There is no one-size-fits-all method to treatment for a substance use disorder. For some people, one form of care works better than another. This is why it’s imperative to know yourself and your needs. 

When suffering from a mild addiction, or trying to transition to life outside rehab, outpatient treatment is a great option. Outpatient treatment is a form of addiction care that doesn’t require an overnight stay. This can be very effective for those who are looking to recover from a substance use disorder and suffer from a milder form of addiction. 

Outpatient rehab programs are much less intensive than inpatient programs; though this means outpatient care isn’t as extensive as a residential program, outpatient treatment offers a vast variety of therapies. What’s most convenient is that outpatient treatment can be done anywhere. 

There are many benefits to outpatient rehab. This method of treatment gives those who participate the professional support necessary to care for them. This is because it takes the severity of the addiction, the person’s goals, and their strengths/weaknesses into account. 

What is Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient treatment is a kind of care that is, for the most part, meant for those who are suffering from a milder form of addiction. During this method of care, individuals who participate can live at home or in other environments like a sober living facility. This allows them to stay consistent in their professional lives while attending treatment. 

For those who need to find a better balance between treatment and personal matters, outpatient programs offer evening and weekend care as well. This makes it much easier for some people to participate. There are many levels of outpatient treatment that could be better for someone than another form of care.

There are several programs under the outpatient rehab umbrella, including partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient treatment. Not only can the practices change, but the location of treatment can, too. For example, some potential spots may be substance abuse treatment facilities, while others could be mental health clinics or therapy offices.

What Kind of Treatment Meets My Needs?

Treatment for substance use disorder, regardless of the specificity of the care itself, takes the individual’s needs into context. Particularly, outpatient treatment contains quite a few therapeutic interventions and therapies. This gives a person plenty of support around them, sometimes with group therapy in particular.

How Does Outpatient Rehab Work?

Lasting anywhere from three months to over a year, outpatient treatment allows an individual anywhere between 10-12 hours of weekly therapy. This allows them to be cared for either during the day or at night while maintaining other responsibilities or obligations. Outpatient rehab is best for those who suffer from a mild form of addiction. 

Types of Outpatient Programs

Some of the different kinds of outpatient programs include the following:

  • Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)
  • Standard Outpatient Programs (OPs)

There are different kinds of programs for outpatient treatment, all of which aim to help a specific area of one’s substance use disorder. By doing this, the individual is being treated for their unique needs, making for a more successful recovery. 

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

Partial hospitalization programs are sometimes referred to as PHPs or “day treatment.” Multifaceted teams in this particular kind of outpatient rehab offer clinical support to treat complex mental health issues. Sometimes, patients need a more intense amount of support while not requiring 24-hour supervision (like in an inpatient facility). These types of programs usually offer treatment somewhere around 20 hours a week of treatment per individual. This makes for daily monitoring with a bit of structure.  

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are another multifaceted team of health care professionals, but they don’t offer as much clinical support as PHP. Depending on the patient, a person could spend anywhere from 10-20 hours a week in treatment. This is a bit of a broader range than PHPs, allowing for less time required depending on the individual. 

Standard Outpatient Programs (OPs)

As previously mentioned, standard outpatient programs don’t require an individual to be monitored 24/7. They help people focus on addressing their behaviors as they relate to substance use disorder. Outpatient rehab takes up about 10 hours a week. These programs are also good stepping stones for those trying to make the jump from residential treatment to the world outside of rehab.

Who Can Benefit Most from Outpatient Rehab? 

People who have already completed a residential treatment program or who suffer from a milder form of addiction are the best candidates for outpatient rehab. Attending an outpatient rehab program after residential treatment lowers the risk of relapse. By participating in some form of care after treatment, a person is ushered into the world outside the facility and taught new coping skills to practice in real-time.

The Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

There is one single function to addiction treatment, and that’s to offer several different therapies to help a person struggling with substance use disorder. This is the case whether treatment is residential or outpatient. However, two main categories differentiate the two types of treatment. These include the following:


When someone participates in an inpatient treatment program, they are required to stay overnight in the care of a facility. On the opposite end of the spectrum is outpatient care, where an individual can stay at home and attend treatment on their own time. There are even some programs that offer sober living homes, which may help a person recover more gradually.


Inpatient treatment and outpatient rehab provide two different kinds of care. On one hand, in outpatient treatment, there is a level of trust that exists. Those participating usually don’t have anyone standing over their shoulder the whole time. When it comes to inpatient treatment, however, there are health care professionals on rotation 24 hours a day to ensure the utmost in clinical care and support.

