Addictions aren’t mild and minor issues that can be handled with a quick visit to the doctor’s office. They’re serious and ongoing problems that can eventually wreak havoc on a person’s mental health, emotional stability and interpersonal skills. While some families may choose to investigate inpatient treatment facilities to help the people they love, hoping that the in-depth help provided will allow for a full recovery, outpatient addiction care might be a viable option for some people who are working toward sobriety. By accessing this model of care, they can continue to live at home while fighting against their addiction. Outpatient care might also be a reasonable choice for someone who has completed an inpatient program and needs a bit more help in order to keep destructive urges under control.
This article will outline how outpatient programs work, and why they might be vital tools to use in a fight against addiction. If you have questions about this care after you’ve read this article, please call us. We can help you find an expert who would be willing to explain your treatment options and help you find the program that’s just right for you.
Varied Forms of Care
Addiction care isn’t provided on a one-size-fits all basis. In fact, multiple studies have demonstrated that customized care has the best chance of helping people to overcome an addiction. For example, in a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers found that those patients who were provided with “matching” services that took into account their employment status, family health or mental health status stayed in treatment longer, and they were more likely to complete their treatment programs, when compared to people who didn’t get matching care. Those who did get matching care also had better treatment results than those who did not. It’s clear, from studies like this, that customization is key, and outpatient programs attempt to meet that need by varying the treatment programs they use for their patients.
In a standard outpatient treatment program, people have one or two group therapy meetings each week, and those sessions might be held in the evenings or on weekends so people can continue to go to work. Some standard programs also provide one-on-one counseling sessions, and they might even provide family therapy sessions.
This might be an appropriate level of care for people who:
Have completed an inpatient program
Are motivated to stop abusing drugs or alcohol
Can lean on close family members and friends
Are employed and can’t take time off work
Intensive outpatient treatment programs typically provide a more advanced level of care, requiring people to spend up to 20 hours or more each week in therapy. Some programs even require people to obtain help each and every day in the treatment facility. These so-called “day hospitals” allow people to return home at night, but the intensity of care provided is quite similar to the levels seen in residential treatment programs for addiction. All day, each day, people are asked to work on their addictions in these programs.
The therapy sessions provided in an outpatient addiction program can be key to long-term sobriety, but often, people need to utilize other forms of help before they can make a full recovery from an addiction issue. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 12-step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can be vital for some people as they hone their recovery skills. Outpatient addiction programs try to encourage participation in these programs by providing clients with a list of suitable meetings held in the community, and clients are asked to discuss their meetings in their counseling sessions. Sometimes, people need to try out several different meetings before they find a group they can relate to, and therapists can assist with this exploration process. Therapists can also help clients to understand what the programs are meant to do, and how they might fit into a long-term addiction recovery package.Therapists might also ask their clients to tap into community resources regarding:
These outreach programs allow people to repair the damage that’s been done during the course of the addiction, and they’re allowed to learn more about how to interact with people outside of the addiction therapy field. It can be vital for people to make these connections, as they’ll need them in order to live on their own when their therapy programs are over. Outpatient programs can help to get that conversation started.
Those who use outpatient programs as part of a step-down process from inpatient care might need a little extra prompting in order to succeed. As a study in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found, relapse in the first few months after the completion of an addiction treatment program is common, and sometimes, people leave their inpatient programs and become resistant to the idea of participating in outpatient care. They may think they’ve learned everything they’ll need to know in order to handle their addictions, and they may simply want to move forward with their lives without having to check in with some outside authority about their addiction progress.
Family members can help by continuing to encourage the person to participate in care, driving them to appointments as needed and encouraging all progress they make in their sobriety fight, but therapists might also use specific techniques to ensure that their clients stay engaged. They might provide prizes to people who attend all their appointments as scheduled, for example, and therapists might call their clients between appointments, to make sure they’re planning to attend. Therapists might also use motivational enhancement therapy techniques with their clients, allowing them to truly understand why these people want to use substances, and why they might be swayed to think differently about their substance use and misuse.
A study in the journal Health Services Research found that timely addiction treatments have become more common since the 1990s, making it more likely that people can get the care they’ll need when they need it, but sometimes, people find that they must wait before they can enroll in an outpatient program. There are some facilities that accept patients who can’t afford to pay on their own, for example, and these options can be quite popular and hard to get into. Some parts of the country also seem to have a dearth of addiction treatment options available, and the waiting list for outpatient care in these areas might also be slightly longer than most families would care to see. Looking around and exploring multiple options might be of benefit to families who are in this predicament. Another facility located nearby might be able to step in and help if the original choice doesn’t have an open space at the moment.
Interventionists can also help families to make an informed choice about their addiction treatment facility. These experts often develop close ties with treatment organizations, and they may even tour all of the options available for addiction care, so they may be able to either help families find a program that can help, or they might be able to help the family get enrolled in a program they’ve chosen. If you’d like to find an interventionist like this, just call us. We can help you find the right partner who can help you reach out to assist the person you love.