For men and women with daily responsibilities and commitments, an outpatient level of addiction care is recommended.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse and want to get better but need to continue working, taking care of your family, or going to school, then an outpatient program is the solution for you. A less intensive form of addiction treatment, outpatient clients meet a few times per week for group counseling and individual therapy under the guidance and support of addiction professionals.

Inpatient treatment is not always the answer and you can heal your addiction just as effectively with outpatient therapy. It’s also a popular step-down level of care for those clients that have completed a partial hospitalization program and are continuing their treatment to ensure they have all the tools needed to avoid a relapse in the real world.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Drug and alcohol addiction can affect people from all walks of life. Some addictions lead to long-term battles that can only be won with the proper treatment.

Anyone who struggles with addiction and wants to get help can choose from different treatment options. Many people choose outpatient addiction treatment as a way to combat the addictive effects of drugs and alcohol and develop healthier behaviors.

Understanding Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Outpatient addiction treatment has been available as a treatment option for many years, but some people might still have misconceptions about how this treatment works. Anyone who struggles with addiction can review some of the key facts about outpatient addiction treatment to get a better idea of what this treatment involves and its benefits.

Definition of Outpatient Treatment

Unlike inpatient treatment, which involves living in a facility while receiving care, outpatient addiction treatment allows participants to still live at home and go about their daily lives. When a person participates in an outpatient treatment program, they will visit a treatment center at specific times to receive the care and support that they need as part of their treatment plan. Outpatient addiction treatment plan participants are then allowed to return home after each session.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outpatient Program

Severity of Addiction

Addiction often exists on a wide spectrum, and the degree of drug and alcohol dependency may be more or less severe for some people than others. Addiction can also lead to more physical and mental health struggles for certain individuals. Cases of severe, long-term addiction are often addressed better at inpatient treatment facilities, where patients can be monitored more closely and receive more intensive forms of treatment.

Support System at Home

Outpatient treatment usually works better for people who can get additional support at home from family and friends. If a person lives in an unsupportive or unsafe environment, inpatient treatment may be a more desirable alternative. Inpatient treatment might also work better for people who live alone and would not have access to regular support outside of their treatment sessions if they enrolled in outpatient therapy.

Work, School or Family Obligations

Even though outpatient treatment allows the freedom to live at home and tend to other important things in life, a participant may need to limit or modify certain aspects of their daily routine for the treatment to be successful. These changes might include shortening work or school hours and engaging in fewer social activities to try to ensure the best possible outcome from treatment.

Current Health Status

Any chronic health conditions should also be taken into consideration when deciding if outpatient addiction treatment is the best choice. Severe cases of diabetes, heart disease and other conditions that may or may not have been brought on by substance abuse may need additional medical treatments and closer monitoring at an inpatient facility or a hospital while a person undergoes rehabilitative treatment.

outpatient center florida
Outpatient Center Florida

Components of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

This treatment involves a multifaceted system to help ensure that each participant receives the most comprehensive care possible. This approach also gives participants access to more flexible treatment pathways that can be modified to suit each person’s needs the best.

Assessment and Individualized Treatment Planning

After an initial evaluation and assessment, a personalized treatment plan can be developed. This process usually involves asking the new participant questions and performing drug testing. Any physical or mental health conditions that could impact the treatment course will also be noted so that any modifications to the rehabilitation plan can be made.

Behavioral Therapies

One of the main components of treating addiction is addressing the behaviors that often lead a person to substance abuse. By replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones, addiction can be treated more thoroughly.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Addiction is often fueled by negative thoughts, and CBT is intended to help addiction sufferers target these thoughts so that the mind can formulate more positive ways of thinking. This form of psychotherapy involves discussing thoughts that influence unhealthy behaviors with a therapist. By reversing potentially harmful thoughts, better behaviors can be adopted.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Commonly used for people with borderline personality disorder, DBT also sometimes offers an effective way to treat addiction and is often part of outpatient treatment programs. This type of psychotherapy works to address some of the intense emotions that people with addictions often feel so that they can develop better coping strategies to manage these feelings more effectively. DBT also aims to help participants develop greater self-acceptance and the willingness to make positive changes in life to help combat the intense feelings that often lead to negative behaviors.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

This type of counseling can give outpatient addiction treatment program participants even more motivation to change for the better. People who might feel conflicted over changing their thoughts and behaviors or being in a treatment program in the first place may benefit greatly from MI.

Group and Family Support

When friends, family members and other supportive individuals are involved, an outpatient addiction treatment plan can have greater success. During therapy, work can be done to improve interpersonal relationships so that underlying personal issues that might be contributing to addictive behaviors can be addressed. Other participants in the program can also offer peer support and empathy to make the recovery process easier. Group therapy may even be offered for additional support.

Medication-assisted Treatment (MAT)

Some people experience withdrawal symptoms during the recovery process, and the unpleasant effects of coming off addictive substances may be especially intense for certain individuals. To better manage these symptoms, medications are often used in outpatient treatment programs.

