Outpatient Treatment Programs for Alcoholism
Outpatient alcohol rehab is best described as a non-residential, therapy-based program. It can be done for alcohol and drug addiction.
What is Outpatient Alcohol Treatment?, When is Outpatient Rehab the Right Choice?, Outpatient Alcohol Rehab: What to Expect, Outpatient vs. Inpatient Treatment: Which is Better?, What are the Types of Outpatient Rehab?, How to Choose an Outpatient Treatment Program, Rehab is Your Best Chance
Alcohol is often consumed in social settings. Statistics show that 85.6 percent of people in the United States over the age of 18 have reportedly consumed alcohol at least once in their lifetime. In fact, the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that 69.5 percent of people in this age group consumed alcohol within the past year, while 54.9 reportedly consumed alcohol within the past month.
Because of how commonplace social drinking is in our culture, it’s often hard to tell who’s just having a good time and who genuinely has a drinking problem. The line between the two is very thin, and it’s easy even for social drinkers to suddenly have unhealthy habits surrounding alcohol. If their drinking habits go unchecked, they may even develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the US. This means alcohol abuse is even more prevalent than drug abuse.
Unfortunately, alcohol abuse has some serious consequences. It is especially problematic among younger people, particularly college-aged populations that are surrounded by stressful situations and peer influence. Younger demographics tend to drink to excess, participating in binge drinking or heavy drinking.
The problem is that most people who have an alcohol use disorder don’t actually seek out the treatment that they need. This is due in part to the fact that there is still a stigma surrounding addiction, rehab, and treatment.
Many people think about rehab and instantly imagine going to a rehab facility and staying there for months. The truth is that there are plenty of treatment programs out there, and an inpatient treatment program is not your only option.
Here we are going to focus on outpatient alcohol rehab: what it is, how it works, and what to expect.
What is Outpatient Alcohol Treatment?
When a person is addicted to alcohol, they will continue drinking even if they are already experiencing its negative health effects. It often overwhelms the person with physical and mental health effects, which creates a destructive cycle. They will keep drinking even if they are already suffering the consequences.
The person may become more secretive as they hide their drinking problem. They may lie about their whereabouts and who they are hanging out with. Some people even drink in the middle of the day or even when they are all alone.
If you think someone you care about is struggling with alcohol addiction, don’t worry—there are plenty of great treatment centers out there with various addiction programs. It is possible for the addicted individual to make significant progress towards a sober life, with the right treatment program and support from medical professionals, of course.
One of the key elements to a successful addiction treatment is choosing the rehab program that is most appropriate for the patient. Some people have severe addiction and they require intensive treatment in an inpatient rehab center. Meanwhile, others have mild to moderate conditions that can be handled in an outpatient alcohol rehab setting.
Outpatient alcohol rehab is best described as a non-residential, therapy-based program. It can be done for alcohol and drug addiction. Also known as a partial hospitalization program (PHP), outpatient alcohol treatment does not provide living arrangements or food. The patient will have to provide for themselves, but the tradeoff is that they get to go home after a treatment session.
Outpatient alcohol treatment is perfect for patients who have plenty of responsibilities in the outside world but still need to get some addiction treatment. In an outpatient rehab, you don’t have to stay in a treatment facility for the duration of the program. You can go home in between sessions and keep up with all your other responsibilities.
As you may expect, outpatient alcohol treatment involves frequent visits to the rehab facility over the course of treatment. But not having to stay in a rehab facility means you can go to work, go to school, take care of your family, etc.—all while still receiving the treatment you need for your alcoholism.
Despite not having to stay in a rehab facility, patients still need to stay sober throughout the program.
An outpatient rehab program may be suitable for you if you want to live in your own home and live life as normal while receiving treatment from addiction specialists.
However, outpatient rehab is not for everyone. Those with more severe cases of addiction may benefit more from the focused and structured programs offered by inpatient rehab. These patients need round the clock care from medical professionals. They are also removed from their usual toxic environments so they can focus on getting better.
It’s important to remember that finding the right alcohol treatment program for the patient is essential. An addicted person can overcome their addiction and even learn to maintain their sobriety over the long term with the help of a proper treatment program. Both inpatient and outpatient alcohol rehab can achieve this result. It all depends on which program is right for the patient’s specific condition.
When is Outpatient Rehab the Right Choice?
