"*" indicates required fields

How Does Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Work?

Outpatient rehab is a form of alcohol or drug addiction treatment that allows patients to live at home (or in another safe and therapeutic environment, such as sober living) while still working or going to school. In outpatient treatment programs, patients typically visit a treatment center, hospital, mental health clinic, or behavioral counselor regularly during specific hours and days of the week.

Outpatient services can be an effective option for individuals struggling with substance use disorders who do not require the intensive level of care provided in inpatient treatment. Outpatient alcohol rehab and outpatient drug rehab programs offer flexibility, allowing patients to maintain work, school, or family commitments while receiving the treatment they need.

What are the Different Types of Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient rehab programs may utilize a combination of therapies and other services including behavioral counseling and therapy, evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders, substance use monitoring, case and clinical management, and long-term continuing care focused on relapse prevention.

There are several types of outpatient alcohol rehab and outpatient drug rehab programs, each with varying levels of intensity and services offered. Some common types include:

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

Partial hospitalization programs, also known as day treatment, provide a high level of care similar to inpatient treatment while allowing patients to return home in the evenings. PHPs typically involve 20 or more hours of treatment per week, including individual therapy, group therapy, and other therapeutic activities. PHPs may also include medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for individuals who require this level of care but do not require an inpatient program.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

Intensive outpatient programs provide a step down from partial hospitalization, with 9 to 20 hours of treatment per week. IOPs often include individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy sessions, as well as education on addiction and relapse prevention strategies.

Standard Outpatient Programs (OPs)

Standard outpatient programs involve fewer than 9 hours of treatment per week and may include individual therapy, group sessions, and medication management. These programs are often appropriate for individuals who have completed a higher level of care or who have a strong support system in place.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment Services

Outpatient rehab programs can provide a wide range of services to address substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. Some common services offered in outpatient treatment include:

  • Medically assisted treatments and pharmacotherapies
  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Group sessions
  • Family therapy and education
  • Psycho-education on addiction and recovery
  • Support services and case management
  • Relapse prevention planning and aftercare

The specific services offered may vary depending on the treatment program and the individual needs of each patient.

Behavioral Therapies Used in Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient rehab programs often incorporate a variety of evidence-based behavioral therapies to help individuals overcome addiction and develop healthy coping skills. Some common therapies used in outpatient treatment include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to substance use.
  • Contingency Management: This approach uses positive reinforcement, such as rewards or privileges, to encourage abstinence and treatment compliance.
  • Community Reinforcement Approach Plus Vouchers: This therapy combines community-based reinforcement with vouchers that can be exchanged for goods or services to promote a drug-free lifestyle.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This approach helps individuals increase their motivation to change and engage in treatment.
  • The Matrix Model: This therapy combines individual therapy, group sessions, and family education to address addiction and promote recovery.
  • Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy: This approach incorporates the principles of 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), into the treatment process.
  • Family Behavior Therapy: This therapy involves family members in the treatment process to improve communication, problem-solving, and coping skills.

The specific therapies used in outpatient treatment may vary depending on the program and the individual needs of each patient.

What’s the Difference Between Inpatient Treatment and Outpatient Rehab?

The main differences between inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab are where patients reside during treatment for drug and alcohol addiction and the level of medical and clinical management provided.

In inpatient treatment programs, patients stay overnight at the rehab facility and receive 24-hour care and supervision. Inpatient rehab is often recommended for individuals with severe addiction, for those who need complex medical or psychiatric services, or for those with an unstable living environment. Inpatient programs can also be a good choice for individuals who need treatment options for detox services.

In outpatient alcohol rehab, patients live at home or in a sober living facility while attending treatment sessions at a clinic or treatment center. Outpatient care allows for more flexibility and autonomy but also requires a strong support system and a stable living environment.

Both inpatient and outpatient rehab can be effective in treating alcohol abuse, and the appropriate level of care will depend on each individual’s unique needs and circumstances.

