Types of Outpatient Treatment


outpatient treatment typesAddiction treatment programs are sometimes portrayed in black-and-white terms, giving people the impression that all outpatient programs are exactly the same, with similar staffing levels, identical treatment philosophies and cookie-cutter treatments. The truth is that outpatient treatment programs can vary in ways both large and small. These are just a few of the many different types of outpatient treatment programs available.

Day Hospitalization

Outpatient programs allow people to continue to live at home while they work on their addiction issues, but the time people are required to spend in treatment each and every week can vary dramatically. Day hospitalization programs require the highest time commitment, as people who participate in programs like this are expected to spend the majority of each and every day inside the walls of a treatment center.

While they’re in the facility, they access:

Programs like this are considered ideal for people who have severe cases of addiction and a low level of resistance to relapse. The structure and supervision they get in a day hospitalization program provides them with few opportunities to stray from the treatment plan, and the help they get here can allow them to build the tools they’ll need to stay sober on their own, when the treatment program has been completed.

In a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers found that clients could succeed in a program like this, but they would need to participate in self-help support groups when the program was complete in order to attain the highest level of benefit. In other words, day hospitalization can be meaningful, but it’s just one part of the care people need in order to really heal from an addiction. When this program is complete, people need to transition into other forms of outpatient care, so they can continue to work on their original addiction issue.

intensive outpatientIntensive Outpatient Treatment

Walking inside the walls of a treatment facility and staying there all day long is one way to provide intensive help for an addiction, but it’s not the only way for people to handle a serious problem in a comprehensive manner. In fact, intensive outpatient programs provide a similar level of help, but the amount of time people are required to spend involved in care within the treatment facility might be dramatically reduced. People are still learning, and they’re still healing, but they might be able to hold down jobs, care for children and handle life’s details at the same time.

An intensive outpatient program might require clients to spend several hours each week in therapy sessions, but those sessions might be scheduled during the weekend hours or in the evenings, allowing people to continue with life as usual in the interim. Programs like this might also connect people with community programs that can assist with housing, education, employment and more. Clients might be required to keep appointments with these providers as part of their treatment plan, and these appointments might be held at somewhat inconvenient times. The help programs like this can provide can be well worth the effort, however, as they can help people to build up healthy, happy, productive lives in which they won’t be tempted to abuse drugs.

Studies of this kind of care suggest that people who complete these programs improve in a variety of different ways. For example, in a study in the journal Psychiatric Services, researchers found that cocaine-dependent people who completed a program like this had fewer problems with drugs, higher levels of employment and fewer mental health issues when compared to people who stopped treatment early. These are similar outcomes found with other types of care, the researchers point out, but they’re still the kind of results most people with addiction would like to see as they fight back against the problems they face.

Low Impact Care

outpatient treatmentNot everyone who has an addiction needs intensive, all-encompassing help. Sometimes, people with addictions have strong families and strong coping skills, but they’ve just started down the wrong path due to a significant life stress or a series of poor choices. People like this might need only a brief intervention in order to help them get back on track and leave their substance use and abuse behind. Low-impact counseling sessions, held just a few times per week for a few months at a time, could provide the answer for people like this.

In a study of the issue, published in the American Journal on Addictions, researchers found that brief counseling combined with medication management could help people with alcohol problems to reduce the amount they drank. Just this little nudge seemed to be all these people needed in order to make better choices and move forward with their lives.

Counseling sessions like this might also be part of the care provided to people who begin working on their addictions in intensive programs. As they grow stronger in sobriety and their skills grow and grow, they may find that they need just a few touchup sessions now and then in order to maintain their gains and preserve their sobriety. Low-impact care can provide this kind of help.

Targeted Care for Specialized Markets

Any of the programs mentioned in this article can be tweaked and amended to meet the needs of specific addicted people, including:

  • Parents
  • Professionals
  • Adolescents
  • Gay/lesbian people
  • Women
  • Veterans

Programs might also provide amendments for people who prefer alternative/holistic care, blending eastern philosophies with more traditional modes of care. Programs might also focus on serving the needs of specific cultural groups or religious groups. Tailored programs like this might be slightly harder to find, as they are suited best for a rather small group of people, but programs like this might be best for specific sets of addicted people with specialized needs.

Starting a Search

There are well over 11,000 substance abuse treatment facilities and programs listed in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration database, and many more individual treatment counselors hold their own therapy sessions in private offices all across the country. This wealth of options can be cause for celebration, as it’s likely that addicted people will be able to find the help they need when so many choices are available, but it can also be a little daunting to think about sifting through all of these treatment providers and finding the right one to help a specific person. We can help. Please call us to find out more about Foundations Recovery Network outpatient addiction programs. We can help you find the right program to help the person you love.