Drug and alcohol treatment programs generally fall into one of two categories — inpatient or outpatient rehab. Although both are focused on the same end goal, they approach it in different ways. Inpatient programs are fully-immersive and require patients to move into a residential facility to receive treatment. Designed to treat serious addictions, inpatient rehab makes it easier for individuals to receive continual support and harder for them to relapse. Typical inpatient programs run anywhere from 28 days to six months, in which the patient focuses on maintaining sobriety without the distractions of everyday life.

Although this is an ideal solution for those seeking to overcome their addiction, it isn’t practical for those who would like to receive help but can’t afford to check out of their everyday commitments. In this case, outpatient programs can be very successful in helping a person recover from a drug or alcohol addiction without forcing them to uproot their life.

What Is Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient rehab allows you to live at home while attending a rehab program on a regular basis. The content of the program may differ slightly according to the requirements of those participating, but these are the core services that most offer.

  • Group and individual counseling sessions
  • Group and individual behavioral therapy sessions
  • Physical and mental medical treatment
  • Training in life skills
  • Support group meetings
  • Pharmacological treatment (if required)
  • Substance abuse education
  • 24-hour crisis management

Outpatient treatment begins with an assessment to give medical professionals the information needed about the patient to create a personalized program. If the patient has a drug addiction, for example, then a drug screening will be performed to help professionals create a treatment plan for the specific addiction. They may find co-occurring disorders that can also be treated and arrange for family members to be included in the treatment plan.

How Outpatient Rehab Works

Unlike inpatient rehab, there is not as large of a time commitment for individuals participating in an outpatient program. The time requirement is similar to that of a part-time job; patients can expect to attend group sessions, therapy, and other appointments for anywhere from six to 30 hours per week. The level of commitment, similar to inpatient treatment, depends on the individual’s needs. Outpatient treatment programs last around 90 days and may include training sessions on craving management, a 12-step program, transitional living arrangements, and relapse prevention.

Benefits of Outpatient Rehab

The main benefit of outpatient programs is the level of commitment. Since the person is not required to live in-facility, they can continue their normal routine of attending school, taking care of family responsibilities, or going to work. It’s also the best option for someone who wishes to keep their recovery process private. Outpatient rehab works best for people who:

  • Have already finished a rehab program and want to continue to receive treatment
  • Are in the early stages of drug or alcohol addiction or whose substance abuse disorder is mild
  • Will benefit from continuing access to family and friends during treatment
  • Are motivated to maintain the required treatment schedule and desirous of ending their substance abuse

Individuals undergoing outpatient treatment are more independent, but they must work harder to avoid the triggers that make them want the substances they are trying to recover from. Although they will still receive the same quality of guidance and professional help during program sessions, they must make sure that the environment that they go home to supports sobriety. If you are suffering from a mild addiction and seek recovery without the full-time commitment, then it might be time to consider outpatient rehab.