Sometimes, it’s best for people with addictions to step away from the hectic pace of life and deal with their concerns on a comprehensive basis. Enrolling in a residential drug rehab program where people live in the facility where they receive care could be a good option, as it allows people to really focus and heal. There are some people, however, who are just as capable of healing when they continue to live at home. In fact, it might be ideal for some people to stay home while they combat their addictions. An outpatient program might be a better choice for people like this, and there are many different types of facilities that can provide this care for people in need.
Outpatient drug rehab programs offer clients an amazing amount of options. Often, programs differ due to the intensity of the treatments they provide to their clients.
At one end of the spectrum, some programs provide care in a series of appointments, asking clients to head in for treatments on a weekly basis. This could be an ideal type of care for people who have already been through an intensive form of treatment and who need only a few sessions of follow-up care in order to stay successful. Those who need a little more help, however, might need to enroll in programs that provide a few more hours of care each week.
Intensive outpatient programs might be a good choice for people like this, as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggests that these programs require people to attend to treatment almost every day. Some programs provide care for six hours each week, but some even ask clients to participate in treatments for 30 hours each week. These people are still living at home and attending to their daily activities and home responsibilities, but they are getting a significant amount of treatment for their very real addictions.
Those who need even more care might benefit from day hospitalization programs. People who participate in this type of care are still living outside of the treatment facility, but they might check in for care each morning and stay within the walls of the facility for the entire day. They’re devoting a significant amount of time to their fight against addiction, similar to the amount of time spent by people who are enrolled in residential care, but they’re technically enrolled in an outpatient program, as they don’t live on the grounds of the facility where they’re getting care.
The types of treatments provided in outpatient programs can vary dramatically, as some programs just have more time available to spend with clients, and as a result, they have many more options at their disposal. But typically, therapy that’s provided by a licensed medical professional forms the cornerstone of an outpatient drug rehab program. These clinical experts design a program based on the needs of clients in their care, and they work hard to ensure that the therapies each client receives are just the sorts of therapies they’ll need in order to be happy and healthy.
Sometimes, clients need to work with therapists in intense, one-on-one sessions that address one specific problem that’s individualized to that person.
This can be an appropriate form of care for people who have underlying mental illnesses such as:
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
There are times, however, when people learn best while in the company of others. Group sessions allow people with addictions to meet one another and learn from one another, and a therapist has the opportunity to treat many people at the same time. For efficiency’s sake, a group session might be ideal. Clients can also reap big benefits when they work in group formats like this. For example, in a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, researchers found that group therapy was helpful for people who had both bipolar disorders and addictions. These people typically fare poorly in a standard treatment program for addiction, but something about the group format seemed to bring out the best in these people.
In addition to therapy, outpatient programs might provide clients with courses in Eastern medicine. Learning how to meditate or how to get in touch with the feelings of the body could be ideal as people learn how to keep their difficulties in check. Some programs even provide clients with exercise- or adventure-based therapies that can allow them to move outside of the treatment room and learn new skills that had eluded them in the past. These add-on treatments aren’t available everywhere, of course, but they could be part of what comprehensive programs provide.
Clients might also be encouraged to join up with community resources, such as:
- Employment agencies
- Colleges and universities
- Housing assistance programs
These additional appointments can allow people to amend the collateral damage an addiction can cause, and they might allow people to develop a more robust sense of control over their addictions.
While spending time in therapy and working with associated community programs could be vital for people struggling with addiction, the facilities that house these therapies tend to close at night, and they might not have services available on the weekends. People with addictions, on the other hand, might have needs around the clock, and the evenings and weekends might be the times in which they’re highly tempted to revert to their old ways. That’s why outpatient programs encourage clients to participate in self-help groups like Narcotics Anonymous. These groups can provide a continuum of care that might help people to get through the rough times that strike when their facilities aren’t open.
A self-help group like Narcotics Anonymous isn’t staffed by professional counselors, and the assistance provided here doesn’t count as therapy. But there’s no denying the value of spending time in a program like this. On a regular basis, participants have the opportunity to listen to other speak about addiction in formal meetings. These gatherings tend to take up time that the person once spent on using, and they do have a social component that some people find appealing. Additionally, these programs encourage people to form partnerships. One person is a senior member, with months of sobriety, while another is new to the journey. When times are tough, the mentor can provide guidance that can keep the novice from making a mistake. Sometimes, that means listening, but it can also involve coaching and teaching.
In addition to participating in a self-help support group, some people find the help of their family members and friends to be invaluable as they recover. They can lean on their ties to help them deal with their daily tasks, and they can call upon these loving contacts to provide a distraction or a sense of support when times are tough. Even families that haven’t always been close can find a kind of healing in outpatient care. These families might participate in group sessions with the addicted person, and they may learn more about how to talk with one another and share with one another. They’ll be connected and able to function beautifully as a group.
Making It Work
An outpatient program can provide amazing help to people in need, but there are some steps people must take in order to ensure their success.
Good ideas include:
- Keeping all appointments as scheduled
- Staying enrolled in the program for at least a month
- Utilizing support groups and community resources as much as possible
- Asking for changes to the treatment program as skills and needs change
- Staying open and honest in all treatment sessions
Leaning on peers is also an excellent way to ensure that the outpatient work takes hold. For example, in a study in the American Journal on Addictions, researchers found that the support networks people had in the one year that followed treatment were more predictive of sobriety success than almost any other factor studied. People just need their peers for support, and the stronger those connections are, the more healing might take place.
Families of addicted people might know this all too well, and that might be the driving factor that keeps them looking for care that can help. They’re willing to do their part, but they need a formal program to round out the treatment picture. If this sounds familiar to you, please call us at Black Bear Lodge. We’re accustomed to talking to families in need about the complexities of addiction care, and we’d be happy to help you understand your options and the steps that you must take to make it all come together. Please call us to find out more.