Outpatient Programs & Rehab Centers
Outpatient rehab for drug and alcohol misuse gives individuals the flexibility to attend treatment while continuing to live at home or in a sober living facility. Outpatient rehab may be a good option for individuals who have responsibilities that can’t be put on hold for an extended period, such as attending school or work or caring for family members.1
In 2021, nearly 2 million received treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) at an outpatient rehab facility.2 This page will help you learn more about outpatient rehab, including:
- What outpatient rehab is.
- Types of outpatient rehab.
- Who may benefit from outpatient rehab.
- Paying for outpatient rehab.
- How to find an outpatient rehab program.
What Is Outpatient Rehab?
Outpatient rehab programs provide drug and alcohol misuse treatment at a program site, but patients live at home or in a sober living facility. Outpatient rehab programs can take place in several places, such as:1
- Health clinics.
- Community mental health clinics.
- Counselor’s offices.
- Hospital clinics.
- Local health department offices.
- Residential programs with outpatient clinics.
Outpatient rehab programs often meet in the evenings and on weekends, which allows patients to tend to responsibilities at home, school, or work.
Types of Outpatient Rehab
Outpatient rehab programs vary in duration and intensity, ranging from a few hours per week to several hours per day. Outpatient rehab can be a “step down” from more intensive care such as an inpatient rehab program.
Common levels of outpatient care include:1, 3
- Standard outpatient: This is the least intensive setting and often involves 1-2 treatment sessions per week for 1-2 hours at a time. Patients typically meet with a therapist in a clinic or office location.
- Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs): IOPs often require patients to attend up to 20 hours of treatment weekly and generally last between 2 months to 1 year.
- Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs): Also called “day treatment,” PHPs often take place in hospitals or free-standing clinics with patients attending treatment for 4 to 8 hours per day. PHPs generally last for at least 3 months.
What to Expect In an Outpatient Rehab Program
Outpatient drug rehab programs vary. However, patients can expect a combination of therapies and other services, including:4
- Behavioral counseling and therapy.
- Evaluation and treatment for co-occurring disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression).
- Substance use monitoring.
- Case and clinical management.
- Long-term continuing care focused on relapse prevention.
Who Can Benefit from Outpatient Rehab?
Not everyone who needs treatment for drug or alcohol misuse needs 24/7 care in an inpatient facility. Some individuals may find that outpatient care provides them with the support and treatment they need to work toward recovery. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. However, outpatient rehab may be beneficial for individuals who:1, 3
- Have less severe addictions.
- Do not have co-occurring disorders.
- Have a safe, stable home environment.
- Have supportive family and friends.
- Have reliable transportation to and from treatment.
Do I Need a Higher Level of Care?
While outpatient rehab may be beneficial for some individuals, is not the right choice for everyone. Some individuals may benefit from receiving a higher level of care in an inpatient setting before entering outpatient rehab. Inpatient drug and alcohol addiction rehabs provide care and supervision around the clock for patients who live on the premises for the duration of the program.
People who may benefit from inpatient rehab include:1
- Those with severe addictions.
- Those with polydrug addictions.
- Those with co-occurring mental health disorders.
- Those with special medical concerns or considerations.
- Those with a high risk of violence or suicide.
- Those without reliable transportation to the facility.
- Those without the ability to provide informed consent.
Everyone has different needs, and it can be difficult to know what rehab program is right for you. Having an honest and open conversation with your doctor or therapist can be a good place to start.
Paying for An Outpatient Treatment Program
It is important to consider the cost of the program you are looking into. In many cases, outpatient rehab programs are less expensive than inpatient rehab programs. However, cost still plays an important role in choosing a program.
Under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), insurance companies are required to provide substance misuse treatment services to the same extent that they do medical and surgical services.5
If you have insurance, you will likely receive at least partial, if not full coverage for a drug and alcohol addiction treatment program. Insurance typically covers what is deemed “medically necessary,” which is why it is important to get a professional evaluation if you are considering entering a recovery program. Your doctor or therapist can diagnose you with a substance use disorder (SUD) and provide you with the proper documentation to submit to your insurance provider.
If you don’t have insurance or only receive partial coverage, there are several ways that you can finance your treatment and receive the help you need to get clean and sober. Some examples of payment options include:
- Sliding scale fees, in which rehabs charge you what you can reasonably afford.
- Payment plans, in which rehabs allow you to pay for treatment in manageable installments.
- Purchasing affordable insurance on the healthcare marketplace.
- Taking out a healthcare loan or opening a healthcare credit card.
- Using crowdfunding options, such as GoFundMe.
- Using your savings.
Verify Your Insurance Benefits for Outpatient Rehab
Learn what your insurance benefit may cover by filling out the form below. It’s confidential and free, and there is no obligation to enter treatment.
Choosing an Outpatient Rehab
As you search for the best rehab program for you, several factors can be helpful to keep in mind, such as:6
- The type of care offered at the facility.
- The location.
- Its accreditation.
- Whether the facility uses evidence-based practices.
- Whether the facility offers medication.
- Whether the facility includes family members in the treatment process.
- Specialized services, if needed (e.g., services geared toward certain populations like veterans).
- Your insurance coverage.
Finding the right treatment program can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If you need help, American Addiction Centers (AAC) is available 24/7 to provide information, resources, and support when you contact AAC at . It’s confidential and free, and there is no obligation to enter an outpatient rehab program. You can also easily verify your insurance online and determine the right option for you or use our rehab directory to find a treatment center.
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