What is Outpatient Drug Rehab?


Outpatient alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation takes place when a person does not live in a facility for treatment, but comes to a facility for classes, visits with specialists or group meetings. Outpatient drug rehabilitation centers are more long-term and patients can attend programs for as long as they need to. A variety of techniques and program intensity levels are used to achieve this goal.

Intensive day or evening treatment, referred to as Intensive Outpatient Programs or IOP’s, and offered from 9–15 hours a week. These programs can be as effective as live-in treatment facilities, and is ideal for people that are working, attending school, and have a strong support system at home. However, severe addictions may require inpatient and/or more intense treatment, such as a Partial Hospitalization Program or PHP. Also described as Day Treatment, these programs provide additional specialist services and are offered from 20–40 hours a week for a period of time.

Most outpatient  addiction treatment programs are still fairly intense, however. But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, some outpatient programs offer only education and some counseling. These types of outpatient programs can be a perfect fit for people who do not have severe addictions.

Outpatient programs, like live-in residential programs often include an analysis of the individual to discover the underlying problems that may be contributing to substance abuse, chronic relapse, mental health problems or destructive behaviors. After evaluation, an individual will then be given a plan based on their history of use and the type of drug abuse. For example, some people may be experiencing difficult relationship problems, are physically dependent on both alcohol and prescription drugs, have a history of depression, trauma  or chronic pain that requires ongoing psychotherapy.

There are many services available to those undergoing outpatient drug rehabilitation. Examples of these include: behavioral counseling, medical health attention, job searching help, support groups, psychiatrist meetings, educational classes on drugs and alcohol and how they affect a person, and regular visits with a counselor to discuss progress and revise the plan if it is not working.

Frequently, outpatient services are suggested for people after they undergo a live-in (inpatient) treatment. Through outpatient services, most individuals are able to begin working their way back into the community, work and family, but still have the support of those who counseled and helped them while they were in rehabilitation. However outpatient services are used, the main goal of outpatient services is to help the individual achieve a life that does not depend on drugs or alcohol.

Here are Some Helpful Resources:

How do you know when your or someone you love needs treatment to get free from prescription drug dependence?
          Take the Substance Abuse Self-Assessment Test HERE.

          Learn more about Lasting Recovery’s Intensive Outpatient Program HERE.


Lasting Recovery co-founder Judy Saalinger reads: A Letter To My Family


Lasting Recovery is San Diego’s premier outpatient drug and alcohol treatment center, run by co-founder Judy Saalinger.sfn_logo-drop