Although inpatient rehab might be the best choice for a patient, it’s not always feasible. Patients may have a difficult time paying for treatment. Adults with children or caregiving responsibilities may find inpatient rehab impossible to attend. People who are the primary breadwinner to their family and cannot afford to lose their job may not benefit from inpatient treatment either. Students may also not be candidates for inpatient treatment if they want to finish school. Studies have also found that women face higher barriers to inpatient treatment because of caregiving responsibilities. For these patients, outpatient treatment is the next best thing and is useful for treating a variety of addiction and comorbid issues.
What is outpatient treatment?
While patients live at an inpatient treatment facility 24/7 for a period of several months, outpatient treatment is a part-time program that gives patients the ability to continue working or attending school. Patients continue to live at home, work, and go to school, but they must attend pre-scheduled therapy and treatment meetings at an outpatient facility. Most outpatient treatment programs are for ten to twelve hours a week. They aren’t as disruptive to daily life and can be extremely effective for someone with a mild addiction. Parents and caregivers, students, and breadwinners may find outpatient therapy to be ideal for treating their substance use disorder.
Outpatient treatment sessions typically focus on individual, group, and family counseling. Sessions will also focus on drug abuse and addiction education, prevention, and learning how to cope with emotional triggers without resorting to drug or alcohol use. By itself, outpatient treatment is ideal for a person with mild addiction issues, but outpatient can also be part of a long-term treatment plan. For those with severe addiction problems, they may undergo inpatient treatment for several months, before transitioning to an outpatient program.
Outpatient rehab usually lasts three to six months. In some cases, a patient may need to attend outpatient treatment for up to a year.
Patients who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can also attend outpatient detox for withdrawal. Outpatient detox lasts an average of six days and is an effective and safe alternative to residential detox. During outpatient detox, patients are required to visit a hospital or other clinical facility at specific intervals to check the patient’s physical and mental health levels. Clinicians can administer medications to lessen the severity of withdrawals, such as anxiety, sleep disturbances, stomach upset, and increased heart rate.