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Outpatient Drug Treatment

    Outpatient Drug Treatment

    According to the brain disease model of addiction, addiction is a disease of chronic brain relapsing, as opposed to other stigmatising misconceptions.

    According to the model, there are three stages of addiction.

    These are;

    • Binging and Intoxication: The act of the individual consuming their addictive substance and becoming intoxicated.
    • Withdrawal: The unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that are associated once their addictive substance leaves their body.
    • Preoccupation: The individual is compelled and restarts the cycle by seeking out their addictive substance for further consumption.

    Just like any other disease, addiction requires thorough treatment in order to help the individual reclaim their life and achieve sobriety.

    One method an individual can recover and maintain recovery is to seek the assistance of outpatient drug treatment in their area.

    What Is Outpatient Drug Treatment?


    While undergoing treatment as an outpatient, individuals will not stay at a designated rehab facility overnight.

    Instead, they will continue to live at home while commuting to and undergoing treatment at a local drug and alcohol rehab.

    This is different to inpatient drug treatment where patients will relocate to a rehab facility to undergo their recovery.

    Typically, patients undergoing recovery through outpatient drug treatment facilities will be required to commit to a few hours per week by attending therapeutic sessions, activities and to undergo medical care at their designated facility.

    Outpatient drug treatment providers will vary from one another in terms of the services that they offer and the commitment that they require.

    It is important to consider which rehab facility will be optimal for someone’s recovery.

    Most outpatient drug treatment providers will offer a range of therapies to assist the patient in overcoming their unique case of addiction.

    These therapy sessions include individual therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Motivational Interviewing, as well as group therapy such as support sessions and Family Therapy.

    How Can I Begin Recovery Through Outpatient Drug Treatment?


    When you contact Rehab Recovery by dialling 0800 088 66 86, you will be put in contact with a trained admissions officer.

    Here, you will undergo a swift health assessment and pre-admission assessment over the phone.

    This assessment is done in a relaxed manner with complete discretion and entirely free of charge.

    Soon to be patients will provide the trained admissions offer with their personal details and unique requirements.

    Personal details include their age, sex, physical and mental health conditions, their addiction history, and more.

    Their requirements can concern affordability, facility requirements, location preferences and more.

    Following the assessment, a consultant psychiatrist will evaluate the soon to be patient’s details and requirements in order to locate a local outpatient drug treatment facility which will optimise their recovery.

    What Are The Benefits Of Outpatient Drug Treatment?


    There are benefits and drawbacks to both inpatient and outpatient drug treatments, one isn’t necessarily ‘better’ than the other.

    However, some patients will be more suited to inpatient drug treatment, whereas others will find more success via outpatient drug treatment.

    Accommodation And Restriction


    An inpatient drug treatment facility will provide accommodation and a more stable environment for those that suffer from severe forms of addiction, whether drugs or alcohol.

    While they are more restrictive and more expensive than outpatient drug treatment facilities, it is argued that their services are more effective at helping patients overcome addiction.

    However, an outpatient drug treatment facility is less restrictive than inpatient drug treatment.

    This is because patients can return home each night and tend to any social, academic or occupational responsibilities that they may have.

    This offers much more flexibility for those that worry about external responsibilities while undergoing recovery.

    Home Detox


    Outpatients that suffer from a mild form of addiction also have the ability to undergo a medicated home detox, rather than a medicated detox at an inpatient drug treatment facility.

    Here, outpatients will visit a hospital or their outpatient drug treatment facility for medical checkups.

    Pharmacological intervention may also be implemented to soothe their detox.

    Social Access


    It is important to note that the outpatient will have more contact with friends and family, making their recovery less isolating.

    While some may argue that the environmental factors may trigger a relapse, it can also reinforce a patient’s support network if they are able to keep friends and family members around to help them overcome addiction.


    People working

    One of the most significant benefits of outpatient treatment is that patients are able to maintain employment.

