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What To Expect During Outpatient Drug Rehab

When an individual participates in outpatient treatment, they receive help for their substance abuse problems but are still able to attend to daily responsibilities such as work, school, and family commitments. Although patients are not under strict supervision 24/7, an outpatient drug rehab program can be a very effective way to treat drug and alcohol use disorders.

While each outpatient program provides various services, many include medication-assisted detox, individual and family counseling, and different types of therapies and support groups. A comprehensive treatment plan addresses the needs of the whole person, rather than just the disease. This approach offers the greatest chance for overcoming triggers and achieving long-term abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

What is Outpatient Drug Rehab?

Outpatient drug rehab centers assist people to overcome dangerous drug using or drinking behavior and also learn how to identify triggers and prevent relapse. Many outpatient programs meet daily for the first several weeks or months. Eventually, the number of meetings per week decrease based on how far along a person has come in their recovery program.

Participation in an outpatient drug rehab program can be daunting for some, especially when entering treatment for the first time. During outpatient drug rehab programs, several services are offered to clients from beginning to end.

The most common stages of outpatient drug treatment are listed below.

STAGE 1: Evaluation and Intake

An initial intake assessment or evaluation is conducted prior to a person entering an outpatient drug program. During the assessment, an addiction specialist ascertains the severity of a person’s addiction and may also diagnose co-existing mental disorders, if applicable. An evaluation usually requires some combination of medical history, physical exam, and drug testing. This initial information helps medical staff develop a plan, which is then observed and updated throughout the course of treatment.

Some alcoholics and drug users may need to go through withdrawal under medical supervision before beginning an outpatient program. A medical detox can offer alcoholics and addicts a safe environment, and health care staff can work together to make the withdrawal process more comfortable and intervene in the event of a medical emergency.

STAGE 2: Therapy and Treatment Approaches

1. Individual Talk Therapy

Psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, are the foundation of most outpatient drug rehab programs. Individuals enrolled in rehab will almost always be required to participate in individual counseling sessions as well as group therapy sessions either daily or weekly. Participation in family therapy and self-help support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), is also highly encouraged.

2. Medications

Some drug users and alcoholics respond well to pharmacotherapy or the use of medication employed to treat their addictions. Various medications indicated to treat substance use disorders can minimize cravings, reduce withdrawal symptoms, or block the effects of drugs or alcohol upon exposure.

3. Education

Understanding the impact of psychoactive substances on the body and how they affect the brain can help people perceive addiction as less mysterious and glamorous. Because of this, most outpatient drug programs provide educational sessions to their clients. During these sessions, recovering addicts and alcoholics will learn about the disease model of addiction as well as methods they can use to overcome it.

4. Support Services

Outpatient drug rehab programs usually offer a number of supportive services to recovering addicts/alcoholics, both throughout and following rehab. For example, they may conduct group therapy sessions, help with vocational or educational objectives, or even assist low-income individuals to find ways to pay for substance abuse treatment.

5. Holistic Practices and Therapies

Research has shown that certain holistic practices can help improve outcomes after both inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment. These include a variety of therapies that are different than talk therapy – they are based in other ways of expressing oneself and include but are not limited to art, music, and gardening therapy.

Also, mind-body connection disciplines such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and exercise have been shown to benefit and help people manage cravings and stay active throughout recovery.

STAGE 3: Aftercare Planning

Aftercare planning is essential for a successful reentry into the community and the prevention of relapse. It helps people apply the lessons learned in treatment to their own lives. Before you complete treatment, you will be asked to design a relapse prevention plan, and connect with outside peer support groups. Also, you will most likely be encouraged to return to the program for regular group and individual counseling sessions.

What To Expect Following The Program

Although a great start, completing an outpatient drug rehab program is only just the beginning. Recovery is a lifelong process, and certain steps should be taken after rehab to guarantee success.

Upon completion of an outpatient rehab program, recovering substance abusers will often work with an addiction specialist to devise an exit plan. This plan usually includes details about where the person will reside and work, what he or she can do to avoid relapse, and what types of treatments in which they should continue to participate.

How To Help Someone In An Outpatient Drug Rehab Program

Outpatient drug rehab is not like inpatient rehab, where clients reside in a facility during treatment. Rather, they are free to come and go as they please. For this reason, visiting someone in an outpatient alcohol program isn’t often necessary. Outpatient rehab programs do encourage the participation of loved ones during the recovery process, however, and this is why many rehab centers permit loved ones to sit in on educational group sessions.

Family members and friends may also be urged to participate in family counseling with recovering addicts and alcoholics. This engagement helps them improve their understanding of alcoholism and drug addiction, as well as help support the person in recovery during this challenging process.

Can You Leave Outpatient Programs Before Completion?

Outpatient rehab is entirely voluntary, and no one is obligated to participate, which means that any person is free to leave a rehab program before completion. Medical professionals and addiction specialists, however, strongly discourage this for several reasons.

Recovering substance abusers who don’t complete treatment have not learned everything they could, and are not always able to deal with life’s stressors and the temptations of addiction. Therefore, they are much more likely to experience a relapse.

Some addicts and alcoholics, however, are ordered by a court to complete an outpatient treatment program. This is often the result of a person being charged with or convicted of an alcohol or drug-related crime, such as a DUI or possession of an illegal substance. If the person does not complete the outpatient rehab program, they could incur greater legal and financial consequences, such as hefty fines or incarceration.

Outpatient Drug Rehab Program Expectations

Starting an outpatient drug rehab program can be frightening for many people. Knowing what to expect, however, can make the process a little less daunting and gives clients the opportunity to ask questions and address concerns.

If you or a loved one has an alcohol or drug problem and want to know more about outpatient programs, please contact us as soon as possible and find out how we can help! You can regain your sanity and restore joy, wellness, and harmony to your life!

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