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Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab allows patients to attend treatment for a few hours during the day before returning home in the evening.

What Is Outpatient Rehab?

During outpatient rehab, patients reside at home or a sober living facility and travel to a treatment facility during the day for additional structure and support. Outpatient rehab allows patients more freedom than inpatient rehab, which requires them to reside in a treatment facility for the duration of their treatment.

Typically, patients attend a detox facility to get clean before attending outpatient rehab so that they can begin rehab with a “clean slate.” While in outpatient rehab, patients go to a facility or facilities for treatment typically between 1 and 9 hours during the day. During this time, they attend individual and group therapy and participate in other treatment methods, such as art therapy and yoga. Case Managers are available to provide referrals for connecting with other outpatient providers, such as private doctors, chiropractic services, acupuncture, and applying for government assistance programs, such as food stamps. Some outpatient programs offer limited medical assistance, such as refilling prescriptions. There are also outpatient programs that may offer life and recovery coaching. After attending treatment, patients go back home to their regular life before starting the process again the following day.

There are a number of types of outpatient rehab.

  • Standard Outpatient Programs (OPs) typically meet for 1-2 hours per day with one individual therapy session of 1 hour per week.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) typically meet 3 hours per day with one individual therapy session of 1 hour per week.
  • Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) typically meet for 6-8 hours per day with one individual therapy session of 1 hour per week.

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Who Is Outpatient Rehab for?

Outpatient Rehab can benefit anyone in need of treatment, but it is a better fit for some treatment seekers than others. It may be the right choice for your situation if you…

Are Looking for a Less Expensive Treatment Option

Inpatient rehab is generally more expensive than outpatient rehab, especially for longer treatment periods. Outpatient rehab is typically a cheaper alternative that is still effective in treating drug and alcohol addiction.

Are in the Early Stages of Addiction

Any addiction is a disease that should not be taken lightly. Even less severe or early stage addictions need to be treated before they become more intense and harder to quit. However, if your addiction is less severe, your everyday surroundings might not affect treatment to the same extent as they would with a more severe addiction. Also, less severe and early stage addictions require less intensive and around-the-clock treatment. Therefore, it may be safer to attend outpatient rehab without the worry of relapsing once you go back home.

Please note that it is up to a substance abuse provider to determine the severity of an individual’s substance use disorder. This is done after the patient completes a substance abuse evaluation. Based on the results of the evaluation, the clinician determines and recommends the level of care the patient enters.

Have Obligations and Commitments You Can’t Break

Many parents and professionals cannot afford to take a break from their families or their jobs despite suffering from addiction. The worst option would be to continue their daily lifestyle without seeking help and risk growing the intensity of their addiction. The compromise choice for them would be to attend outpatient rehab, where they could check in for their disorder for part of their weekdays and still return home to their families and work duties.

Need an Aftercare Program after Inpatient Rehab

Upon completion of inpatient rehab, most clients are recommended to step-down into an aftercare program, usually either PHP or IOP (both of which are outpatient treatments). This additional support helps individuals reintegrate into their daily life without the use of alcohol and other drugs. They can attend outpatient therapy, go to support groups and work ,all while practicing implementing new coping skills in the community and having accountability and support for any struggles.

Need Additional Support to Avoid or Recovery from Relapse

Although regularly attending counseling, therapy, and being surrounded by constant support will drastically increase your chances of stopping your addiction, there is no guarantee you won’t relapse. Many who have gone through the long process of rehab still get cravings for their addiction. Because of this, you might need extra help months or even years after rehab to stay sober. Outpatient Rehab can help keep you in check and continue the support system you need to abstain from abusing drugs and alcohol.

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Benefits of Outpatient Rehab

There are many benefits to outpatient rehab. Here are some of the most advantageous:


Every rehab facility differs in pricing simply because they offer different services and amenities. However, it is safe to say that outpatient rehab is typically substantially less costly than inpatient rehab since you are using fewer services and amenities and are not residing in a facility.


Patients are required to check in to the treatment facility for a certain amount of days and hours. However, they have much more freedom than inpatient rehab, including the ability to continue daily activities.

Ability to See Family

Outpatient programs allow you to be at home and see your family. This is an important part of the rehab process since family provides many patients with the love and support to help them through the recovering process. It also allows patients to continue to care for family members such as children or elderly parents whom they cannot find alternative care options for.

Disadvantages of Outpatient Rehab


Being at home makes many patients too comfortable and can distract them from the goal at hand–to get clean. Drug connections are not far away, and the urge to give in can be far too easy.

Limited Access to Medical and Clinical Support

Being in an Inpatient program provides access to medical and clinical help 24/7. Being at home makes it harder to communicate with your counselor, therapists, case managers, and doctors. Patients may not get all the support necessary to stay on track.

Reduced Supervision

In an inpatient program, patients are typically supervised by medical provider 24/7. This both keeps patients safe and makes sure that they maintain their sobriety. Outpatient programs typically provide less supervision, meaning that patients are more likely to give in to temptation.

What to Consider When Choosing an Outpatient Rehab Facility

Choosing the right outpatient center is very important. Every program offers something different, and some programs are a better fit than others.  Here are some things to look out for when choosing the best center for you:

Do They Specialize in Your Substance Disorder?

Most rehab centers treat alcohol and other common substance abuse disorders. However, you need to make sure they specialize in, or at least treat, your specific addiction.

How Intense Is the Program?

If the program requires you to come in every single day and you have responsibilities that you cannot postpone until after treatment, that program may not be for you. Do some research on what the average duration for the treatment you need is and also what is involved. If you can’t commit to what they are offering, you might feel overwhelmed and quit altogether, which is the opposite of the goal you are trying to achieve.

Do They Accept My Insurance?

Rehab can be quite expensive, and insurance can make all the difference. Find out about the costs of the program and if your insurance will cover it before you commit to any program.

How Available Will My Treatment Providers Be?

Committing to an outpatient program means you will not be around your doctor, therapist, and other providers for support 24/7 like you would in an inpatient program. Support is everything. Research the communication process between treatment providers and outpatients when there is an emergency after they go home for the day.

Finding an Outpatient Program That Works for You

If you can’t dedicate all your time or financial resources to an inpatient program, an outpatient program might be best for you. You can still take care of your family, go to work, and get clean at the same time. Contact a treatment provider for more information.

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