Addiction recovery is a trying period in a person’s life. It can be an excruciating, stressful, and physically challenging process; therefore, a patient should receive all the help they can get to drive them towards the path to sobriety. One of the key elements to designing an effective treatment for the patients to ensure the best results is to cater to their needs for support, which is why the outpatient treatment program (OP) was developed.
OP offers the patients the opportunity to recover from the addiction at their own pace and on their own terms. Instead of having to be admitted into the hospital, the patient is allowed to go home and come in to receive treatment at the hospital on the designated dates. Outpatient programs focus on improving the mental state of each patient through the use of social support and behavioral adjustments. By allowing the patients more control over how they prefer to be treated, they will have a sense of control. This, in turn, reduces anxiety and depression, making the overall treatment more effective.
The flexible nature makes OP treatments less structured than their counterparts such as Partial Hospitalizations Programs (PHPs) and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs). This does not mean that one treatment is more effective than the other. It depends on each patient and their conditions. The medical staff will determine the best treatment course for each specific patient.
The key difference between the OP treatment plan and inpatient therapy is that outpatients do not have to be monitored on-site for 24 hours a day at a rehab center. Instead, they have the freedom to come and go as they please. If they are not free to come to the hospital at a certain time, they can ask to reschedule their appointment to a time that better suits their needs. If they feel as if they need additional help, on the other hand, they can contact the hospital to set up extra therapeutic sessions. This allows the patients to continue with their lives without having to worry about the rehabilitation program taking them away from the life they want to lead.
WHO BENEFITS FROM OUTPATIENT PROGRAMS?
● Patients who are in the early stages of addiction with mild substance abuse use disorder.
● Patients who are looking to continue their follow-up treatment after leaving residential or inpatient treatment.
● Patients who have a supportive group of friends, family, and relatives.
● Patients who cannot afford inpatient treatment.
● Patients who are self-motivated and willing to make changes in their lives, allowing them to be committed to their recovery goals and keep a strict schedule.
Most adolescent drug abuse treatment is done through outpatient programs. When combined with other treatments such as therapy sessions, group consultations, and medications, the treatment can be highly effective.
WHAT SERVICES DO OUTPATIENTS RECEIVE?
An outpatient is required to come in for at least 6 to 20 hours per week, depending on the severity of their condition. Those who have mild withdrawal symptoms with a low possibility of relapse may only be subjected to one to two sessions per week. On the other hand, patients with severe psychological disorders and self-harming or destructive tendencies may require additional sessions and more hours throughout the week.
Listed below are the practices that are used in most OP plans, which will be chosen and adapted to fit with each patient more personally:
● Substance abuse education
● Cravings and triggers management
● Mental health treatment
● Therapy (individual and group)
● Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
● 12-step program
● Transitional living facility referrals (including sober living homes)
● Relapse prevention training
THERE ARE STILL TIMEFRAMES TO FOLLOW IN AN OUTPATIENT PROGRAM
Although the OP treatment is often more flexible than the alternative, it does not mean that there are no rules, regulations, or boundaries. The patient will still have to complete the program within an allocated amount of time in order to be deemed ready for reintegration. Additionally, the safety and well-being of the patients and family members are of the utmost importance, which means that if the patients are being abusive at home, their OP treatment plan will be taken away. As mentioned, the treatment requires a high level of social support — if the patient does not have this available to them, they may not be eligible for the outpatient treatment program.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN INTENSIVE OUTPATIENT PROGRAMS AND REGULAR OS
Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) are a variation of the OP but are known to be more and rigorous compared to regular outpatient programs. Patients undergoing IOPs will receive the same treatment as inpatients during the allocated times in blocks but will be unable to rearrange their time slots as OP patients can. Additionally, the patients in IOPs will have to complete the full treatment hours before they can apply for a reassessment.