What is Outpatient Rehab?

Friday, November 9, 2018 | By Chris Clancy

The United States is home to hundreds of thousands who are fighting for their sanity against drug and alcohol addiction. Several years ago, addiction was kept in the shadows and many people who needed help did not seek it. Luckily much of the stigma behind treating addiction has been lifted and more treatment options have opened across the country.

There are many different types of drug rehab with varying levels of intensity. One of the most popular forms of rehab comes in outpatient rehab. Let’s learn more outpatient rehab including what it is, differences between outpatient and inpatient rehab, and who outpatient rehab is right for.

Outpatient rehab is a form of addiction treatment that does not require the patient to stay in any overnight facility or residential treatment program. Outpatient therapy utilizes several forms or treatment, therapy, and clinically-proven techniques to help addicts and alcoholics recover from immediate addiction and set themselves up for long-term sobriety.

Differences Between Outpatient and Inpatient Rehab

There are several differences in outpatient and inpatient rehab, but the most significant difference is residential vs non-residential treatment. In inpatient therapy, you are checked into a residential medical facility where you will stay anywhere from a few days to several weeks. In outpatient therapy, you can go home to your family or work once your treatment session is over.

Inpatient rehab often involves a detox process and further medical monitoring while the user recovers from acute withdrawal. All inpatient treatment centers are medical facilities and are equipped to deal with the medical side of rehabilitation. Outpatient programs do not typically involve medical professionals but rather licensed counselors and other addiction treatment professionals. Outpatient therapy can be held anywhere.

Who is Outpatient Right For?

Outpatient rehab is designed for addicts and alcoholics that know they need intensive help in treating their addiction but cannot or will not check into a residential treatment facility. Though inpatient therapy is more intense not everyone has the time, energy, or resources to spend several days in an inpatient facility and not every addict requires a residential treatment program to achieve positive results.

Outpatient is simply one level of rehab. Like you’d take one Advil for a light headache and three for a severe one – different people require different strengths of treatment. Many addicts and alcoholics try outpatient therapy first before deciding if they need a more intense form of rehab.

A licensed addiction counselor along with your intuition, friends, and family can help determine if outpatient therapy is the right type of treatment for you.

Are There Different Types of Outpatient Rehab?

Everyone’s addiction is different so there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment to addiction and that includes outpatient programs. An outpatient program may meet once a week for two hours while another program may meet three times a week for four hours. What type of outpatient rehab you choose depends on your needs, your addiction, and other factors. A licensed counselor can help you determine what type of outpatient rehab program would work for you or where you should start.

outpatient treatment group

What to Expect from Outpatient Rehab

Every outpatient program is different but there are techniques, therapies, and other lessons you can expect from any established outpatient rehab program.

Therapy and Counseling in Outpatient Rehab

Therapy and counseling are a significant portion of outpatient rehab. Fellowship, sharing issues, and talking about things you wouldn’t normally talk about help you take steps outside of yourself and into recovery. There are a few popular types of counseling you should expect at any outpatient rehab including group therapy and one-on-one with a certified counselor.

Tools and Techniques in Outpatient Rehab

One of the most important parts of outpatient rehab is learning tools and techniques to set yourself up for long-term sobriety. Relapse prevention and other techniques will help you learn how to cope with urges and the struggles of everyday life without turning back to your drug of choice. You will learn behavioral therapies, self-psychology techniques, ways to change your thought processes, and much more. You need to be as armed as you can against relapse which outpatient rehab focuses on.

Outpatient rehab also spends time on tools and techniques that aren’t traditionally thought of as sobriety techniques but can go a long way to help you as an individual. This includes how diet and exercise can help, how to try meditating, what types of hobbies might help keep you on the straight and narrow – even relationship advice. This holistic approach is one of the most effective in treating not just the addiction but the person too.


Understanding your addiction and how it plays out in the body is an important part of recovery. If you don’t know what’s going on inside your body, how can you be expected to fix the issue? Education about drugs, addiction, and related fields is an integral part of the recovery process. You can expect lessons on how different drugs work, how they affect your body, how addiction progresses, and more. They say knowledge is power so the more knowledge you have the more likely you can fight back.

If Outpatient Therapy Sounds Right for You

If outpatient rehab sounds right for you or a loved one, it’s time to get started immediately. Every day an addiction goes untreated is another day the addiction could take a nasty turn. Simply head online or call our outpatient rehab clinic to figure out what types of outpatient rehab are offered and what would work best for you.

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