Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment programs refer to non-live-in drug and alcohol addiction programs. These are sometimes referred to as Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) because they involve a number of meetings several days per week, which may be scheduled around the patient’s other obligations. Although the individual is permitted to live at home and go to work or school, he or she must spend a certain number of hours each week participating in the program in order to prevent relapse.

Outpatient Treatment SmallBenefits of Outpatient Treatment Programs

The major benefit of overcoming a substance abuse problem through an outpatient treatment program is the cost. In general, IOPs cost less than traditional, live-in rehab because they don’t involve accommodation and food costs and are generally less time-consuming. Often, these programs work well for individuals who haven’t necessarily hit rock bottom – patients who have jobs and social supports in place to support them as they overcome addiction. Some intensive day treatment programs are considered comparable to residential programs on measures of effectiveness. Naturally, the level of effectiveness depends on the individual’s personality and unique needs. Some suggest that outpatient programs may actually help to better equip the patient to resist the temptation of the drug in the real world, because that challenge is presented constantly during treatment.

Disadvantages of Outpatient Treatment Programs

Low-intensity treatment programs have been criticized as little more than an opportunity to engage with information about drugs. These programs may not ask the individual to reflect on his or her individual beliefs and behaviors that may have contributed to the development of a substance abuse problem. Moreover, outpatient programs are not designed for everyone; people who require supervision, medical or otherwise, while they overcome an addiction generally do not succeed in outpatient programs. Furthermore, outpatient programs come with a higher risk of relapse, since access to the substance is not limited in any way.

Determining the Best Option for You

If you’re seeking treatment for drug and alcohol abuse or dependence, the first thing to do is consult a physician. Your doctor can help you to identify the treatment programs available in your area, budget, and according to your specific needs. However, if it comes down to a decision between an inpatient and an outpatient program, the following questions can help you to understand the best route for you. As yourself:

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  • Are you constantly exposed to drugs and/or alcohol – at home, at work, or among friends and family?
  • Do you lack a supportive network in your everyday life?
  • Can you leave your job or other responsibilities for an extended period of time?
  • Do you require privacy, especially when dealing with a personal issue?
  • Do you suspect you have a co-occurring disorder, such as a mood disorder or mental illness?
  • Are you unable to commute from your home to the treatment facility daily?
  • Do you have any special needs?
  • Do you require structure, rules, and clear guidelines?

If you answered yes to the majority of the questions listed above you might want to consider an inpatient program. On the other hand, if you found yourself answering no to the majority of the questions listed above an outpatient program might be a good fit for you.