If you have pneumonia, you seek treatment for it. If you have cancer, you seek treatment for it. If you break your leg in a skiing accident on Mt. Hood because you love the adrenaline of going really fast, you seek treatment.
I think you get my point. If you have a disease, you seek treatment for it. Well, addiction just so happens to be a disease, and it just so happens to be a disease that people often need treatment for. Unfortunately, it’s a disease lots of people don’t feel comfortable seeking treatment for. On top of that, addiction is an especially insidious disease, as it constantly tries to convince us that we don’t have it.
This is where drug and alcohol treatment comes into the picture. Oftentimes, entering an inpatient or outpatient program is the best option for someone deep in their addiction. Inpatient and outpatient can give you a good chance to get off drugs/alcohol safely, confront emotions for the first time, get a crash course in the 12 steps, and begin to find sober friends.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of outpatient treatment for drugs and alcohol.
What is Outpatient Treatment?
First we need to add a clear definition of outpatient and how it differs from inpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment is the classic image of “going into rehab” we all have. It involves checking yourself into a rehab clinic and living there for anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months, where you have scheduled individual and group therapy sessions, recovery-based meetings every day, (usually) a wellness hour for exercise, among other activities. Along with those, you also have meals provided and 24-hour medical and emotional support. Oftentimes, these programs involve a detox period
Outpatient treatment doesn’t require overnight stays, usually involving 10 to 12 hours a week visiting a treatment center. In general, IOP sessions focus on education, individual and group counseling, and activities/sessions to teach addicts/alcoholics how to cope without drugs/alcohol.
One such place to seek IOP treatment is, well, the website you’re currently reading this article on. We are just one example of an Intensive Outpatient Program. Our gender-specific transitions programs offer:
- Individual therapy provided, supervised or facilitated by a licensed professional.
- A minimum of 10 Hours of weekly group therapy sessions.
- 3-6 month intensive program with a minimum 3-month verbal commitment.
- Modeling and guidance in developing and maintaining basic life skills.
- Establishment of an effective long-term recovery plan, including peer support, identifying triggers, recognizing and addressing signs of relapse, mandatory sponsorship, and regular support group attendance.
- Employment and/or Education assistance preparing for employment or school, including assistance with resumes, interview skills and/or assistance with scholastic processes and continued education. For those who are not working or in school, we require service as a community volunteer.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Problem Solving, Family Therapy, Mindfulness, Relapse Prevention, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).
- Regular outings to scenic places local to the Pacific Northwest.
- Emphasis on a connection between physical fitness and positive mental health.
- Employment or income savings program to ensure the client has a healthy financial base when leaving treatment.
We also offer sober living facilities and if it is determined that detox is a necessary safety precaution, our sister company, Pacific Crest Trail Detox, is a detox facility.
Our programs give you a solid foothold in recovery, helping you learn new coping skills that don’t involve drugs or alcohol, introducing you to AA/NA, and helping you build a community of sober people around yourself. Our program also allows you to get and/or maintain employment, giving you financial security as well.
The Benefits of Outpatient Treatment
Whether you need inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment varies from person to person. Each one has its specific benefits, and each one has specific people it would work best for. Outpatient treatment may be chosen for any of the following reasons:
Not only is outpatient treatment less expensive than inpatient treatment, but you can still earn income while in outpatient. Sometimes, we can’t afford to miss a full month of work, IOP allows you to get past that hurdle.
Oftentimes moving to a different location for a time simply isn’t an option. Going to a local outpatient treatment program also allows you to be around your family and build a support system in the place you currently live.
Work & School Flexibility
You don’t need to take time away from work or school when you do an outpatient program. The schedule of these programs is generally very flexible, which is always a plus.
Integrating Sobriety Into Your Daily Life
Outpatient treatment allows you to function on something similar to your normal work/school/family schedule, giving you an easier time integrating your recovery into your daily life.
Unfortunately, addiction and mental health issues are often looked down upon by members of society. Fitting treatment into your daily schedule gives you more privacy, as you don’t have to take a lengthy leave of absence from work/school.
Building a Sober Community
IOP can let you start to build up a group of sober friends around yourself. During my years in the program, I’ve seen many people become friends via outpatient programs. The camaraderie of the rooms is a crucial part of AA/NA, and IOP can help with that.
Outpatient Treatment May Not Be Right for You (And That’s Okay!)
It’s important to mention that outpatient treatment isn’t the right choice for everyone. As I said in the beginning, different addicts/alcoholics have different needs, and whichever program is a good fit really depends on the person. Some people need a more comprehensive program. Some reasons include:
Triggers in the home environment
Oftentimes our home environments are just like us internally: chaotic, unstable, and full of potential triggers. Getting away from this environment can often be necessary to truly establish ourselves in recovery. That doesn’t mean leaving home forever, that just means leaving an establishing a firm foothold in the program before taking any risks.
Multiple Disorders at once
Dual-Diagnosis is a very common thing among addicts/alcohols. Oftentimes, our addiction is merely a symptom or coping mechanism that we stubbornly refuse to give up on. More mental help can do wonders for these types of situations.
High Probability of Relapse
Remember when I said earlier that our disease is especially insidious because it tells us we don’t have our disease? I’m far from the first person to say that, in fact, it’s pretty cliched and like most cliched statements it’s cliched because it’s true. Oftentimes, despite our best intentions we continually relapse. If relapse is constant after lighter treatments, a full inpatient treatment might do wonders.
As a recovering alcoholic myself, I have experience with both inpatient programs and outpatient programs. In my experience, both were beneficial. When I was thrown into inpatient, I absolutely needed it. It gave me a chance to actually confront emotions and learn about 12 step programs. IOP gave me a chance to build up some recovery time in the real world, with more independence.
Whether you choose inpatient or outpatient depends on your needs and varies from person to person. Either choice is a great way to get a good foothold in recovery and begin your new life.
Here are some resources for inpatient recovery:
Oregon Trail Recovery Can Help
As mentioned above, Oregon Trail Recovery has several outpatient options that can help you begin your journey and give you a strong foothold in recovery.