Treatment for addiction is a long and difficult process. But it is somewhat easier if you are in the right program. This means your choice of rehab is very important when it comes to the potential success of your treatment. With the right treatment approach, you get the best chances of regaining your sobriety and learning how to maintain it.
The severity of addiction is one thing you should consider, but you should also look into other factors when choosing a substance abuse treatment program.
Outpatient alcohol treatment may be the right call for those who have a strong emotional support system. If you have a supportive family or friends who don’t influence you to drink, you may benefit from outpatient rehab programs. When we say “supportive”, you have to make sure these friends and family members don’t actually tolerate or enable your drinking behavior. You need people around you who will hold you accountable and help you stay on the right track.
Outpatient rehab programs are also ideal for those who have easy access to transportation. Look for an outpatient alcohol treatment center near you to make it even more accessible. Partial hospitalization programs require frequent visits to the rehab center, so this will come in handy.
Outpatient alcohol rehab programs are also good for patients who are determined to beat their addiction. Highly-motivated individuals can thrive in a program where they do not have 24-hour access to medications, counselors, and medical staff.
Finally, patients with low risk of withdrawal symptoms or do not have co-occurring mental health conditions may find comfort in an outpatient rehab program.
Do not choose this type of rehab if you have a severe alcohol addiction or drug addiction, as well as a history of relapse. Sometimes inpatient treatment is necessary to keep the patient safe.
Outpatient Alcohol Rehab: What to Expect
Now that you’ve chosen outpatient alcohol treatment, you may be wondering: what should I expect from this type of program?
During outpatient alcohol treatment, the patient will go through individual therapy, counseling sessions, and group therapy at a rehab clinic or hospital setting. Some rehab centers also offer family therapy and alternative treatment programs. So we can say that this is actually not much different from an inpatient rehab program. The only difference is that patients get to go home after each session.
Some outpatient alcohol treatment programs also offer medical detox, which is a process that involves deliberately lowering the person’s alcohol intake and managing their withdrawal symptoms. When a person who has been drinking for a long time suddenly quits or reduces their intake, their body produces adverse effects. This is called withdrawal, and it can sometimes be dangerous. This is why it is best treated in a rehab facility where the patient’s progress can be monitored by medical professionals.
Sometimes medical detox is done before therapy, while in some cases it is done at the same time. As the patient’s body recovers from the effects of their alcohol abuse, they also learn healthy coping mechanisms that will help them in the long term. Detox helps them get sober while therapy teaches them how to stay sober. This is important because rehab programs don’t last forever. At some point you will have to go back to your old lifestyle and environment.
Behavioral therapy programs help patients understand the root causes of their drinking problems. They will learn how to change their unhealthy thought patterns and even adopt new habits.
One of the biggest benefits of outpatient alcohol treatment is that you don’t leave your environment, which means you can actively practice what you learn in rehab. You can continue living as normal, facing the challenges of everyday life and applying what you have picked up. You can start balancing addiction management and real life. This is something patients leaving inpatient rehab still have to learn once they are out of the facility.
Exact treatment methods may vary from one treatment center to another.
You can also expect to pay less for an outpatient treatment program. These programs are generally less expensive because the rehab centers don’t have to provide food and accommodations.
Outpatient treatment is often used as a step-down program for patients who have already made significant progress towards sobriety through a more intensive treatment program.
Before treatment officially starts, the patient will talk to a staff member about their condition. Their alcohol intake will be discussed, along with their struggles, symptoms, co-occurring disorders, and current living situation. This allows them to figure out which type of treatment is right for you. It also allows for the development of a personalized treatment plan, based on the patient’s specific needs, medical history, and co-occurring conditions.
Personalized treatment is the best approach for any type of addiction because everyone experiences addiction differently. Even if two people have been drinking the same type of alcohol for the same amount of time, the effects will still be different for them. This personalized plan will pursue several treatment goals for the patient. With a clear direction for treatment, therapy will be much more effective.
Medications may be prescribed during outpatient treatment. Medication assisted treatment helps keep withdrawal symptoms and cravings at bay. It also allows for a much more comfortable treatment experience for the patient.
Because the patient stays at home, outpatient alcohol rehab requires regular drug tests. Aside from attending regular therapy sessions, the patient may also have to complete and submit some assignments.
Now let’s talk about some disadvantages and limitations. No treatment is perfect, after all. Outpatient treatment is less focused and less intensive. This means it also tends to have a lower success rate compared to inpatient treatment. If this program is not the right fit for the patient, they may struggle to make progress under this setup.
