What Is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient programs are used as a step-down level of care from a residential treatment program to transition individuals back into everyday life slowly.

What Is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment is generally considered to be less restrictive than inpatient programs. Outpatient recovery programs fall into 2 different levels of care: partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient. Each level typically occurs after a residential treatment stay or if assessed as the appropriate level to start off at by a behavioral health professional.Partial hospitalization programming (PHP) is the most intensive type of outpatient treatment, which focuses on stabilizing behaviors in early recovery. Most residential programs have a PHP that patients commonly transition to if they live locally. PHP programs are generally 5-6 hours of treatment per day, usually for 5-6 days a week.

This level of care is often done while not working, as the treatment itself can be as time consuming as residential treatment.Intensive outpatient programming (IOP) is a step down from PHP, in which patients begin to return to their daily lives by attending services for 3 hours of treatment per day for 3-5 days a week. This allows more flexibility for work and life needs, as well as an opportunity to readjust into the world with support.

These sessions focus on relapse prevention, psychoeducation, individual, and group counseling; teaching recovery skills to help reduce relapse and promote long term recovery. Outpatient treatment can be a helpful option for someone with a mild substance use disorder, or it can be part of a long-term treatment program. Outpatient drug rehab can last 3 to 6 months, similar to inpatient treatment, but can last for well over a year for more serious cases.

How Does Outpatient Treatment Work?

Clients are assigned a therapist or drug and alcohol counselor to meet with multiple times a week. Clients will participate in peer group discussions and counseling where topics covered vary from relapse prevention, coping skills, life skills, relationship skills, and more. Techniques typically applied in groups include therapies such as meditation, yoga, art therapy and more. These therapy techniques teach individuals how to better interpret, process and manage their thoughts and emotions, with the goal of preventing relapse. Outpatient Treatment Is ideal for individuals getting out of an Inpatient Facility, or individuals with a career, that want to continue their treatment during the day or evening with the option to live at home, work or reside in Sober Living.

A treatment provider having a discussion with a patient.

How Much Does Outpatient Treatment Cost?

Outpatient programs for mild to moderate addictions are cheaper than inpatient rehab. Many cost $5,000for a three-month program. Some outpatient programs, such as the program at Hazelden Betty Ford, cost The price tag depends on how often the individual visits the center each week and for how long.

The type of treatment medications needed affects the price tag on rehab. Some people don’t need medication for their addiction. Medications most often treat alcohol and opiate addiction. It can cost several thousand dollars a year. Year-long methadone treatment for heroin users costs around $4,700.

How to Pay for Outpatient Treatment

Finances can be crucial in determining the best plan for your recovery. Some halfway houses, or sober re-entry programs, are state-funded. However, sober living houses are not covered under an individuals health insurance policy since they do not provide treatment services and thus aren't considered rehabilitative facilities.6There are still options to get the support you need, even if finances are a stressor. If you think that a stay at a sober living house would be a good fit for you, here are ways in which you can pay for your stay:

Ask your Treatment Provider.
Some addiction treatment programs have options to support residents in financing their stay in a sober living house. They may also be able to connect you to sober living houses that offer sliding scale fees.

Grants and Scholarships.
Changing Lives Foundation is an organization that offers grants to those facing unexpected financial hardship, medical bills, catastrophic events, or even need help with rent payments.

Finance it.
This isn't an ideal option for many, especially due to high-interest rates and barriers to borrowing like low credit scores, but seeking out a loan can be helpful. Before doing this, make sure to consider how debt may impact your level of stress and, in turn,negatively impact your sobriety.