Outpatient Treatment

What Is Outpatient Treatment?

Addiction treatment facility professionals will usually discuss with patients and their families, the need for outpatient treatment.  You may have heard the terms extended treatment or sober living after completing the initial detox portion of a program.  The reason for this is results.  It has been shown that completing a full continuum of care helps patients remain clean after treatment.  Outpatient treatment is especially helpful for people who have been to many treatment centers for addiction and have repeatedly relapsed. There is benefit for everyone to participate in an extended care treatment program.  It may however, be particularly helpful for young adults and chronic relapsers.  It has been suggested that to get the true benefits of sobriety you need at least four to six months of treatment.  Outpatient treatment allows a patient to get the full array of treatment services for a longer period of time. Time is your friend in addiction treatment. The more time you invest in your sobriety, the better your chances are at staying clean.

Residential treatment generally has a detox element followed by a period of stabilization during which time one’s thoughts may begin to become much clearer. If you are in a 12-step residential program you will usually begin working on steps 1 and 2. During those steps you are starting to realize that you are powerless over the drug or alcohol and you are starting to see the effects it has had on your life.  Right when an addict is just beginning to think more clearly and become more grounded, residential detox treatment usually ends.  Outpatient treatment, aftercare & sober living, are important because it is where longer-term treatment begins. In these programs, people can work on the 12 steps.  It has been found that working on the 12 steps in a residential community over a period of several months allows patients to truly understand their disease and how to handle real-life struggles without using.

When someone in an outpatient treatment program faces difficulties, they can go back to their community and the counseling staff for support. This helps eliminate failure when tested. Young adults especially benefit from being part of a community and working the 12 steps while continuing to be educated about the addiction process and how to live a sober life.  Recovery takes time and it is difficult to retrain one’s thinking in only a few days.

There seems to be a rush to just get back to life as we know it. Too often those in recovery and their loved ones are desperate to believe they are cured. There is no cure, but with long-term treatment, you will have a better chance at sobriety. For many addicts, those that do not choose to continue treatment in an aftercare or outpatient treatment program will likely relapse within a few weeks or months of discharge from residential detox.

Outpatient treatment programs should provide a wide array of services such as, family sessions, group, and individual therapies, and wellness education that treats the mind, body, and spirit.  Consider individual outpatient programs that offer the same in-depth treatment as residential programs, but in a sober living type community with added freedoms.  While some may not be able to afford the full continuum of care, it is generally recommended that chronic relapsers receive as much treatment as possible.  When it comes to financing additional time in an addiction treatment program it may be necessary to draw on all family members and available resources. Addiction is a family illness and it takes a family to come together and pool resources to provide a loved one additional time in treatment.

Any additional time in treatment is significant for someone truly in need of recovery.  For example, it may take the average heroin addict several times in treatment before the cessation of using and recovery begins.  Even if it seems like an addict doesn’t get it the first time around, many times outpatient treatment is just the beginning of the path that leads to a lifetime of recovery from addiction.

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