Because of the less structured setup, the chances of relapse are slightly higher. Do keep in mind that relapse prevention is a priority no matter what program you are in. Relapse is also not a sign of failure. It is just another obstacle in the road to long term recovery, and it happens very often. You may have to go into inpatient treatment if outpatient alcohol rehab does not work for you.
Outpatient vs. Inpatient Treatment: Which is Better?
When talking about inpatient and outpatient treatment, it is important to remember that one is not necessarily better than the other.
Inpatient rehab programs offer round the clock care for patients where they can get immediate medical attention from healthcare professionals and addiction specialists. Patients get to stay in a safe and comfortable environment where they don’t have any responsibilities other than recovering from their alcoholism.
One advantage of this approach is that patients who learned how to become sober in an inpatient program are more likely to stay sober after rehab.
The clearest downside however, is the fact that these programs are much more expensive. These programs typically last from 3 to 9 months, during which the patient will be given food and accommodations on top of medications and therapy.
As we have established, outpatient treatment is for patients who have more manageable conditions. Outpatient alcohol rehab is more versatile when it comes to scheduling. Patients can attend work and school. Appointments can even be made in the evenings or during the weekend.
In terms of cost, outpatient alcohol rehab has the definite edge. Patients have to spend money on food and transportation, however, because these are not provided by the facility. They also need to have their own place to stay.
If you are ready to get started on your addiction treatment journey, look for a rehab facility near you today and learn about the available programs and treatments.
What are the Types of Outpatient Rehab?
When choosing an outpatient program, you may encounter different forms of it. For example, there are day programs, intensive outpatient programs, and continuing care.
Day programs are considered the highest level of care within an outpatient setting. This is an outpatient alcohol rehab program that involves five to seven days of therapy sessions for people struggling with an alcohol addiction. Day programs last several hours each day, so they are a huge commitment.
An intensive outpatient program establishes a treatment plan, sets measurable milestones, and tracks the patient’s progress throughout the program. As the patient achieves these milestones, the time required for therapies is reduced.
Finally, continuing care includes support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. This is for patients who have already made significant progress towards achieving sobriety. These groups hold meetings that are led by a licensed therapist. Sessions are done on a weekly basis.
How to Choose an Outpatient Treatment Program
As we mentioned previously, choosing the right outpatient alcohol rehab is an important step in the long journey towards sobriety. You have to find a rehab program that meets you or your loved one’s unique treatment needs. The good news is that there are thousands of rehab facilities and programs to choose from.
One of the first factors you need to consider is the location of the facility. This is especially important if you are going for outpatient alcohol rehab. An outpatient treatment program will require you to travel to the facility often, so location is important. Try to find an outpatient center that is easily accessible.
Using keywords such as “rehab near me” should help you narrow down your choices when choosing an outpatient alcohol rehab online.
Next you want to look into each outpatient rehab to see what kind of programs they offer for outpatient care. Look into how successful the treatment facility is and how well-trained their staff are. You can often find these credentials online.
Do your research on each of the available rehab options. Find out what level of care is given and how intensive each program is. Find out what amenities they offer and whether or not they use alternative treatments and therapies. Some facilities offer dance therapy, art therapy, music therapy, hypnotherapy, equine therapy, exercise programs, yoga, meditation, etc. These are best used to complement traditional treatment methods like cognitive behavioral therapy.
When it comes to amenities, you can choose based on the patient’s budget and preferences. Some patients don’t want fancy amenities, but there are also luxury rehab options for those who want that level of care. Amenities make the rehab journey that much more comfortable. They even put you in a better mental headspace so you can focus on the recovery process.
Of course, you will also have to consider the cost of treatment when choosing a rehab program. Look for a rehab facility that accepts your health insurance coverage. Insurance makes treatment a lot more accessible, giving you more options to work with.
Rehab centers have different rates depending on the length of the program, the intensity, the amenities, the location, etc.
If a program is not covered by insurance and money is a concern, look for alternative payment options. Medicaid and Medicare, for example are commonly used alternatives.
Although treatment may seem expensive, staying addicted is actually much costlier in the long run because of the hospital expenses and other financial concerns caused by addiction. Don’t hesitate to invest in your health and seek treatment today.
Rehab is Your Best Chance
Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs or alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.