Benefits and Challenges of Outpatient Drug Rehab

Outpatient treatment centers offer several benefits for individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorder, including:

  • Greater flexibility in scheduling treatment around work, school, or family commitments
  • The ability to apply skills learned in treatment to real-life situations
  • Typically lower costs compared to inpatient treatment
  • The opportunity to maintain a sense of normalcy and routine while in treatment

However, outpatient rehab also presents some challenges, such as:

  • Lack of 24-hour supervision and support for withdrawal symptoms
  • Potential exposure to triggers and stressors in the home environment
  • Difficulty managing complex co-occurring disorders and or psychiatric needs
  • Lack of access to reliable transportation to attend treatment sessions

It’s important for individuals to carefully consider their unique needs and circumstances when deciding between inpatient and outpatient rehab.

How Long Does Outpatient Rehab Last?

The duration of addiction treatment is flexible and depends on each patient’s individual needs, which may evolve. Some programs may last a few weeks, while others may continue for several months or longer.

Factors that may influence the length of outpatient treatment include:

  • The severity of the addiction
  • The presence of co-occurring mental health disorders
  • The individual’s progress in treatment
  • The level of support available outside of treatment

Many outpatient addiction treatment programs also offer ongoing support and aftercare services to help individuals maintain their recovery long-term.

Cost of Outpatient Treatment at a Rehab Facility

The cost of an outpatient program can vary depending on the type of program, the services offered, and the duration of treatment. On average, the private pay rate for partial hospitalization programs ranges from $350 to $450 per day, while intensive outpatient programs typically cost between $250 and $350 per day.

Insurance Options for Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment

Many insurance plans, including those offered through the Affordable Care Act, are required to cover substance use disorder and mental health services. However, the specific coverage and out-of-pocket costs may vary depending on the insurance provider and plan. Individuals need to check with their insurance provider to understand their specific coverage and any potential out-of-pocket expenses before starting outpatient treatment or considering residential treatment.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol or drug abuse and uncertain if your health insurance covers substance abuse treatment, send us a message via our secure, online form. Our team of specialists can help you navigate your coverage to make the most of your benefits or help you explore alternative payment options should be underinsured, not covered, or currently without insurance options.

Finding the Right Outpatient Rehab Program

When searching for an outpatient rehab program, it’s important to consider factors such as:

  • The program’s accreditation and licensing
  • The qualifications and experience of the treatment staff
  • The types of therapies and services offered
  • The program’s success rates and patient satisfaction
  • The location and accessibility of the program
  • The cost and insurance coverage options

Locating Substance Use Treatment

Individuals can also consult with their healthcare provider, mental health professional, or a substance abuse treatment helpline for guidance in finding an appropriate outpatient rehab program. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a treatment locator tool on its website that allows individuals to find treatment providers close to home that fit their needs.

Getting Started with Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

Outpatient rehab can be an effective option for individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorder who do not require the intensive level of care provided in inpatient treatment. Outpatient services offer flexibility, allowing patients to maintain work, school, or family commitments while receiving the treatment they need for their recovery process.

At Forrest Behavioral Health, we provide comprehensive care for individuals enrolled in our intensive outpatient treatment programs. Our team is dedicated to compassionate care and long-term sobriety for our patients. Give us a call at (781) 570-5781 to discuss how we can help you overcome drug or alcohol addiction. With the right outpatient treatment program and a strong support system, individuals can overcome addiction and achieve lasting recovery.

emily thorndike - medical reviewer

Medically Reviewed by Emily Thorndike

Emily Thorndike, an accomplished LICSW in Massachusetts, has been a dedicated mental health professional since 2014. She has worked in various clinical settings, including inpatient, outpatient, residential, and community crisis intervention. As a trauma specialist with a particular focus on personality disorders, her diverse experience includes diagnostic assessments, case management, aftercare/treatment planning, and collaboration with various healthcare providers and patient support systems. Her educational background from Boston College, coupled with over eight years of experience at the renowned Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, underscores her commitment and proficiency in mental health care.

Forrest Behavioral Health

Are you looking for information on drug and alcohol treatment, or just need someone to talk to? The team at Forrest Behavioral Health is here to help.


Need treatment?

Are you ready to receive help for your addiction? Request a confidential call.

"*" indicates required fields

Other Posts

Are you in need of addiction treatment? Request a call to speak to a knowledgeable Forrest Behavioral Health team member.

"*" indicates required fields

Check if your insurance will cover the costs of care by completing the form below.

"*" indicates required fields

MM slash DD slash YYYY
Include images of your insurance card
Max. file size: 25 MB.
Max. file size: 25 MB.