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What Is Outpatient Rehab For Alcohol Addiction?

Outpatient rehab is one effective approach to treating alcoholism or an addiction to alcohol. An outpatient rehab program involves therapy, medication, support groups, and relapse-prevention training during the day, after which the patient returns home in the evening. However, outpatient rehab generally does not involve alcohol detox.

Unlike inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab does not require a patient to live full-time at a treatment facility. With outpatient rehab, you can engage with a treatment program on your own schedule. While you make progress toward sobriety, you will be able to continue living at home with your family. If you work a full-time job, you will not have to take a leave of absence and fall behind on your career. If you’re a student, you will not have to leave school and delay your graduation. Outpatient rehab is a possible solution for people who need treatment for alcoholism and cannot break away from their daily responsibilities.

The Different Types Of Outpatient Rehab

One or more types of outpatient rehab may be appropriate for you. You might even benefit from all three levels of outpatient care, possibly after finishing detox and an inpatient rehab program.

Day Treatment/Partial Hospitalization

Outpatient day treatment requires the greatest time commitment of all three types of outpatient rehab. As the name suggests, you will have to go to the treatment center five to seven days every week and stay there for as many as six hours each day. This level of care is sometimes called partial hospitalization because you may begin treatment in a hospital or hospital-like setting. Under the supervision of medical professionals, partial hospitalization patients start a regimen of anti-addiction medications and begin therapy, but they go home at the end of the day. For people with mild to moderate alcohol use disorders (AUD), partial hospitalization may suffice as an alternative for inpatient rehab and detox. After day treatment is finished, you may progress to an intensive outpatient program.

Intensive Outpatient Rehab

Intensive outpatient programs operate at least three days every week. Sessions last anywhere from two to four hours, and patients can schedule them around work and classes. During a typical intensive outpatient rehab session, you will receive counseling, attend 12-step meetings, and learn more about how to handle cravings for alcohol. An intensive outpatient program will begin with creating a treatment plan. As you progress through your treatment plan by reaching sobriety milestones, you will start to attend fewer group sessions until you are completely ready to leave the program.

Continuing Care

After intensive treatment, you can move on to continuing care, the final stage in a complete cycle of outpatient rehab. In fact, continuing care mostly coincides with recovery, the process of staying sober in post-treatment life. Continuing care involves joining a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, which can help you cope with new challenges and stay connected to a community of fellow recovering alcoholics. Continuing care may also mean regularly discussing your progress with a counselor. A rehab center should be able to refer you to a local support group and an experienced therapist. Continuing care also often involves individual and group sessions each week.

What Are the Benefits Of Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient rehab has become more popular in recent years. The most obvious benefit of outpatient rehab is flexibility and life balance. Instead of living at a treatment facility for several weeks or months, you can schedule your rehab sessions and continue your normal routine. You can also continue to see your family throughout the treatment process.

Furthermore, outpatient rehab can be more affordable than inpatient rehab since neither you nor your insurance provider will have to pay room and board costs. Additionally, because outpatient rehab never entirely separates you from the alcohol-infused world, you will have an opportunity to practice what you learn in recovery in everyday, real-world situations. Likewise, if issues arise from stress in your living situation, outpatient rehab offers a place to discuss and get feedback and suggestions on how to handle real-world stressors.

Is Outpatient Rehab Right For You?

Although outpatient rehab is beneficial and convenient, it also calls for more accountability on the part of the patient. During inpatient rehab, a person loses access to alcohol at all hours of the day. This guarantees those essential first weeks of sobriety. By contrast, outpatient rehab is not 24/7 treatment, so the opportunity to relapse will exist after each session ends.

For this reason, outpatient rehab is not ideal for people who have severe/heavy alcohol addictions. If your doctor or counselor determines that your AUD is drastic and that your alcohol withdrawal symptoms could be life-threatening, inpatient rehab would be a better option for you. However, if your AUD is mild and you’re confident you could stay sober between rehab sessions, outpatient rehab might be an options for you.

Additionally, outpatient rehab can be more successful if you live in a stable, supportive home where other people encourage you to stay sober, hold you accountable to your recovery goals, and even participate in therapy with you. While you’re engaged in outpatient rehab, your family should discard the alcohol supply in your home and commit to never bringing more alcohol into the house. If your family does not support your recovery, you will more likely continue drinking. No rehab program will be effective if you cannot find a place to live where you will be able to consistently practice sobriety.

How To Choose A Program

There are many options for outpatient rehab, and it may be difficult to determine which one is right for you. As you research treatment centers, consider these questions.

  • Does the center offer treatment for alcohol addiction?
  • Does the center offer outpatient rehab? If so, what levels of outpatient rehab does the center offer?
  • How flexible is the rehab schedule? For example, does the center offer rehab in the evenings? Days? Weekends?
  • Are family members allowed to participate in therapy sessions? Is there a family component?
  • Does the center have valid licensing and accreditation?
  • Does the center accept my insurance coverage?
  • Do treatment professionals and former patients recommend this center?

Get Help Today

If you or someone you love is struggling with an AUD, outpatient rehab might be the answer. Contact a treatment provider today to learn more about your options for outpatient rehab and get answers to your questions about how to start.

  • Author: Nathaniel Yerby | Last Updated: June 2, 2022

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    Nathaniel Yerby

    Digital Content Analyst

    Nathaniel Yerby is a writer and researcher. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

  • Medical Reviewer: Deborah Montross Nagel

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