Outpatient addiction treatment is a popular choice for individuals recovering from mild and early-stage cases of substance use disorder. Therapies are often done daily for a couple of hours per day, depending on the intensity of the outpatient program you’re enrolled in.
Scheduling for therapy sessions is variable, depending on your availability. You can have regular daily sessions during weekdays, but if you want to commit your weekends to therapy, you may do so as well. On the other hand, if you have a lot of responsibilities to juggle during the weekdays, some outpatient rehabs have weekend programs. This flexibility allows you to be on the road to recovery without compromising your responsibilities.
Read further if you’re wondering how long outpatient programs will last.
What determines the length of outpatient addiction treatment?
A number of factors influence how long you have to be under outpatient treatment. In some cases, one month is enough; in other cases, it may take three months or longer.
Here are some of those factors that affect the length of treatment.
Severity of the substance use disorder
If your substance use disorder was diagnosed early on, the outpatient addiction treatment program recommended to you will most likely last for a short time only. But if you have been suffering from substance use disorder for a while now, you may need longer treatment programs.
Frequency of therapy sessions
Outpatient rehab programs can operate on flexible schedules. If you choose a weekend-only program, treatment will last a lot longer than if you have therapy every weekday. Scheduling your sessions 7 days a week also cuts down on the total length of the rehab program.
Intensity of the treatment
The length of daily therapy sessions also depends on the kind of outpatient program you are in. There are three types, each with increasing levels of treatment intensity:
- Standard Outpatient Programs often meet 1 to 2 hours a day. In these programs, medical supervision is minimal, but rehabs can refer you to appropriate medical professionals in case you need them.
- Intensive Outpatient Programs hold therapy sessions 2 to 4 hours daily. Here, you will also get some medical support as well as a team of recovery professionals with different specializations.
- Partial Hospitalization Programs provide the most intensive treatment, with sessions of more than 4 hours per day. In some cases, you may be under treatment for up to 8 hours daily. This kind of program will be recommended to you if you have underlying medical conditions or mental health problems that need extra care. In these programs, you have a team of recovery professionals as well as medical personnel at the ready.
What’s good about outpatient addiction treatment?
The biggest advantage of outpatient rehab is its flexibility. You don’t have to live inside a rehab facility, so you don’t have to make a lot of changes in your daily routine. You just need to set aside a few hours each day for therapy sessions. This is good if you can’t take a long leave from work or if you want to keep seeing your family while recovering from substance use disorder.
Family support can even help you get through your substance use disorder. If your family understands your situation, and they are also committed to helping you get back to sobriety, they will be your greatest assets on the road to recovery. They will be your source of encouragement alongside your therapists.
Another good thing is affordability. Outpatient rehab does not have many of the costs associated with staying in a residential treatment facility, so it’s easier on the budget. You don’t have to pay for accommodation, food, laundry services. 24/7 care, and recreational facilities when you’re enrolled in an outpatient program. Through outpatient rehab, you can have access to helpful therapies that allow you to take back control of your life even if you don’t have that much money.
What therapies will I get in outpatient rehab?
Outpatient rehab utilizes many different therapies in combination with each other. What therapies you get depends on your case. Recovery professionals will assess you first and continuously monitor your progress so they can tailor the treatment to address your needs.
Behavioral therapies are meant to train you to develop new habits that replace drug-seeking behavior. These therapies include the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: This therapy aims to address the root causes of your addiction. Also, it gives you the tools you need to fight drug-seeking behavior on your own and replace them with healthy coping mechanisms.
- Talk therapy: Here, you will engage in structured conversations with your therapist. Both of you will talk about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and how they contribute to the addiction.
- Motivational enhancement therapy: This aims to invoke a sense of internally motivated behavior changes. In other words, your therapist will help you want to change from within. Since your motivation is from yourself, it is much stronger than someone from the outside pressuring you to stop taking drugs.
- Family therapy: Members of your family will play an active role in this kind of therapy. Your therapist will coach them on what to do and how best to help you in your journey to sobriety.
- Couples therapy: Your therapist will work with you and your spouse or partner so you can both help each other as you recover.
- Biofeedback therapy: Here, you will learn to control involuntary processes in your body, including those that are responsible for triggering drug-seeking behavior.
- Art therapy: You will create works of art to overcome your addiction to drugs.
- Animal-assisted therapy: An emotional support animal (such as a dog) will be given to you to aid in stress relief and as a healthy coping mechanism that does not involve drugs.
Trained professionals will facilitate each therapy. You may get different ones per day, depending on your program. It’s also possible to have more than one therapy per day if each daily session lasts long.