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Apex Recovery Blog

How Does Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Work?

a circle of people in therapy

If you’re trapped in a vicious cycle of drinking, regret, and drinking some more, it’s difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel. What you need to know is that 20 million people across the country┬áhave already found recovery.

These are people just like you. They come from all walks of life, and they haven’t all attended an intensive inpatient rehabilitation program. 

If you can’t take any more time off work or family responsibilities to focus on your recovery, there is another way. Outpatient alcohol treatment is perfect for you. 

Read our outpatient alcohol treatment guide for a better understanding of how to get the help you need.

What Is Outpatient Alcohol Treatment?

Outpatient alcohol treatment is an effective way to deal with addiction without having to put your life on hold. You can continue working and see to your other responsibilities when you attend one of these programs.

Alcoholics Anonymous, the world’s best-known solution for recovering alcoholics, is a type of outpatient treatment. This just shows how effective outpatient programs are.

Since a 12-step program doesn’t suit everyone, there are many more comprehensive programs available, too.

When you engage in an outpatient program, you need to commit to attending therapy for a certain number of hours per day or week. It all depends on how much help you need. 

You don’t need to overnight at the treatment center, and you’ll still get support while undergoing withdrawals. 

Types of Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

One of the most important outpatient alcohol treatment tips is to discuss your treatment needs with your doctor or an addiction specialist first. Choosing the wrong treatment type can lead to frustration and relapse. 

These are the different types of outpatient treatment options:

Partial Hospitalization Programs

This is the most intense type of outpatient treatment. It typically involves four to six hours of treatment per day for three to five days a week.

The average duration of a PHP is three to six weeks. Each day closely mimics the routine of inpatient rehab, except you get to go home in the evenings. 

You’ll receive a high level of support during your treatment. This includes individual, family, and group therapy, medical services, and medical management.

Some PHPs offer drug screening as well as employment and educational assistance.

These programs are best suited to people who:

  • Need a high level of care
  • Can remain sober outside a rehab center
  • Have completed an inpatient program but fear relapse 
  • Struggle to motivate themselves in a less intense program
  • Have a co-occurring disorder like depression
  • Aren’t progressing in an IOP

A strong support system is vital when attending outpatient treatment. If you live in an environment where you might easily relapse, a PHP is better for you. 

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

IOPs involve visiting the treatment center three to five days a week for three to four hours at a time. Some programs offer evening sessions.

At the outset, a therapist assesses the patient’s needs and makes recommendations for therapy based on the results. 

Treatment options include group, family, and individual therapy and medical management if necessary. Some sessions may revolve around addiction education, relapse prevention, and skill building.

Intensive outpatient treatment facilities rarely offer detox care. If you need to go through this process, they will refer you to a detox facility before commencing treatment.

IOPs typically last 90 days. Some groups offer specialized programs targeted at specific people like trauma sufferers, veterans, or LGBTQ+ people. 

Groups may also focus on specific types of clients, such as veterans, women, men, LGBTQ+, or trauma survivors.

Standard Outpatient Programs

These are the least severe treatment options. They involve group and individual therapy sessions held once or twice a week.

You should attend these sessions for as long as you want to remain sober. They help you renew your commitment each week while spending time with other recovering addicts.

Standard programs are best suited to those who have already completed inpatient treatment. They may also work for individuals who don’t have well-established drinking behavior. 

These programs don’t offer medical assistance. They will recommend a facility to help you get through detox. 

Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Explained

When you sign up for outpatient alcohol treatment, you don’t stay at the same level of treatment forever. As your mental and physical well-being improves, the treatment becomes less intense.

If you relapse, you will likely need to take a step back to a higher level of care.

Most outpatient programs aim to treat the whole person, and not just their alcoholism.

Many alcoholics have other deep-rooted issues underlying their drinking problems. Therapy sessions help the patient discover these hidden triggers and come to terms with them.

Ongoing support, counseling, and practical advice for living in recovery are some major benefits of outpatient rehabilitation treatment. 

If you’re struggling with severe long-term alcoholism, outpatient recovery might not suit you. 

Outpatient rehab requires a level of discipline that is out of reach for those with deeply entrenched drinking habits. In these cases, inpatient treatment is usually a better fit. 

The most important thing to remember is that recovery is a lifetime commitment. If you don’t continue with therapy after achieving sobriety, you might find it difficult to resist relapsing. 

Take the First Step Toward Sobriety Today

Understanding outpatient alcohol treatment and how it may work for you is only a small step toward living a better life. Signing up for an outpatient rehab is a giant leap in the right direction.

Outpatient programs are the best option for those who can’t afford the time or money for an inpatient rehab program. That doesn’t mean it’s a second-rate option, though.

At Apex Recovery, we will tailor-make a treatment program to suit your unique needs. Reach out to discuss our outpatient alcohol treatment options when you’re ready to start living life to the fullest.

Call Our Toll-Free Hotline 24/7 at 877.881.2689