Is Outpatient Treatment an Effective Means of Rehabilitation?

Addiction is an extremely powerful disease that takes hold of someone’s life completely. The addict suffers from both an overwhelming psychological obsession and physical craving that cause the individual to make using substances the number one priority in life. Many addicts were kind, loving and caring individuals before their addictions took control of their lives. Some addicts may have had difficulties in their lives prior to their addictions, but found ease and comfort in mind-altering substances. No matter how a person’s addiction originated, the individual’s life eventually becomes unmanageable. The addict continues to use because he’s unable to conceive a life worth living without drugs or alcohol.

Although addiction can feel like a hopeless situation, recovery is possible. If you have a loved one who’s suffering from addiction and wants help, it’s important to know what type of treatment is best suited for the individual. When you’re researching the different types of treatment options, the information can seem overwhelming and you may not be sure which one to choose. The most common forms of rehabilitation are inpatient and outpatient treatment, which serve their purposes depending on the severity of addiction. Inpatient treatment generally is for more severe forms of addiction and for those who suffer from chronic relapse, whereas outpatient works best for individuals with less severe symptoms of addiction as well as younger people.

Before choosing a treatment center, you should always speak to an addiction specialist who has experience and credibility. The specialist will most likely use the American Society of Addiction Medicine Criteria to help recommend inpatient or outpatient recovery programs. ASAM has created an evaluation that gauges the severity of a person’s addiction based on some of the following criteria: withdrawal potential, biomedical conditions, mental health, history of relapse and living environment.

What Is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient programs are designed for people who are in the early stages of addiction. This doesn’t mean that the addiction is less dangerous, but the person will benefit more from continuing normal day-to-day life while attending treatment. Patients of an outpatient center will attend individual and group therapy multiple times a week for weeks or months, depending on how well the individual does in recovery. The person will be surrounded by other recovering addicts to whom he can relate due to shared experiences and the unmanageability of life that addiction causes.

Individual therapy helps the addict discover his specific reasons for using. He may find that he was genetically predisposed to addiction before he ever started drinking or using due to the disease running in the family. Others will learn that they’ve used as a way to self-medicate and find an escape from the stresses of everyday life. A therapist can help uncover if the person has an undiagnosed mental illness that may have been fueling the addiction and help treat the dual diagnosis, which is extremely important for relapse prevention.

In group therapy, the recovering addict will be with other addicts who are undergoing similar processes. One of the most important parts of recovery is understanding that the addict isn’t alone and can find similarities between himself and other addicts, which leads to a sense of hope. The addict will be educated about the disease of addiction and learn that he has an illness from which he can recover when he uses the recovery tools received in treatment. Addicts often develop selfish and self-centered behaviors that prohibit them from communicating with others in healthy ways – but they’ll learn how to do this in treatment, which will help them in their daily lives and personal relationships.

Who Benefits From Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment is best suited for addicts suffering from lesser forms of addiction and younger individuals. It’s important that the addict is surrounded by people of like age who’ve had similar experiences, as recovery can be hindered when mixed with addicts who’ve been using for many years. Those who are still in the early stages of addiction typically haven’t experienced situations like losing a job or family because of using substances.
Studies have shown that addicts with lesser forms of addiction can be affected negatively by being mixed with addicts who have more severe symptoms. Those who’ve used harder drugs for many years and are stuck in a cycle of chronic relapse can spark curiosity, or even reservations in addicts who haven’t been using for as long. This is especially true with younger people because they’re naturally curious and believe they’re impermeable to negative consequences of addiction. They may hear stories of harder drugs the other addicts have used and believe they need to try the new drugs before they get sober. It’s also common for young people to see older individuals who are newly sober and believe they can continue to use for many years before they have to quit.

Finding Outpatient Programs

Aside from consulting an addiction specialist to find recommendations for outpatient treatment programs, there are other options you can employ to conduct more research for yourself. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration is a branch of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that has directories to aid you in finding a treatment center. There was also a bill passed that requires insurance carriers to provide options for treatment as well to help cover the expense of rehabilitation. Through the SAMSHA website, you can find information about treatment centers along with additional resources, like grants and other forms of assistance, which can help you get your loved one into a credible treatment center so he can receive the best help possible.

If you’d like more information about recovery from addiction and the benefits of outpatient treatment centers, please call our helpline today at 800-447-9081.

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