Types of Therapy Involved in Outpatient Treatment

In addition to the different kinds of outpatient treatment, there are also different kinds of therapy. These include the following:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • The Matrix Model
  • 12-Step Programs
  • Family Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses primarily on changing the way individuals cope. It all starts with identifying unhealthy coping skills and improving upon them. This happens by exploring why people crave the things they do. Not only that, but CBT also makes efforts to identify triggers while implementing alternative coping strategies to combat substance use disorder.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy 

Motivational enhancement therapy helps individuals overcome any doubts they may have concerning treatment. Therapy/counseling can help keep a person motivated throughout their rehab experience. They will also gain a sense of motivation regardless of how their substance use disorder has affected them.

12-Step Programs

If you are familiar with alcoholics or narcotics anonymously, then you may be familiar with 12-step programs. This sort of strategy involves an alcoholics anonymous-style by providing a mutual self-help approach. This helps people build their network of sober friends so that they can build a good community.

Family Therapy

Family therapy is a method of care that involves members of an immediate family in a therapy session. These sessions may touch on a variety of issues anywhere from past trauma to the current circumstance. Most often, these issues have to do with substance use disorder as well as broken relationships. It works like group therapy in the sense that multiple people participate, but it’s different in the regard that those participating know each other on a more intimate level than strangers in a group session. 

Outpatient Rehab and Co-Occurring Disorders

For those who suffer from multiple mental health disorders, outpatient treatment could be the right call. As previously mentioned, there are many options when it comes to therapy. Some of these therapies are best at combatting a co-occurring disorder

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

When someone is suffering from a co-occurring disorder, they are experiencing multiple mental health disorders at once. One disorder is not necessarily dependent on the other to exist, but it can certainly be an influence. Those who suffer from a co-occurring disorder usually combat it with some form of outpatient treatment therapy. 

Can Outpatient Rehab Treat Co-Occurring Disorders?

When it comes to co-occurring disorders, there are a plethora of individuals who have suffered such a fate. In 2019, 9.5 million people in the United States suffered from both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. Not only that, but 20% of those aged 18 or older suffered from mental illness (among those roughly 13 million who had a severe mental health disorder).

Some outpatient programs offer treatment for a simultaneous mental health disorder and substance use disorder. Up to 60% of those with a substance use disorder also have a mental health disorder. Those who fall within this criteria need dual diagnosis treatment. 

Some may argue that treating one disorder at a time is a more effective form of treatment, but the exact opposite is the truth. Most studies conducted by professionals suggest that when both disorders are treated simultaneously, the result is much more successful. However, this isn’t to say that those who suffer from a more severe mental health disorder require a more intense level of care.

Benefits of Outpatient Rehab

While there is no one-size-fits-all method of treatment for substance use disorder, there are individuals who prefer outpatient treatment above other methods. Some of the reasons why include the following:

  • Flexibility: When there’s more flexibility for a professional occupation or time with family in a rehab program, patients feel more freedom. Not only that, but in most cases, they feel more encouraged than when they’re being monitored 24/7. 
  • Cost: When it comes to finances, every dollar counts. Compared to everything else, outpatient treatment is not all that costly. This is due in large part to the minimal amount of resources that go into it. Outpatient treatment also takes a lot less time than inpatient treatment does. 
  • Development of Skills: One other way that outpatient treatment is better than the rest is in the area of skills development. Those who participate in outpatient rehab can focus on their treatment and their personal lives simultaneously. One of the other benefits is that they can learn helpful skills for their professional lives from both their peers and the guidance of their counselor. 

Challenges of Outpatient Treatment

Just because outpatient treatment is one of the more convenient options for addiction treatment doesn’t mean it’s without its challenges. Some challenges of outpatient treatment include the following:

  • When the extent of care for a co-occurring disorder for a particular person may not be enough. 
  • Not having a reliable means of transportation could prove frustrating because outpatient treatment depends on a person being responsible for their transportation.

Cost of Treatment

When it comes to treatment, many factors influence the cost of a person’s recovery. Some of these include the following:

  • Insurance
  • Facility
  • Level of care
  • Frequency of care
  • Length of care
  • Alternative services

Some programs like partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient care range from $250 to $450 per day. Detox and inpatient treatment range even higher from $500 to-650 per day. That’s not to say, however, that getting the right treatment is impossible. 

Sometimes, depending on the insurance they might have, a person could have their care covered. There are private insurance programs as well as more affordable public insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Not only that but there’s also affordable insurance through the affordable care act.

Don’t Hesitate – Get Help Today

There’s no guarantee that a mental health disorder or substance use disorder won’t get worse by the day. At BRC, we want to give you the best options available when it comes to recovery. For some, that means the utmost in outpatient rehab (and for some the utmost in outpatient rehab means BRC). If you or someone you know are suffering from a mental health disorder or a substance use disorder, contact us today.