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Outpatient Treatment Center

  1. Table of ContentsPrint
  2. What is Outpatient Treatment?
  3. Benefits of Outpatient Treatment
  4. Intensive Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment
  5. Partial Hospitalization or Day Treatment
  6. Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient Therapy

Depending on the individual's needs, outpatient treatment can be an excellent means of obtaining substance abuse recovery help.

Substance abuse is a complicated issue, potentially impacting all areas of one's life--work, health and interpersonal relationships--to begin with. Hopefully, at some point, a person in the grips of drug or alcohol addiction will reach out for help. Thankfully, there are many settings and levels of addiction treatment available to provide recovery assistance. After an assessment from a doctor or other qualified addiction medicine professional, some will be referred for outpatient treatment.

What is Outpatient Treatment?

There are a number of treatment options for those struggling with substance abuse. One option is an outpatient treatment center.

These centers are an excellent option for those who know they need help for drug abuse or alcoholism but are unable to stop working or attending school to get it.

Programs for outpatient treatment do vary but basically they provide assistance a few times a week for a limited amount of hours. Outpatient treatment centers provide a level of flexibility that many individuals require, but its effectiveness can be limited, especially for those who need medical as well as psychological recovery services.

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Benefits of Outpatient Treatment

Woman looking off into the distanceDepending on the individual's needs, outpatient treatment can be an excellent means of obtaining substance abuse recovery help.

Outpatient treatment is is appropriate for those whose condition is sufficiently stable, whose symptoms are mild, and are willing to participate in the treatment plan.

With that in mind, there are many potential benefits to seeking treatment on an outpatient basis.

For one, outpatient treatment can be delivered through various settings:

  • In a doctor's or psychologist's office.
  • From a community clinic.
  • From a dedicated addiction treatment clinic equipped for outpatient care.
  • Even over the phone, in some cases.

Additionally, the daily schedule can be adjusted in many outpatient programs to allow sufficient time for school and/or work commitments.

It should be emphasized that it is of utmost importance to first receive a thorough evaluation and detailed examination of your specific drug abuse issues from someone qualified to make the recommendation for outpatient treatment.

Intensive Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment

Intensive outpatient treatment may be an option for those with mild or moderate addiction issues.

In addition to addressing the problems of addiction, intensive outpatient treatment will also be able to accommodate and treat those with mild to moderate co-existing medical or mental health conditions - typically by increasing the number and length of therapeutic visits each week. These programs tend to cost more than regular outpatient programs, though this cost varies by program.


Credit: eHow

Partial Hospitalization or Day Treatment

Slightly farther up the intensive scale on a continuum of treatment levels is partial hospitalization. While it might not sound like it, this is still considered an outpatient level of treatment - call it a "very intensive outpatient" level of therapy, if you will. Also called "day treatment," partial hospitalization level treatment is appropriate for those requiring more intensive blocks of therapy based on the seriousness of their addiction history and any other co-existing medical and psychological conditions.

Those who meet the criteria for partial hospitalization are seen as able to make progress on their treatment goals when they return to home, school or work, but still require more frequent, or concentrated periods of access to medical care and/or interaction with treatment professionals or other addiction treatment staff to maintain recovery momentum.

Partial hospitalization is sometimes reserved for those who have been through an inpatient or residential treatment program, but have experienced some difficulty with relapse post-treatment. It may also be appropriate for those who need medical services or laboratory services for treatment-related issues. Partial hospitalization or day treatment, expectedly, requires more of a time commitment than other outpatient treatment levels - it varies dependent on individual situations, but it can range anywhere from 2 hours a day, every day, to as many as 8 or more hours per day. What it has in common with the other, less intensive levels of outpatient treatment is the fact that patients continue to live at home for the duration of treatment.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment

Of course the most important consideration in determining the need for inpatient or outpatient care is dependent upon the severity of your condition.

Group therapy

Studies show that outpatient treatment can be quite successful for those in recovery. The advantage of outpatient treatment vs. inpatient treatment lie in the patient's living situation.

Some argue that there are distinct benefits to allowing a patient to continue to live (and in some cases, work and attend school) in a home environment - in this case, whatever it is they might call home. While inpatient treatment removes those struggling with substance abuse from an environment that may have contributed to the development of drug or alcohol addiction to begin with, outpatient treatment provides a way to more accurately test the efficacy of ongoing treatment while a patient remains amidst those very triggers. In a way, some point out, it more accurately assesses the coping mechanisms of the person in recovery when they return home at night, while continuing to provide them with intensive periods of support throughout the day.

In addition, outpatient treatment challenges a patient to seek out and utilize sources of support in their home environment, such as in finding local self-help groups or other recovery mentors in the neighborhood that can help guide someone down the path of recovery. Given that the transition from inpatient to outpatient treatment can be jarring, the addict in recovery will have the support of the community where he lives, works, and belongs, welcoming him back to wellness, and to a life without bondage to addiction.

There is a flip-side to these arguments, however. Those struggling with an addiction might face a much greater challenge of abstinence in an outpatient treatment center, especially in the early stages of recovery. Since their environment is not changing, they can easily access the addictive substance and are faced with temptation on a regular basis.

In addition, outpatient treatment does not always mandate follow up or aftercare treatment after the period of outpatient treatment ends, so it is important to find a facility that can direct you to another service that provides it, to help ensure continuity of care and continued recovery.

The cost of outpatient also tends to be lower than that of inpatient services. Outpatient programs of various types tend to cost anywhere between $100 and $500 per treatment session, and this cost varies by length and frequency of treatment. Inpatient treatment, on the other hand, costs around $200 to $900 per day, though the level of medical and psychological care in these programs tends to be much higher.

Of course the most important consideration in determining the need for inpatient or outpatient care is dependent upon the severity of your condition. If substance abuse is interfering with normal activity, is associated with or causing medical problems or is part of a dual diagnosis, inpatient programs frequently will prove a better option. Inpatient treatment is also preferred by many who need medical detox.

Let us help you determine if an inpatient or outpatient treatment program is right for you. Call us at 1-888-744-0069Who Answers? to get the confidential guidance you need. Treatment support specialists are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week to provide information that will help you choose the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

Finding the perfect treatment is only one phone call away!