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Outpatient Addiction Treatment

    Outpatient Addiction Treatment

    Outpatient addiction treatment is a primarily home-based method of treatment for substance addiction.

    As a person addicted to drugs or alcohol, you will be spending most of your time at your place of residence, while attending the addiction clinic for arranged therapy sessions and support groups.

    Outpatient treatment means that you can continue to carry out the majority of your daily routine and see to your responsibilities while undergoing professional treatment for addiction.

    Outpatient addiction treatment can be delivered with varying levels of intensity, in many different formats, over varying periods of time.

    However, outpatient addiction treatments usually share several common factors and will concentrate on:

    • Education
    • The creation of support networks
    • A variety of psychological therapies

    What Are The Different Types Of Outpatient Addiction Treatment?


    The types of treatments commonly on offer are broadly split into three categories:

    • Day Programs: Day programs are the most intense form of outpatient addiction therapy available.

    They will require you to commit to upwards of 20 hours per-week to attend in-person sessions, where you will engage in individual therapy, group therapy sessions and substance abuse education sessions.

    After the day program has ended you will be able to return to your home or place of residence, as long as it is a positive environment which encourages your abstinence and sobriety.

    • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP): An IOP will help you to create an addiction treatment plan which measures your success with core, well-defined milestones.

    The milestones will be linked to a time commitment, and as you pass each milestone your time commitment will decrease until it is absolutely minimal.

    An IOP is an effective option if you are already on a path of recovery from addiction, and need an effective way to maintain your abstinence.

    It works well alongside your other commitments and responsibilities, to work or family, and like day programs an IOP is also focused on therapy and education.


    Common continuing care groups are the well-known Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

    The groups will help you to learn from the experiences of other people in recovery for drug or alcohol addiction, and support your motivation to continue to lead a life of sobriety and abstinence.

    Which Type Of Outpatient Addiction Treatment Is Right For Me?


    The type of outpatient addiction treatment you will receive will depend on several factors.

    Firstly, the type of substance you are addicted to will be relevant to your outpatient addiction treatment.

    Different substances have different psychological and physical effects, which impact the type of treatment which can be offered.

    For example, detoxing from addiction to alcohol is a different process from a heroin detox, and therefore has different requirements.

    Secondly, the severity of the addiction will have an effect on the type of outpatient addiction treatment you receive.

    This is because, for people with a severe addiction who are used to taking frequent high doses of a substance, withdrawal symptoms can be harder to manage.

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    In addition, if you have a more severe addiction your treatment might last longer.

    Another relevant factor to the type of outpatient addiction treatment you will receive is where you are at on your recovery journey.

    The outpatient addiction treatment will take into account whether you have received professional treatment before and why that was unsuccessful.

    How Is Outpatient Addiction Treatment Different To Inpatient Treatment?


    Most outpatient addiction treatment focuses on supporting you to attend sessions in the clinic whilst spending the majority of your time in your normal routine.

    Conversely, inpatient addiction treatments are residential programs which see you stay in a clinical facility until your time in treatment has come to an end.

    Outpatient treatment can be seen primarily as ‘part-time’ programs, which allow you to continue your daily activities.

    Inpatient treatments are ‘full-time’ programs, where the entirety of your attention will be focused on the process of detoxing and therapy.

    Due to their differences, you might be better suited to outpatient treatment if you have a more recent, less severe addiction or if you already have experience with addiction treatments.

    Meanwhile, inpatient addiction treatments will work more effectively for people who have a severe addiction, or if withdrawal from the substance can trigger dangerous symptoms.

    What Are The Advantages Of Outpatient Addiction Treatment?


    Addiction to drugs and alcohol can quickly become destructive and can spiral out of control.

    However, if you aren’t yet at the point where your addiction is significantly damaging your life and relationships, outpatient addiction treatment could have many benefits over inpatient, residential treatments.



    The first benefit of outpatient treatment over inpatient treatment is the level of flexibility that it provides you as you progress through the treatment.

    You can ensure that your program works alongside your existing commitments, whether that’s work or family.



    Secondly, you will be able to see your family and friends throughout your time in outpatient addiction treatment.

    This can be a huge factor for some people, especially if your family and friends are already positive influences on your journey to abstinence.

    Having this pre-existing support network can be a source of motivation and strength to keep going through your outpatient addiction treatment, even though the harder moments.



    Another benefit of outpatient addiction treatment, and a more practical one, is the fact that it is a cheaper option than inpatient residential treatment.

    If you’re limited by your finances, outpatient addiction treatment is one of the more affordable options available to you.

    It does not incur the costs of having the 24/7 support of inpatient treatment, or accommodation space, but is still an effective treatment for milder forms of addiction.

    An Introduction To Therapy


    Finally, an under-appreciated benefit of outpatient addiction treatment is that it can be a stepping stone to more intense inpatient therapy.

    If you don’t yet feel ready to commit to inpatient therapy, outpatient therapy can give you a taste of what addiction treatment is like and make inpatient treatment more accessible to you down the line.

    Which Therapies Are Used In Outpatient Addiction Treatment?


    Like inpatient addiction treatment, outpatient addiction treatment also uses therapy as a key aspect of the recovery experience.

    As someone who is addicted to a substance, therapies can help you to understand the underlying emotional and psychological causes of your addiction.

    Being equipped with this understanding, you will be in a better position to make positive lifestyle choices and change your behavioural patterns in the future.

    Some of the therapies that are commonly used during outpatient addiction treatment include:

    • Acceptance And Commitment Therapy: ACT is a psychological therapy that aims to help you achieve a mindful state where you are in a position to accept your feelings and emotions, rather than struggling against them while focusing on how to increase constructive feelings. It focuses on noticing when certain emotions and feelings occur, and then understanding what can be done to work with those feelings towards positive behavioural outcomes. It is especially useful if you find that you struggle with managing your emotions in general.
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: CBT is one of the most common forms of therapy, and it is used as a therapy to treat a wide range of mental illnesses, as well as addiction. It aims to allow you to recognise patterns in your thoughts and behaviour, and acknowledge how the two are linked. With this recognition, it encourages you to break patterns where certain rising thoughts lead to negative behaviours that might be associated with your substance abuse.
    • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy: DBT is based on the foundations of CBT, but it specifically focuses on how to change destructive behaviours. Undergoing DBT, you will explore how you can cope with negative emotions and prevent them from leading to harmful actions, like self-harm or drug use.
    • Motivational interviewing: Motivational interviewing will help you to find the internal motivation that is needed for you to want to make a change to your behaviour. It does so by addressing feelings of ambivalence and insecurity, and acknowledging that changes can be hard to make, but that you have the strength within you to do it. It works well as a supplement to other therapies and can be delivered in only a few sessions.

    Outpatient Addiction Treatment In Summary


    Outpatient addiction treatment will support you to make positive changes to your life while you continue with your normal schedule and routine.

    There are different types of outpatient addiction treatment programs to suit your needs, depending on what substance you are addicted to, how long you have been addicted to it, and the severity of that addiction.

    It is more flexible and less expensive than inpatient therapy, and you can access support from your family and friends while you undergo the treatment.

    There are a large variety of therapies that can be used in outpatient addiction treatment, and they focus on how you can make sustainable changes to your behaviour.

    Get Help Today


    If you think that outpatient treatment may be the key to helping you overcome your addiction, then the best thing to do is to reach out for help.

    The sooner you begin treatment, the sooner you can look forward to a happier and healthier life.

    Our helpline is available 24/7 to offer professional, confidential and entirely free advice.

    With our help, you can be sure that the outpatient treatment you receive will give you the best possible chance for recovery.

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