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Outpatient Rehab

What Is Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient rehab programs provide help for addiction recovery through scheduled treatment sessions. Clients in these programs typically live at home or stay in a sober home and attend sessions planned with their addiction recovery specialists. This arrangement allows clients to get professional help while maintaining their everyday routine and commitments.
Outpatient drug rehab programs regulated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Generally, outpatient rehab is beneficial to persons with mild drug dependency or persons whose addiction history is short. Nevertheless, clients who have completed detox, residential, or inpatient rehab can still benefit from outpatient drug rehab as continuing care.

What Are the Types of Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatments differ according to many factors, including the kind of substance abused, the patient's level of addiction, and the recovery stage. In many cases, life commitments also determine the type of outpatient treatment a person needs.

Day Programs

Day programs require clients to visit the outpatient center during the day for five to seven sessions per week. Each session lasts about five hours and involves activities like group therapy, individual counseling, or activities aimed at maintaining sobriety.
Recovery specialists also provide mental health education, medication management, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). This type of outpatient rehab is appropriate for clients who may have fewer responsibilities during the day.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are for clients who need increased support for addiction recovery. Treatment starts with sessions that last about 9 hours and eventually taper down as clients achieve measurable progress in sobriety.

Continuing Care

Continuing care is for clients who need professional support after completing a formal rehab program. Clients meet with their addiction recovery specialist weekly or biweekly for several months or years. This level of support gives clients independence, while the recovery specialist assumes the role of an accountability partner and advisor.

Benefits of Outpatient Rehab

As long as an individual is in the early stage of addiction or has a moderate addiction level, outpatient rehab is recommended. Fortunately, outpatient drug rehab has many benefits compared to an inpatient program.


The first factor people consider when contemplating rehab is the cost of rehab, and outpatient rehab may be an ideal option because of its affordability. Individuals are at liberty to leave when their programs or sessions are over. They do not have to pay for food, accommodation, and other convenience services.


Outpatient rehab is less restrictive and encourages flexibility. Outpatient programs can work around a person's schedule, whether they are students or workers. This benefits the working class, knowing they can deal with their addictions without risking employment and income. Students also have the freedom to attend their courses and programs in the evenings.

External Support Systems

Outpatient rehab provides many recreational activities that exercise the mind and help evade circumstances that may cause relapse. Furthermore, outpatient drug rehab allows individuals to see their family members and loved ones, whose support is needed through the journey.


Outpatient rehab offers more privacy than other rehab types, especially when sessions are private and individualized. Sessions are typically held in the evenings to allow clients to fulfill their daily schedule and get help privately.

Services Offered in Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment centers offer various services to suit clients' needs. Some of the essential services provided in outpatient treatment include:

Group Counseling and Therapy

Group counseling and therapy establish an environment that allows members to support and help each other. The interactions help participants hone communication and socialization skills that are useful in real life.

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling is one-on-one discussions between a licensed therapist or psychologist and the client. Apart from reducing or stopping the use of substances, individual counseling also addresses other related issues that have affected the client. It emphasizes behavioral goals and works on helping the patient develop strategies to recover and maintain abstinence.


Detox requires the person in recovery to stay in a facility for the duration of the process, often five to 14 days. Although outpatient programs do not typically provide detox support directly, many programs partner with centers where clients may complete detox before starting outpatient treatment.

12-Step Programs

In 12-step programs, participants embark on a sequence of twelve challenges. Each challenge or step aims to develop their confidence and self-awareness or change their beliefs and attitude about addiction.

Intensive Family Systemic Therapy

This service involves the whole family in the addiction recovery process, considering family members must have been affected somehow. Family members learn about how to support their loved ones in recovery as well as the necessary changes they may need to make to achieve this goal.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational interviewing is a therapeutic technique that seeks to strengthen the client's motivation and commitments through the recovery journey. The approach targets making the clients willing to make changes as they review reasons for opting for therapy.

Contingency Management (CM)

Contingency management is a form of positive reinforcement that involves rewarding clients as they improve and maintain abstinence. For instance, some programs give clients who pass drug screens redeemable vouchers for gym memberships or bookstores.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) addresses the connection between one's thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and addiction. CBT attempts to help individuals overcome their addiction problems by working on their thoughts and behaviors.

How Long Does Outpatient Rehab Last?

According to SAMHSA, the average time spent in outpatient drug rehab is six months. Generally, the time a person spends in outpatient rehab depends on several factors, such as the individual's needs, availability, and life commitments. Cost is another important factor that determines how long clients stay in outpatient rehab.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

Both inpatient and outpatient rehab have similar recovery outcomes in the long term. The choice of which rehab to enroll in depends on the person's circumstances and recommendations from a recovery specialist. The three significant differences between both programs are as follows:

Levels of Support

Inpatient rehab provides a high level of support and close monitoring for patients during their stay. On the other hand, clients in outpatient rehab take responsibility for their recovery outside recovery sessions. This difference makes inpatient rehab suitable for clients who need to recover in a controlled environment. In contrast, outpatient rehab fits persons who need a recovery program that works around their schedule.


On average, outpatient rehab costs are significantly less than inpatient rehab costs. This difference is because inpatient rehab programs take care of patients' food, accommodations, and other services to ensure a comfortable stay. Persons in outpatient rehab generally only pay for the cost of professional services received.


Inpatient rehab requires that patients stay in the facility for an extended period, which is impractical for persons who have to go to work, school, or raise a family. Outpatient rehab offers this flexibility, as sessions in the outpatient center are planned around the client's commitments.

Outpatient Rehab Near Me

Persons who need help finding outpatient rehab centers nearby may call the SAMHSA helpline at (800) 662-4357. Either way, this referral service is confidential.
Another way to find an outpatient rehab center is to use the SAMHSA treatment facility locator. The locator displays the location of the outpatient center as well as contact information, a list of various therapies, facilities, and payment options.