who is a Good Candidate for Intensive Outpatient Programs for Treatment of Substance Use Disorders?

Having the freedom to return home or continue to work while receiving treatment for your addiction may sound ideal, but it can be challenging. You will face many temptations that may cause you to relapse.

Good candidates for intensive outpatient treatment programs who have the best chances of succeeding and staying sober often have the following characteristics:

  • Good support system – it is important that you not only have friends and family who support you and encourage you to find sobriety, but you want to surround yourself with individuals who will not tempt you to use
  • Low risk for experiencing withdrawal symptoms or other medical problems – most intensive outpatient programs do not offer detox services. If you are seeking treatment for a substance use disorder and there is a good chance you could experience extreme withdrawal symptoms or have a life-threatening medical problem, you may be referred to an inpatient program that has detox services and medical supervision.
  • Committed to seeking help for your addiction – people who attend intensive outpatient treatment need to be committed to finding sobriety. Every day, they will have to make the decision to get themselves to the rehab center so they can receive treatment. If you aren’t committed, it would be really easy to stop going which could lead to a relapse.

Another good candidate for intensive outpatient treatment programs is someone who  is about to complete an inpatient program, but is now ready to transition back into society.

In fact, it is becoming more and more common for residential treatment programs to start incorporating intensive outpatient programs into a person’s individualized treatment plan. These programs provide much-needed structured support while also giving you a chance to start living a normal, sober life.

Chapman Behavioral Health Centers understands how challenging it is to find the right treatment program. We are here to assist you in finding a treatment program that provides the level of care you need to overcome your addiction. Help is just a phone call or click away. Let us help you as you start your journey to sobriety.


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