Outpatient rehab centers require the patient to come to the facility on a regular basis for treatment and allow them to go home after. The frequency of attendance varies from daily for several hours to weekly based on the type and severity of the addiction. The patient may also need to check in with the center regularly via phone. A good outpatient will incorporate individualized therapy, group therapy, and education into their treatment plans, but some only provide an education component. A good center will also be flexible to accommodate the patient’s work schedule. Inpatient centers work well with 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous to provide group support while the rehab center provides other support. If medication is required for treatment, the patient will be given a prescription and will be responsible for getting the medication from their own pharmacy.
People with less serious behavioral addictions might be appropriate candidates for outpatient treatment. Shopping addiction, video game or internet addiction, or binge eating disorder will most-likely not require twenty-four hour monitoring or healthcare services. These patients will need reliable methods of transportation, as they will be required to check in at the center about once per day for the beginning of the treatment. They will also require a stable home situation with support systems in place for outpatient treatment. For example, a youth in a consistent home environment who’s parents are actively involved in their treatment will be a better candidate for outpatient treatment than a person who’s friends frequently abuse drugs or alcohol and do not support them in their recovery.
Patients who have left inpatient centers upon completing treatment might consider continuing long-term therapy at an outpatient center. Longer care is associated with better patient outcome and treatment that exceeds 90 days in duration has the best results.
Outpatient centers are ideal for people who can’t leave their jobs for long periods of time. They are also less expensive than inpatient treatment. They provide the patient with more autonomy than what is provided at inpatient treatment facilities, which may or may not be a good thing. Outpatient therapists are not usually available on weekends or holidays if the patient is experiencing a crisis, so they will need to establish additional support systems, such as a 12-step program sponsor. It will also be difficult for the individual to avoid triggers for their addiction if they are frequently visiting places in the outside world where they would feed their addiction.
Outpatient treatment has a higher relapse rate than inpatient treatment and is not appropriate for everyone. People with substance addictions or those who severe mental disorders such as an eating disorder or suicidal ideation should consider inpatient treatment before looking at outpatient centers. Withdrawal symptoms of drugs and especially alcohol should be monitored by a healthcare professional at a twenty-four hour facility before moving to outpatient care.
Talk to a healthcare provider about the best course of treatment for you.