    Not only is outpatient drug treatment more affordable, but outpatients can continue to work and earn for themselves and their families while recovering from addiction.

    To accommodate outpatients that are studying or working while undergoing recovery, many outpatient drug treatment facilities will conduct support sessions either early in the morning or in the evening to ensure that outpatients are able to sustain their schedules.

    How Long Does Outpatient Drug Treatment Last?

    When it comes to establishing a timeframe, outpatient drug treatments are very flexible.

    Outpatients can be required to spend a few hours a week or up to 12 hours a week attending sessions at their outpatient drug treatment facility.

    While inpatient drug treatment tends to last around 28 days, the timeframe for outpatient drug treatment can vary significantly.

    Outpatients can undergo this kind of treatment from 10 weeks to over a year should they want to continue attending sessions.

    Because of its flexibility, outpatient drug treatment is something that can be easily sustained for the long term.

    Since addiction recovery is something that should be maintained for life, outpatient drug treatment can assist those that have recovered without being too intense to sustain.

    Who Is Outpatient Drug Treatment For?


    An outpatient drug treatment programme is optimal for someone who is suffering from a mild or moderate form of addiction.

    This is because they are deemed to be low risk and can continue to undergo treatment while working or studying and receiving support from their friends and family.

    There are many ‘high risk’ patients that should not seek outpatient drug treatment.

    These are patients that suffer from a severe form of addiction, or have previously tried to recover but failed.

    Additionally, those that become violent, have a poor support network or suffer from a severe mental health condition should seek the assistance of inpatient drug treatment.

    However, that is not to say that these ‘high risk’ patients can’t ever undergo outpatient drug treatment.

    Outpatient drug treatment can be combined with inpatient drug treatment to optimise recovery.

    Its flexibility means that outpatient drug treatment can be a viable option for those that underwent inpatient drug treatment but want to continue receiving support.

    How Do I Know If I Require Inpatient Or Outpatient Drug Treatment?


    Self-diagnosis can be unreliable, so it can be difficult to determine what kind of treatment you require.

    Without a diagnosis from a medical professional, it can be difficult to know what to ask for when you contact a drug and alcohol rehab provider.

    However, clinicians use validated screening methods to ensure that their patients receive the right kind of treatment.

    One example of a popular screening method for drug addiction is the ASAM criteria.

    There are six dimensions to this multidimensional assessment, and each helps to formulate a suitable plan for patients.

    The six dimensions are:

    • Dimension 1 – Withdrawal Potential: The likelihood that the patient will experience withdrawal symptoms
    • Dimension 2 – Biomedical Conditions: The patient’s physical and mental wellbeing
    • Dimension 3 – Emotional, Behavioural Or Cognitive Conditions And Complications: Analysing psychological and emotional issues
    • Dimension 4 – Readiness To Change: Analysing their intrinsic motivation
    • Dimension 5 – Relapse Or Continued Use Potential: Studying the likelihood of relapse or sustained use
    • Dimension 6 – Recovery And Living Environment: Assessing environmental factors that might hinder recovery


    Each dimension provides valuable insight into what kind of treatment a patient requires.

    After assessing these aspects of an individual’s personality and addiction, they will be assigned a level which will determine the type of care that they require.

    These levels are:

    • Level 1: Outpatient Treatment
    • Level 2: Intensive Outpatient Treatment
    • Level 3: Inpatient Treatment
    • Level 4: Intensive Inpatient Treatment

    This will help clinicians determine the kind of care that they will receive at their recovery facility.

    As the ASAM criteria shows, there are different types of outpatient drug treatments that patients can undergo.

    Types Of Outpatient Drug Treatment & Recovery


    Because patients can come with a range of variables -such as cause of addiction, which substances are used, addiction severity, co-occurring disorders and so on- there are different types of outpatient drug treatments available.

    Additionally, while some outpatient drug treatment facilities will vary in their ethics and practices, high quality and reputable facilities will vary their practice according to the patient they are treating.

