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Outpatient Treatment

Understanding Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient Treatment

While there is much evidence backing up the fact that inpatient rehab is extremely effective at treating substance abuse issues, not everyone can take part in a residential treatment program. And even for those that do, sometimes it is still advantageous to take part in an outpatient treatment program as well.

Outpatient treatment programs are much like residential programs in that they focus on helping a person stay abstinent from the use of drugs and alcohol. There are many services offered through outpatient programs, with the end-goal being for the patients to remain drug-free for the rest of their lives.

Outpatient Treatment Formats

It is important to note that outpatient treatment can be obtained through a variety of formats. Such formats include:

  • Bringing the patient in for two to three hours of substance abuse education, two to three days a week.
  • Bringing the patient in for eight hours of education, five days a week.
  • Having the patient take part in activities and education with residential patients seven days a week; however, at the end of the day, the patient can return home.

The outpatient format that a person should take part in will largely depend on the severity of his or her addiction as well as how long the person has been in active addiction. For example, someone who has been abusing marijuana for two weeks tends to require much less intense treatment than someone who has been abusing crack/cocaine for seven years.

Services Offered through Outpatient Treatment

Fortunately, there are many services to be taken advantage of when taking part in an outpatient treatment program. The exact services that should be rendered will be determined by the complexity of a person’s addiction. The more complex, the more services the person will require.

Individual therapy: The addict meets one-on-one with a licensed and experienced substance abuse therapist. A variety of topics are discussed in addition to those relating to addiction. Such topics tend to include hobbies, personal life matters, home environment, past relationships and more. This type of therapy usually takes place at least one to three times a week during outpatient treatment.

Group therapy: The addict meets with other addicts in a group setting, which is usually led by one or more licensed substance abuse therapists. The meetings allow attendees to share their thoughts with one another, helping one another overcome their substance abuse issues. This type of therapy tends to take place on a daily basis during an outpatient treatment program.

Life Skills: An addict will oftentimes lack certain life skills, such as the ability to cook, clean and carry out proper hygiene tasks. Life skills refreshes addicts on these essential must-haves.

Relapse prevention: Whether a patient is in treatment for the first time or the fourth time, relapse prevention is a crucial part of the treatment. Almost all addicts end up relapsing at least once in their life, and relapse prevention provides them with the knowledge they need to recover from the relapse. For those who have been in treatment more than once, relapse prevention services may be more intensive, meaning more in-depth.

Men’s group: This part of treatment is designed for men only, and allows male patients to come together for group therapy.

Women’s group: This part of treatment is designed for women only, and allows female patients to come together for group therapy.

Alcohol and drug education: Education is a vital part of outpatient treatment. It is through educational services that patients come to an understanding of their disease (addiction), followed then by learning how to cope with it. The tools acquired through substance abuse education have the potential to stay with a patient throughout the entirety of his or her life, helping the person to maintain sobriety.

Mental health therapy: For those suffering from one or more mental health conditions in addition to addiction, it is of the utmost importance to obtain mental health therapy. This type of service can be found through a wide range of dual diagnosis outpatient treatment centers. Common mental health conditions that are treated through a dual diagnosis center include: severe depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and personality issues.

Re-socialization skills: As an addict, a person is likely to isolate him or herself away from other people. To become successfully sober in recovery, it is important to reintegrate with society, which is why re-socialization skills are of the utmost importance.

Drug screening: A vital part of outpatient treatment is drug screening. It is important to keep in mind that just because a person fails a drug screening, this does not necessarily mean he or she will be kicked out of treatment; however, it does allow substance abuse therapists to gain an truthful insight into the drug usage of their patients. If patients are using drugs during treatment, drug screenings will inform the therapists of the problem.

What To Expect During Outpatient Treatment

The first thing that should be understood about outpatient treatment is that no two programs are exactly the same. Furthermore, no two addicts are the same, so the results of each program will significantly differ. There are many reasons as to why people start abusing drugs, and outpatient treatment will help identify these reasons, followed then by addressing them. By getting to the underlying problems, addicts can receive the help they need. Even though outpatient treatment programs do differ in the services and formats offered, there are several things that can be expected in general.

