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  • Although residential or inpatient addiction treatment is more structured and includes 24/7 monitoring and support, outpatient programs can be just as effective under the right circumstances.

    Outpatient treatment features many of the same treatment methods as inpatient care and gives patients an added layer of flexibility not found in 30-day rehab programs. 

    What Is Outpatient Treatment?

    Outpatient care involves traveling to a treatment center or facility for scheduled treatment sessions. You will likely receive an initial assessment to determine your schedule, align treatment goals with your individual needs, and figure out which therapies are best for you.

    Treatment and services you can expect with outpatient rehab include:

    Since you continue to live at home or in sober-living housing while you attend an outpatient program, it’s recommended you have a network of reliable support outside of treatment.

    Types Of Outpatient Alcohol Or Drug Rehab

    There are different levels of outpatient treatment. An outpatient program (OP) meets for treatment less than nine hours a week. It may consist of little more than education and support group meetings, but may also include one weekly session of group or individual therapy.

    Additional types of outpatient treatment vary in intensity and format. Many treatment plans will begin you in a more comprehensive level of outpatient care and transition you to lower-level care programs as you progress through recovery and require less clinical support.

    Day treatment/Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

    A day treatment or partial hospitalization program (PHP) is the highest level of outpatient rehab. It consists of three to five days of scheduled treatment sessions every week. Each treatment session is likely to last between five and six hours. 

    Learn more about Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

    Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

    An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is required to hold treatment sessions for at least nine hours each week. IOPs are more flexible than a day treatment program, potentially holding sessions on evenings or weekends. 

    Learn more about Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

    Continuing Care Program (Aftercare)

    These programs are available after the successful completion of an inpatient or outpatient program. They are likely facilitated by a licensed counselor or social worker, and may include 12-step support groups, group therapy, and other services to support your recovery.

    When Is Outpatient Rehab A Good Option?

    If you have severe addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, you may be better served by an inpatient or residential treatment program.

    However, outpatient rehab is a good option if you:

    • have mild to moderate addiction based on ASAM criteria
    • have recently finished inpatient treatment and need a step-down level of care
    • have strong, reliable support at home
    • cannot take time off from your job for residential treatment
    • cannot afford to attend inpatient treatment

    Keep in mind, all outpatient programs are different. Some programs may provide psychiatric services to address mental health issues, while others will be geared towards a primary substance use disorder.

    Benefits Of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

    Because outpatient treatment is more flexible than inpatient treatment, it can be beneficial to you or your family for many reasons, including:

    • it’s more affordable than inpatient treatment
    • it’s more flexible than inpatient treatment
    • you can live at home
    • family or friends can be directly involved in your recovery
    • you can practice what you’ve in therapy in real-world situations

    Our Outpatient Treatment Options

    At Ark Behavioral Health, we offer all levels of evidence-based outpatient care. From intensive outpatient programs in Cape Cod to day treatment in metro Boston, we can pair you up with a program that meets your individual needs.

    To learn more about our outpatient treatment options, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Article Sources

    American Society of Addiction Medicine - What are the ASAM Levels of Care?
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Types of Treatment Programs

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
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