There are many possibilities when it comes to substance abuse treatment programs.

One option for individuals struggling with substance abuse is to participate in an outpatient drug rehabilitation program. Outpatient drug rehabilitation facilities will allow an individual to participate in a drug rehabilitation program while residing in his or her own home.

The individual will attend treatment, which can include therapy, and other services, and then leave the facility at the end of each treatment session. Allowing this flexibility will enable an individual to continue to maintain a normal work, school and/or home life while seeking treatment. The time spent in an outpatient program varies and will depend on the facility. Some programs will require an individual to participate in all-day sessions, and others may only treat individuals for an hour or two per day.

Outpatient care is typically less expensive than a residential drug treatment facility. Less staff hours are required and there are usually fewer amenities available to its participants. Due to the fact that individuals leave the facility, they do not need to pay for around-the-clock care, which is usually what makes inpatient treatment much more expensive. Outpatient drug rehabilitation programs are often recommended for individuals who struggle with less severe, and more short-term addictions.

Drug Addiction

Addiction is defined as a chronic, often brain disease, that causes compulsive drug seeking use, without regard for harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Drug addiction is an extremely complex disease. It has, however, become evident, through scientific advances, that drug addiction can be treated to help individuals stop abusing drugs. In many cases, the initial decision to begin to use drugs in voluntary for an individual. Over time, abuse of drugs will result in changes in one’s brain that can hinder his or her ability to resist intense impulses to take drugs and the brain changes that can occur over time challenge an addicted person’s self-control. With the fostering of these unhealthy, compulsive drug abuse habits, quitting can be extremely difficult, even for those who are ready and willing to do so. Ceasing to use a foreign substance that one’s body has become accustomed to functioning with will take much more than good intentions.


There are a plethora of benefits to outpatient drug rehabilitation facilities or programs. Some of the possible benefits can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The cost, as outpatient options are generally less expensive than inpatient options, while still providing high-quality treatment
  • Usually insurance is accepted by most outpatient drug rehabilitation programs, and will cover most of the associated costs
  • Outpatient rehabilitation allows an individual to reside in his or her own home
  • Due to the possibly flexible hours, outpatient rehabilitation will reduce the need to take an extended leave from work or school

In addition to offering many of the same services as those found in residential treatment facilities, an outpatient option can be a great one for individuals who struggle with less severe drug addictions.

Reasons for Choosing Outpatient Treatment

There are many reasons individuals will choose outpatient treatment. If an individual is in the early stages of an addiction, or if his or her addiction is not severe, outpatient treatment can provide one with the necessary support that is required for his or her recovery. An outpatient treatment program can also be used as maintenance for continuing care, as it can be an effective way to avoid relapse and maintain the long-term effects of recovery. If an individual requires extensive support from family and/or friends, outpatient treatment may be the best option, as they will have the most physical access to them in this kind of program. If an individual is unable to financially afford a residential treatment facility, an outpatient facility can be a less financially straining alternative. Also, if an individual is uncomfortable or unable (due to professional and/or personal situations) to commit to inpatient care outpatient drug rehabilitation programs may be a better fit.

Common Outpatient Components

Every outpatient drug rehabilitation facilities and programs have somewhat unique components. That said, each individual is different and will require a personalized treatment plan to support his or her recovery process, which most outpatient programs will accommodate. Allowing an individual to work through drug and/or alcohol related issues without putting his or her life on hold could be a wonderful benefit to an outpatient program. Some of the most common outpatient components that are utilized by outpatient facilities/programs can include the following:

  • Individual therapy
  • Substance abuse education
  • Group counseling
  • Relapse prevention, education and support
  • When needed, medication to reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms
  • Family counseling and/or education
  • When applicable, treatment for underlying mental health concerns and/or possible co-occurring disorders

Many of the professionals that work at outpatient treatment facilities are experts that provide individuals with the proper tools and knowledge needed to manage addiction on an ongoing basis. Individuals will be taught life skills that can help an individual lead a life free of drugs and/or alcohol and live a balanced lifestyle.

Types of Outpatient Treatment

There are many kinds of outpatient rehabilitation treatment options that are available for an individual to choose from, depending on one’s level of addiction and personal needs. An intensive outpatient program is the most similar to an inpatient residential program, with respect to service and effectiveness; with the primary focus being relapse prevention. Depending on the facility and the program, many intensive outpatient programs are typically scheduled to accommodate one’s work or school schedules. Usually, they will meet for at least two to four hours per day and will meet at least three days per week.

Another option is a partial hospitalization treatment program. This is most suitable for individuals with a stable living environment, but also require ongoing medical monitoring. Most commonly, partial hospitalization treatment programs will meet at a hospital for at least four to six hours per day and typically for three to five days per week.

Therapy and counseling are often combined with other treatment methods or as follow-up support subsequent to the successful completion of an inpatient rehabilitation stay. Therapy and counseling are helpful for individuals to explore the possible root cause or causes of his or her addiction, amongst other things. The length of an outpatient rehabilitation treatment program will depend on the specific program selected and each individual’s own needs.