Outpatient Rehab Definition

Substance abuse treatment programs typically fall into two different categories: inpatient treatment or outpatient rehab. Although both focus on treating addiction and rehabilitation, each one offers its own set of unique treatment services and benefits. Inpatient rehabs (residential treatment programs) are designed to treat severe substance abuse disorders and help aid people who may have overdosed, in need of detoxification, or strict 24 hour medical attention. Outpatient programs are part-time and allow for recovery assistance and counseling while still allowing time for work and school.

Before you enter into a treatment program, it is important that you understand the differences between the two types of addiction treatment. Finding the correct rehab service for you or your loved one can help increase their chances of recovery and sustained sobriety.

What is Outpatient Rehab?

An outpatient program is more akin to a second step in addiction treatment. It is geared toward people who have either come out of an inpatient program, or for those who have less severe addiction or mental health disorders. OPs most commonly focus on weekly treatment programs, group counseling, and various therapies. They will be held at the facility you are receiving treatment at and the schedules for your appointments will be catered to your work or school schedule. People who attend outpatient rehabs are able to continue living at home as they recover – which allows for time with family, occupation, or education.

Many programs include individual counseling as a part of their step-down approach: sessions will become less intensive and frequent as you progress. Most programs only take around 10 to 12 hours of your time each week and cover 3 to 5 days within that period. All programs are designed to help people conquer their drug abuse disorders and promote a long-term recovery.

What is Considered Outpatient Treatment?

There are numerous services provided in OPT. Below is a list of services that are most commonly a part of outpatient programs:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy— this type of therapy helps patients better understand the unhelpful thoughts, habits, and behaviors they are accustomed to and train them to develop healthier ones.
  • Contingency management— helps clients maintain sobriety and continue in counseling by offering incentives or rewards for consistency
  • Motivational interviewing— can help motivate clients to pursue treatment by discussing any barriers or adverse feelings toward treatment
  • Matrix Model— is a combined counseling method designed for stimulant drug abuse disorders. Therapists help coach and encourage patients to overcome addiction through positive thinking (i.e. self-image, confidence).
  • Family therapy— helps administer to the family of the client as they seek to function healthily – especially if an adolescent is in treatment

What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient?

Outpatient vs Inpatient

There are several pros and cons to outpatient programs. Below is a list that we find is most helpful for people considering addiction treatment.*

Outpatient Pros:
  • Clients can continue to live at home and be supported by friends and family
  • Lower rehab treatment cost
  • Counseling options and numerous and range in variety from individual to group counseling.
  • Scheduling flexibility: treatments can be offered in the evenings or on weekends so you won’t miss work
  • Some outpatient programs are designed to treat co-occurring disorders such as addiction and depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD.
Outpatient Cons:
  • You may experience addiction cravings without having constant support or 24-hour medical attention
  • You may experience difficulties in attending rehab. The success of your recovery in an outpatient rehab greatly depends on your consistent attendance. If you believe you need a more structured program, an inpatient facility may be better suited for you.
  • If you need treatment for more complex disorders or for severe drug addictions, an inpatient facility may be able to offer you better support. Inpatient programs offer medical services and can help treat more complicated drug addictions.

Inpatient Treatment:

Some people may benefit more from an inpatient treatment center. Below are a few pros and cons of inpatient rehab.

  • Short-term and long-term inpatient rehab treatments help with detox and medical assistance to help prepare you for recovery
  • Inpatient facilities can provide 24 hour care every day, even in a non-hospital setting.
  • Addiction treatment in these programs are highly structured and have multifaceted focuses. This can include aspects of treatment like building relationships and lifestyle changes, while also treating psychological disorders.
  • A safe place to recover with 24/7 medical attention – especially for those who are struggling with severe drug addiction or have complicated mental health disorders.

Some people may not need the constant care that inpatient drug and alcohol programs offer. Below are a few cons to inpatient rehab.

  • Inpatient rehab takes you away from your daily activities, occupations, family members, and/or school. This may leave you needing to find caretakers for your children, leave your job, or discontinue your education for the time you’re in treatment.
  • Inpatient rehab is highly structured and may be challenging for some to participate in. Your schedule will not be flexible and will be created by the staff. Some people may have a harder time adjusting to a more rigorous agenda.
  • Inpatient rehab will have a higher cost compared to outpatient rehab. Regardless of the cost in both, it is important to understand that the cost of treatment is always lower than the cost of untreated addiction and drug abuse.

*Note: the pros and cons of treatment will vary depending on the type of treatment that best suits your conditions.

Which is Better Inpatient or Outpatient?

There is no perfect answer to which form of treatment is better than another. When picking a rehab program for drug or alcohol addiction, you may feel overwhelmed. It is important that you don’t make the decision too hastily. It may be helpful to consider a few questions when trying to determine which rehab program is right for you. Below are a few example questions you can consider:

  • Will you be surrounded by addiction triggers or temptations in your home?
  • Is your home a safe environment that will be supportive in your recovery?
  • Do you have family members or friends who are using drugs or alcohol around you?
  • Do you have a strong support network that will help motivate you to stay sober?
  • Are you able to leave your job, family, or school in order to fully pursue treatment?
  • Do you require specific treatment plans for mental health disorders or other co-occurring disorders?
  • Do you have a reliable source of transportation to go to and from your treatment program?
  • Does the rehab program you’re considering offer handicap or gender specific services?

If you are dealing with drug or alcohol addiction, it may be helpful to ask a treatment specialist these questions to help better understand the levels of treatment each type of program can offer. They can help give instructional feedback and may help encourage you in making the best decision regarding inpatient or outpatient care.

What Does IOP Stand for in Rehab?

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) differs from most outpatient programs. In an intensive outpatient program, there are more clinical and medical services offered as well as more intensive counseling and individual therapy sessions. It is more common for those who are suffering from a severe drug addiction or mental health disorders who don’t need to be medically supervised 24/7 to be enrolled in an IOP. Many people are enrolled in an intensive outpatient treatment once they have completed intensive inpatient treatment. It is also a part-time treatment option that allows for daily or weekly commutes that accommodate work, school, and family life.

An intensive outpatient treatment program is able to further establish your road to recovery by encouraging a sense of community, life, and health as you learn from others and from your therapists and counselors.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Response and Updates for Clients, and Referents Read More