How Does Outpatient Rehab Work?

Written by Chloe Nicosia

What is outpatient rehab? How does outpatient rehab work? Find the answers right here.

Addiction takes a toll on all aspects of your life. If you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol and have tried unsuccessfully to quit on your own, you’re not alone. The National Institute on Drug Abuse stresses that willpower and good intentions are rarely enough to end an addiction for the long-term. Professional help is almost always needed. But how do you choose between inpatient and outpatient rehab for substance abuse? How does outpatient rehab work? Understanding inpatient and outpatient rehab and when to choose outpatient treatment is essential for making the right treatment decision.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab for Substance Abuse

The key difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment is that inpatient treatment involves living at a residential facility while in rehab, while outpatient rehab involves living at home and attending treatment sessions during the day or in the evenings.

While outpatient rehab for substance abuse is less expensive and offers more freedom than inpatient rehab, it’s not right for everyone. In order for outpatient treatment to work, it’s essential that you:

  • Have a safe and stable place to live.
  • Have a high level of intrinsic motivation to end your addiction.
  • Have a lot of support at home and in the community.
  • Are in good physical and mental health apart from the addiction.
  • Have not been in treatment before.

If you have a long history of addiction, are ambivalent about recovery, or don’t meet any of the above criteria, inpatient treatment will probably offer a better outcome for you. Otherwise, outpatient treatment can work, as long as you fully engage with your treatment plan.

How Does Outpatient Rehab Work Compared to Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient and outpatient rehab are similar in programming, but different in the mode of treatment.

What is inpatient rehab? During inpatient rehab, you live in the facility and follow certain rules. Inpatient treatment provides around-the-clock supervision and support, as well as promotes a healthy routine and a high level of self-care to help you develop the essential habits you’ll need for successful recovery after rehab is complete. But inpatient rehab can be costly, and it requires leaving home for at least 90 days for maximum effectiveness. 

What is Outpatient Rehab? During outpatient rehab, you live at home and continue your usual routine of working, attending school, or caring for the family. Then, each day, you’ll travel to the rehab center to participate in therapy sessions and other programming, which typically lasts a few hours. Your treatment plan will be based on your unique needs and issues. When your sessions are over for the day, you’ll go home, probably with a little bit of homework to do. 

Like inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment requires 90 days of programming for the best possible outcomes, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

How Does Outpatient Rehab Work to Treat Dependence?

Dependence occurs when your brain begins to work more comfortably when a substance is present. It’s characterized by withdrawal symptoms that set in when you stop using. Depending on the nature of the substance of abuse, you may require inpatient medical detox before beginning outpatient treatment. Otherwise, you can detox at home under the supervision of a physician, who may prescribe medications to ease symptoms and shorten the duration of detox.

How Does Outpatient Rehab Work to Treat Addiction?

Addiction is far more complex than dependence and requires a variety of therapies to successfully treat. During outpatient rehab through a high quality, holistic treatment program, you’ll engage in traditional and complementary therapies that will help you:

  • Identify and address underlying issues behind the addiction.
  • Develop coping skills for stress, cravings, and other triggers.
  • Identify and change dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns.
  • Repair damaged relationships and improve the functioning of the household.
  • Find purpose and meaning in life without drugs or alcohol.
  • Learn to relax and have fun while you’re sober.

A high quality outpatient program will not only help you end your addiction for the long-term, but it will also improve your quality of life on all fronts. Rehab works, and it can work for you.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.