What is Substance Abuse Outpatient Treatment?

Malysa Stratton Louk
Malysa Stratton Louk
Outpatient services help addicts recover from prescription drug abuse.
Outpatient services help addicts recover from prescription drug abuse.

Substance abuse outpatient treatment is designed for people who suffer from drug or alcohol abuse but do not require hospitalization for recovery. Outpatient services help addicts recover from alcoholism, abuse of narcotics, prescription drug abuse and other legal or illegal substances. Services often include group and individual therapy sessions, medical evaluations, support groups and on-going recovery services. Outpatient treatment, as opposed to inpatient or residential treatment, allows patients to remain in their own home, often continuing to work or go to school, and participate in the community as they work toward recovery.

Drug abuse may start with medications prescribed by doctors.
Drug abuse may start with medications prescribed by doctors.

There are different types of substance abuse outpatient treatment centers and programs, each with its own focus and set of requirements. Some treatment programs address multiple substance types, while other focus primarily on narcotics or alcoholism. Time commitments vary from center to center. While some programs require an evaluation, create a treatment plan and offer weekly counseling, other programs require intensive daily education and therapy sessions.

Outpatient treatment is suitable for those deemed by medical professionals not to require hospitalization.
Outpatient treatment is suitable for those deemed by medical professionals not to require hospitalization.

Choosing the right substance abuse outpatient treatment program is as important as making the decision to get help. Some treatment programs are faith-based or follow the traditional 12-step approach to treatment. Other treatment centers focus on hypnosis or other alternative treatment methods. Some outpatient treatment programs for substance abuse take a more holistic approach, incorporating many different methods of treatment. The more options available, the better the chance of finding one that fits the needs of the patient on the road to recovery.

Outpatient treatment may be needed for those battle issues with alcoholism.
Outpatient treatment may be needed for those battle issues with alcoholism.

Regardless of the treatment method and time commitments involved, all substance abuse treatment centers share a common goal — to provide patients with the resources necessary to fully combat addiction after they leave treatment. Reputable outpatient services will offer a variety of support options that include a detailed, individualized treatment plan; individual and group support; and education and methods for living a substance-free lifestyle. Many programs also offer on-call or after-hours telephone support.

Substance abuse outpatient treatment usually includes individual therapy sessions.
Substance abuse outpatient treatment usually includes individual therapy sessions.

Substance abuse outpatient treatment isn’t for everyone. Patients who have minor addictions to one substance, are committed to treatment, are able to avoid outside temptations, and are willing to put in the time and effort will usually benefit from outpatient treatment. People with severe or multiple addictions, or who are unable to make progress without 24-hour support, may find a short- or long-term inpatient treatment center a better option. Deciding between inpatient and outpatient treatment, as well as deciding on a specific outpatient treatment program, can be stressful. A patient who is unsure about which type of treatment option is best for his situation should consult his doctor or a counselor for a recommendation.

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    • Outpatient services help addicts recover from prescription drug abuse.
      Outpatient services help addicts recover from prescription drug abuse.
    • Drug abuse may start with medications prescribed by doctors.
      Drug abuse may start with medications prescribed by doctors.
    • Outpatient treatment is suitable for those deemed by medical professionals not to require hospitalization.
      Outpatient treatment is suitable for those deemed by medical professionals not to require hospitalization.
    • Outpatient treatment may be needed for those battle issues with alcoholism.
      Outpatient treatment may be needed for those battle issues with alcoholism.
    • Substance abuse outpatient treatment usually includes individual therapy sessions.
      Substance abuse outpatient treatment usually includes individual therapy sessions.