Outpatient Treatment Options

Outpatient addiction treatment programs are designed to allow people to live outside of the facility in which they’re receiving care, all while they’re making a robust recovery from their addictions. According to Community Resources Information, Inc., about 90 percent of people who get care for their addictions do so via enrolling in outpatient care. There are many different types of facilities that can provide that care, however, and treatment success often depends on enrolling in the right kind of program for the specific problems the person is facing at that time.

Appointment-Based Care

outpatient treatmentAmong the types of care available for addictions, appointment-based care might be the least intensive form available. In programs like this, people find a counselor with whom they feel comfortable, and they work through their addictions in either individual or group therapy sessions. A study in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse suggests that “more is better” when it comes to this kind of care, as people who have addictions tend to do better when they have frequent contact with a treatment professional. As a result, people in programs like this might have appointments quite regularly, going in for help at least weekly, if not much more frequently. In addition, people in programs like this might also be asked to attend support group meetings in the community, so they can continue to learn about addiction and gain advice and support from others who have similar concerns.

The low level of intensity in programs like this can make them appealing to some people, as it’s easy to see how counseling sessions and infrequent meetings could be blended into a busy work and home schedule, but this isn’t really considered the right kind of care for all people who have addictions. In fact, some people who have addictions simply can’t get well with this kind of care, as they might need more intensive help that doesn’t give them ample free time in which to abuse substances.

Intensive Outpatient Care

People who need a little more help with addiction might benefit from participating in intensive outpatient programs. They’ll get about nine hours of care per week, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and that care will be parsed into three-hour sessions. Typically, these sessions will consist of:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Case management

It’s a more intensive form of care that might touch on more aspects of a person’s life. Instead of just focusing on the addiction in counseling sessions, programs like this allow people to look at their lives holistically, and they’re asked to devote a significant amount of time to their recovery. For people with more advanced cases of addiction, this could be a meaningful intervention that could bring about big results.

day hospitalizationDay Hospitalization

While spending hours in therapy in intensive programs could be enough help for some people, there are some who need just a touch more help in order to really make a turnaround in life. For these people, day hospitalization programs might be vital. In programs like this, people are asked to enter treatment facilities each day, and stay inside those facilities until the evening rolls around again. They spend each day working on their addiction issues, and they have access to help on an almost constant basis.

They may be at a lowered risk of relapse, simply because they’re not close to their communities or the places in which they once developed an addiction, but they may also be required to stay away from work or childcare responsibilities, since they’ll be focused exclusively on their addictions.

Care like this is intensive, and not surprisingly, it’s also a little expensive, when compared to other forms of care. For example, in a study in the journal Health Services Research, the authors suggest that day hospitalization programs are almost twice as expensive as more traditional forms of outpatient care. Even so, the researchers are quick to point out that some people did quite well in their day programs, with lower levels of drug use, when compared to people who got standard care. As a result, the researchers suggest that day hospitalization might be cost-effective for some people. They just need intensive help, and this kind of program can allow them to get that.

Dual Diagnosis Programs

dual diagnosis programsSome people who have addictions also have mental illnesses standing in the way of a real recovery. Some mental illnesses seem to be strongly associated with addiction. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that people addicted to drugs are about twice as likely to deal with mood and anxiety disorders, when they’re compared to the general population. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder has also been closely aligned with substance abuse and addiction. People like this may benefit from outpatient programs in which they have the opportunity to get help for their mental illness as well as their addiction.

The counseling provided in a Dual Diagnosis program might not seem overtly different than the counseling provided in a standard program, but there are hidden twists. In each session, the person is encouraged to take charge of two conditions and learn how the two conditions work together. As a result, the focus of therapy is just a little more broad. In addition, therapy like this tends to move at a slightly slower pace, allowing people to come to an understanding without feeling bullied or somehow pushed to make decisions. It’s a specialized form of care, and it could be just right for some people who have both addictions and mental illnesses.

12-Step Programs

While some programs utilize a secular or medical focus, encouraging clients to take charge of their own illnesses and work with science on a new and better future, some programs take a more holistic focus and they use the 12 steps developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous to guide them. In programs like this, people might be asked to:

  • Think of addiction as a chronic condition
  • Appeal to a “higher power” for assistance
  • Obtain help from peers
  • Provide help to peers
  • Adhere to strict sobriety
  • Make amends for past wrongs
  • Keep a strict accounting of wrongs done daily

The care might look the same, but it has a slightly more spiritual focus. The idea of programs like this is that an addiction is best handled on a “one day at a time” basis, and that peers can help one another to resist the pull of an addiction and stay sober through the help of community. While not all programs provide this kind of care, those that do might be quite appealing to some people. They may like the idea of tapping into a network of peers with the same struggles, and they may find that these meetings keep them fighting for sobriety when the treatment programs have ended and they’re attending meetings in their communities in their spare time.

Getting Started

The number of facilities available can be a little daunting to people who need care, and they may wonder whom they should talk to about finding the right program. A family doctor or therapist may be a good place to start. These professionals may keep lists of treatment facilities available in the area, and they may even be able to smooth the path to admission. Insurance companies may also be helpful, as these programs often approve payments to just a few different programs. Those who wish to use their insurance to pay for care may need to ensure that the program they pick is an approved vendor with their insurance company.

If you’d like to know more about addiction care and the aftercare process, please call us.