When first entering into the program, a person will take part in a general assessment; this assessment is usually administered by a licensed therapist, and it is used to assess the severity of the addiction(s) that a person has. After the assessment, it is then that a treatment plan will be developed. Sometimes, if deemed necessary, a therapist will recommend inpatient treatment before outpatient treatment can begin; however, it is up to a patient as to whether or not inpatient treatment is accepted. During the actual treatment, a patient will take part in an assortment of services; however, the treatment plan will be modified if drug use continues.

The Benefits of Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment most definitely has its benefits. Many people choose to take part in this type of treatment because it allows them to address their substance abuse issues while still going to school, taking care of children and/or attending to work-related duties. For those who work during the day, it is usually fairly simple to find an outpatient program that provides treatment during the evening hours. Other benefits of outpatient treatment include:

Easy scheduling: Those with daily obligations will enjoy the easy-scheduling that outpatient programs entail. For the most part, treatment services can be scheduled at any time of the day or evening.

Taking care of children: It is of the utmost importance that children receive the care they need when a parent or guardian is going through treatment. If possible, this care should be provided by the parent or guardian him or herself. Outpatient treatment allows for this care to take place.

Network support: Just as inpatient programs help addicts build a network of support, so do outpatient programs; this support is of the greatest importance when it comes to staying sober in recovery.

Application of skills learned: Outpatient treatment enables a person to immediately apply the skills and tools he or she learns directly to his or her life.

Getting the Most Out of Treatment

When a person really wants to overcome an addiction, it is imperative that he or she take treatment seriously. To do this, there are several tips that can be followed.

Picking the best facility: Even though no two treatment centers are the same, and though they cannot guarantee results, it is still important to put much research into choosing a facility. A good outpatient treatment program will be one that provides services through licensed medical professionals. It will also be one that provides, or at least connects its patients with detox services, leisure activities and more.

Being committed: If a person is not committed to a treatment program, there is little use in taking part in one. It is pertinent for a person to realize that recovery from an addiction is not an easy thing to accomplish, and much of the time a relapse will occur; however, successful recovery is possible, and it is something that must be committed to.

Avoid taking shortcuts: Treatment is not a time in which shortcuts are to be taken. Effective treatment comes through being truthful and honest with therapists. Also, a person should not think that treatment will be over in a certain amount of days. A good facility will only graduate a person from treatment once the therapists truly think the person is ready.

Knowing what to expect: Without knowing what to expect, outpatient treatment can be somewhat overwhelming. Although knowing what to expect won’t settle all of a person’s fears, it will be extremely helpful in making treatment more effective. If a person doesn’t know what to expect, it is important to ask a therapist during the first assessment that takes place upon entering into a treatment program.

Following all recommendations: The recommendations that are made by treatment therapists are not mere suggestions, rather they are what is believed to be best for a person. By following all recommendations, a person will be much more likely to overcome his or her substance abuse issues. Examples of recommendations that may be made in outpatient treatment include taking part in certain leisure activities, attending certain support groups and/or entering into an inpatient program.

Taking part in aftercare services: Even outpatient programs tend to recommend aftercare services. For the most part, aftercare services involve some type of continuing counseling, meaning a person will meet one-on-one with a licensed therapist on a regular basis, or possibly even take part in frequent group therapy sessions.

Knowing How to Choose the Best Program

Many people find choosing the best treatment facility to be somewhat of a difficult task. To ease the choosing process, certain questions can be asked and answered:

  • How much does the treatment cost?
  • Does the facility accept insurance?
  • Does the program provide a wide range of services?
  • If necessary, does the facility offer inpatient services?
  • Are the therapists and counselors licensed and/or certified?
  • How clean is the treatment facility?
  • Is communication with the facility easy to maintain?
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