    Personalisation is key when it comes to inpatient or outpatient recovery.

    Intensive Outpatient Programmes

    Doctor with clipboard

    Patients can undergo an outpatient programme or intensive outpatient programmes (IOP) depending on the severity of their addiction.

    An IOP programme would require a higher level of commitment from patients, and they will receive higher levels of medical assistance, regulation and support.

    One form of an IOP is Partial Hospitalisation Programme (PHP).

    Here, patients will be required to undergo a monitored medicated detox as well as more intense and frequent medical regulation procedures to ensure that they are coping with withdrawal symptoms and any health complications.

    Doctor with phone

    IOP and PHP can be compared to the services of inpatient programmes, however, the key difference is that patients can return home every night.

    Because of the high level of commitment, it may be difficult to sustain employment with an IOP instead of regular outpatient drug treatment programmes.

    According to a research-based guide titled The Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment, outpatient treatment models can be just as effective as inpatient treatment models, depending on the patient.

    However, it must be remembered that patients that suffer from a severe form of addiction should seek treatment as an inpatient.

    Outpatient drug treatment can be incredibly flexible, however, as flexible as attending support sessions a few times a week.

    Committing only a few hours per week to somewhere like AA or NA is optimal for those that have already recovered and seek to maintain their recovery.

    Patients can continue to attend these sessions, making their support network lasting and ongoing and increasing their chances of recovery.

    Types Of Therapy Available Through Outpatient Drug Treatment


    Although outpatient drug treatment can be less intense than inpatient programmes, patients will still have access to the same forms of therapy utilised at an inpatient drug facility.

    Some of the most prominent examples of therapy available for outpatients are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, support sessions, family therapy, and more.

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

    Therapist and patient

    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is fundamental to any comprehensive addiction recovery plan.

    This form of therapy focuses on reconfiguring negative and self-destructive thoughts and behavioural patterns.

    CBT is thought to ‘promote a rational and logical analysis of thoughts’, allowing patients to become more constructive and rational when dealing with not only addiction but other issues in life.

    Support Sessions


    Support sessions are another staple in any effective drug treatment programme.

    During a support session, patients will attend meetings to share their experiences regarding drug addiction.

    It is a platform where patients are able to inspire and to be inspired.

    It is also thought that group counselling sessions are effective due to the social reinforcement which is offered between patients and a licensed counsellor.

    Peer discussion and reinforcement can encourage a lifestyle of abstaining, which helps to consolidate motivation.

    Motivational Interviewing

    women therapy

    Motivational Interviewing (MI) is another effective tool for sustaining sobriety among patients.

    The purpose of MI is to reinforce the patient’s motivation for recovery.

    This can be achieved by having a licensed counsellor ‘interview’ the patient and have them openly discuss their intentions and objectives at their rehab facility.

    Family Therapy


    Family therapy is utilised to help improve communication between the patient and their family.

    This can help break down the stigmas of addiction and reinforce the patient’s support network.

    By educating those who are in the patient’s support network, their chances of recovery are far higher.

    Are Outpatient Drug Treatments Enough to Fully Recover?


    It depends on the patient and which level of addiction treatment they require.

    If a patient ranks as Level 4 on the ASAM Criteria undergoes outpatient treatment, it is likely that they will struggle.

    It is imperative that patients undergo a health assessment and pre-admission assessment to understand how severe their addiction is, and what kind of treatment they require.

    Contact Rehab Recovery Today

    Man with phone

    It is essential that patients entering a drug and alcohol rehab enter a facility which caters to their personal requirements.

    Addiction is a complex disease, and personalisation is imperative towards ensuring full recovery.

    The level of care will vary from patient to patient, making one facility more appropriate for one patient than another.

    To determine what level of care you require, contact Rehab Recovery today by dialling the number 0800 088 66 86.

    We can help you navigate the overwhelming process of selecting the right treatment plan and facility for you.

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