Exploring an outpatient treatment program for addiction

Exploring an Outpatient Treatment Program for Addiction

Have you been contemplating seeking treatment for a substance use disorder but can’t go to an inpatient detox or rehab? Consider an outpatient treatment program for addiction.

Treatment centers recognize not everyone that needs help during early recovery can spend weeks away from home at an inpatient program. They also recognize there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan. Fortunately, you can now receive inpatient services on an outpatient basis, with a treatment plan customized based on your individual needs.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment Program

Inpatient programs require that you stay at their facility for the length of your treatment.

Additionally, you have 24/7 access to medical staff who can address withdrawal symptoms when necessary. During the day, you attend individual and group therapies and other therapeutic activities to help you maintain recovery.

With outpatient programs, you live at home but attend individual and group therapies on a schedule that fits your daily obligations. The different types of outpatient programs are detailed below.

Partial-Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Partial-hospitalization program (PHP) is an intensive, structured outpatient program. You get between five and six hours of treatment, five days a week.

Furthermore, individual therapy typically occurs twice a week, while group therapies happen daily. Additional benefits include family therapy and 12 Step facilitation groups. Also, you can participate in holistic and alternative treatments that are chosen according to your preferences and needs.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs are more flexible in scheduling than PHPs. The goal is to provide you with fifteen to twenty hours of therapy each week. Some people attend five days a week for three hours each day. Others attend three days a week for five or six hours each day. Your treatment plan will be based on your personal, professional, and social responsibilities outside the program and how you can make a recovery a priority.

Individual Intensive Program (IIP)

Not all treatment facilities have individual intensive programs, but the ones that do understand there is a need for an intensive program that bridges the gap between PHPs and inpatient hospitals. Individual intensive programs offer supportive housing at night at a different location than the treatment center. Each day you travel to the main facility to attend individual and group therapies.

Step-Down Stages

IIPs often operate in step-down stages. Stage one closely resembles a PHP, and stage two is like an IOP in the number of hours spent in individual and group therapies. Stage three consists of an hour a day of individual counseling and six hours a week of group work.

One significant difference in IIPs is that you are given weekly mentoring hours, with the number of hours increasing as you progress through the stages.

Behavioral Therapies in All Three Outpatient Treatment Programs

Whether you choose PHP, IOP, or IIP, you can access the same treatments. Only the number of hours you spend in those treatments is different. Behavioral therapies are primary, evidence-based services to help you understand why you have a substance use disorder, learn early recovery and relapse prevention skills, and work with your family so they can support your recovery.

Behavioral therapies often utilized in outpatient programs include the following:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is based on the theory that what you think influences how you feel and behave. CBT teaches you how to recognize and replace negative thoughts with positive ones, leading to healthier behaviors.

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

Co-occurring disorder treatment is provided for those with a substance use and mental health disorder. Addressing both issues at the same time is essential in avoiding a relapse. Otherwise, one illness could be a reason for relapsing.

Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy is a form of CBT but with a mindfulness-based practice to help you become more aware and present in addressing the needs of your mind, body, and spirit.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a therapy that uses eye movements to confront trauma memories, process and store the memories appropriately, and move forward.

Alternative and Holistic Therapies in All Three Outpatient Treatment Programs

Hundreds of alternative and holistic therapies exist within treatment programs across the nation. The center where you receive services may differ from those in a different county or state. Therapies that seem more common today are integrative approaches to treating the whole person. Integrative therapy aims to heal the mind, body, and spirit simultaneously.

Below are examples of alternative and holistic therapies.

Trauma-Informed Yoga (TIY)

Experiencing trauma can be devastating and leave long-term effects on the mind, body, or spirit. Traumas are known to create a division between these life areas. Trauma-informed yoga brings them all back together so you can be fully present at the moment and address past traumas.


Drug and alcohol misuse change how the brain functions. It changes how the brain signals the rest of the body to respond in various situations. It forces electrical signaling in the brain to be out of balance. Neurofeedback tells you where to focus when improving emotional regulation and rebalancing electrical impulses.

Animal-Assisted Therapies

At one time, only equine therapy existed as a treatment to enhance self-esteem, build relationships, become aware of emotions, problem-solve, and communicate through nonverbal actions. Today there are multiple animal therapies, including canines, felines, dolphins, and others.

Creative Therapies

For many years, finding ways to express your emotions creatively has been implemented in substance abuse treatment. Only now, there are many more options. Some benefit most from journaling about their thoughts and feelings, while others choose painting, drawing, or crafting. Additional forms of creative therapy include art, music, dance, movement, drama, and writing. Under each of those categories are hundreds of techniques you can try, such as listening to or reading lyrics, writing poetry, cultural dance and movement, or acting out your emotions.

Start an Outpatient Treatment Program Today

Whether you have gambling, sex, technology, alcohol, or any other type of addiction, outpatient treatment programs can help. By reaching out to an outpatient treatment center, you can learn which kind of program will benefit you the most. Don’t wait to start your life without a dependence on drugs or alcohol. Start today.