People with opioid addictions often respond particularly well to MAT medications when dealing with withdrawal symptoms. However, these medications are sometimes not as beneficial when treating the effects of withdrawal from other substances, and alternative methods might be tried to make the recovery process easier.

Some of the most common MAT medicines include:

  • Methadone
  • Naltrexone
  • Buprenorphine

Use of these medications may also be continued for an extended period after the initial withdrawal symptoms have subsided. An addiction treatment specialist can advise on whether to prolong the use of any of these medicines.

Benefits of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Flexible and Accessible

People who participate in these programs still have the flexibility and freedom to tend to other important things in life. Work and school can still be attended when completing an outpatient addiction treatment program. The best treatment centers also strive to make their facilities easily accessible for everyone and can connect participants to additional local resources to aid in their recovery.

Involvement of Family and Friends

Cutting ties with friends and family members is not necessary during outpatient treatment. In fact, friends and family are encouraged to be part of the recovery process to offer more support to participants.


The top outpatient treatment centers strive to make their services as affordable as possible for people of all income levels. Outpatient addiction treatment is also usually less expensive than inpatient therapy. Many treatment providers additionally accept health insurance to try to lower the cost of treatment even more.

Integration of Real-world Experiences

Participants can learn new coping skills and how to apply them in everyday life to try to stay sober even when times are difficult. These skills are also intended to make the challenge of facing triggers that may lead to substance abuse easier. Participants are additionally encouraged to develop support systems outside of treatment to better their chances of beating their addictions.

Aftercare and Ongoing Support

Continuing Care and Therapy

When a person completes an outpatient program, they can still receive help to stay on track with their recovery. People who have successfully finished a program are still encouraged to visit the outpatient facility for regular check-ins so that their recovery process can be monitored. During these check-ins, additional therapy and other services are often provided to help participants stay sober. These check-ins also provide opportunities to make any adjustments to the aftercare plan to yield better results.

Support Groups

Outpatient addiction treatment participants can receive support from other people who also struggle with addiction by attending support groups. These groups allow participants to interact and connect with like-minded individuals and build local sober communities for extra support.

A support group may include a 12-step program, which utilizes a set of 12 principles to address different aspects of recovery. Some people describe 12-step programs as spiritual experiences that encourage attendees to rely on a higher power, but participants don’t have to be religious to attend and benefit from them.

The 12 steps usually include:

  • Honesty
  • Faith
  • Surrender
  • Soul searching
  • Integrity
  • Acceptance
  • Humility
  • Willingness
  • Forgiveness
  • Maintenance
  • Making contact
  • Service

Relapse Prevention Strategies

Even after successfully completing an outpatient addiction treatment plan, there could still be chances of relapse. To reduce these chances, personalized relapse prevention plans can be developed with the help of addiction specialists and other members of a participant’s support network. These plans may give participants ideas of what to do when they face temptations to abuse drugs or alcohol again and how to use different coping skills to prevent a relapse.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Outpatient Treatment Program

Facility Reputation

Any outpatient addiction treatment center that is considered should be accredited to ensure that it meets all health and safety standards. The staff members who manage these programs should also possess the necessary credentials and experience to treat participants.

Treatment Approaches and Philosophies

Not all treatment plans have the same approaches and philosophies. Each treatment facility and the programs that are offered should be evaluated carefully to ensure that what is being offered aligns with a person’s own principles and goals to improve the chances of success.

Insurance Coverage and Payment Options

Even though most reputable outpatient treatment centers accept insurance, it is still important to verify that a given treatment center accepts insurance and the type of plan that a participant has. This can save participants from having to pay the entire treatment cost out of pocket. Payment options may also be available to make paying for treatment easier.

Location and Accessibility

The location of the treatment facility should be within a reasonable distance of a participant’s home to avoid challenges with getting to and from the location. Non-drivers who attend these programs should also make sure that their chosen facility offers easy access to public transportation, taxi or rideshare services.

Participants who have mobility challenges should additionally try to find a facility with adequate accessibility features. These features may include wheelchair ramps, automatic doors and ground-floor offices.

Offering Hope for a Better Tomorrow

There are many benefits and components of attending an outpatient addiction treatment center. Each person should consider their individual needs and preferences to find the right treatment program that works for them. Everyone who struggles with addiction should feel encouraged to seek help and prioritize recovery.

Recreate Life Counseling provides outpatient addiction treatment services in Boynton Beach, FL, and personalized plans can be created to give each participant the individualized care they deserve. For more information about the benefits of outpatient treatment and how this treatment works, please contact Recreate Life Counseling today to speak to a friendly representative.


  • What is outpatient drug rehab? Outpatient drug rehab is a form of addiction
  • How does outpatient drug rehab work?
  • What types of outpatient drug rehab programs are available?
  • Who is a good candidate for outpatient drug rehab?
  • Is outpatient drug rehab as as inpatient rehab?
  • How long do outpatient drug rehab programs last?
  • What types of therapy are offered in outpatient drug rehab?
  • How much does outpatient drug rehab cost?
  • Can I continue working or attending school during outpatient drug rehab?
  • How do I find an outpatient drug rehab program near me?

Published on: 2019-04-09
Updated on: 2024-04-18