Outpatient Not Optional: 5 Benefits of Outpatient Treatment for Substance Use

Once you’ve completed the difficult task of acknowledging that you require professional treatment for your substance use disorder, another mountain lies ahead: investigating and enrolling in an effective treatment program. While long-lasting recovery from addiction is possible, not all substance use programs are created equal.

Those who are struggling with substance abuse often find that the obstacle of obtaining proper treatment complicates the journey to recovery. Even those genuinely committed to working towards recovery face a plethora of barriers to accessing high-quality care, including scheduling concerns, financial challenges, distance from facilities, and familial support.

What’s more, it can be challenging to pinpoint the level of care that’s right for you. While some patients may benefit from receiving care at a residential or partial hospitalization facility, others may thrive in an intensive outpatient or outpatient program.

Many recovery advocates take a three-pronged approach to treatment. For example, the Clean Recovery program is divided into three phases, including a preparation phase, action phase, and maintenance phase, all of which require participation in outpatient treatment.

If you’re ready to take the following steps towards freedom but are still evaluating which direction you ought to head in, consider these benefits of outpatient treatment for substance abuse.

Outpatient care offers increased flexibility

If you’re highly concerned about the time commitment required for participation in residential treatment, you’re not alone. Many patients struggling with addiction cite time commitment and scheduling concerns as the most distressing barrier to obtaining treatment. Luckily, outpatient care may offer you and your schedule the flexibility that you need.

While most residential and partial hospitalization programs require patients to reside on-site, outpatient programs allow clients to come and go as they please. Depending on the severity of your diagnosis, the facility may ask you to attend outpatient sessions weekly or multiple times per week. Regardless of your treatment schedule, outpatient options allow your work and home life to remain relatively undisrupted while you obtain care.

You can remain connected with your support system

Many inpatient or residential rehabilitation centers heavily regulate patients’ contact with the outside world to limit potentially unhealthy or distracting interactions. Since confiscating cell phones and restricting access to computers is expected during the inpatient admission process, familial and social interactions become limited.

Taking up temporary residence at a facility far from home can make some patients feel isolated or chronically lonely. 

For some, the removal of social distractions or toxic relationships contributes positively to their treatment outcome. However, if you derive strength and motivation from healthy communication with your inner circle, choosing outpatient treatment will ensure that access to communication tools like your cell phone or the internet is never compromised over the course of your treatment.

You’ll have access to individualized care

While most inpatient rehabilitation facilities heavily utilize group therapy models, outpatient therapy clinics prioritize one-on-one therapy. Your substance abuse therapist can flexibly and creatively individualize care to your specific needs, and you likely won’t find yourself in as many situations that you feel violate your privacy standards.

With a smaller caseload and more time to focus on your unique needs, your therapist can more easily foster a positive connection with you – a critical aspect of successful treatment. When you have access to personalized plans and uninterrupted attention, you’ll be more likely to reap the benefits of therapy.

Treatment is more affordable

Inpatient facilities require payment for accommodations such as lodging, food, medical care, and therapy sessions. As such, your bill for non-outpatient rehab can cost tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket. Outpatient approaches utilize smaller staff sizes and less costly resources, so they tend to be significantly more budget-friendly.

If you’re concerned about paying the cost of your treatment in one large payment, you’re in luck. Most outpatient facilities allow clients to pay per visit rather than requiring large deposits or upfront payments. Moreover, insurance companies are more likely to cover a fraction of the cost of outpatient treatment than they are to foot the bill for residential rehab.

Your environment remains consistent

Processing the host of emotions that accompany pursuing a sober lifestyle and committing to professional addiction treatment is no simple task. As your mind and body prepare to embark on a significant journey, you may feel concerned about uprooting your location and routine.

Patients at inpatient rehabilitation facilities sleep onsite and typically share bedrooms, meals, and recreational activities with the other individuals going through the program.

Outpatient clients, however, can enjoy the stability of a consistent home, work, and personal life while attending therapeutic sessions during the week.

In conclusion

The journey to addiction recovery is one that frequently feels long, complex, and winding. Once you find your perfect treatment match, you’ll be on your way to securing healing and long-lasting freedom from addiction.

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