What is Outpatient Addiction Treatment?

A lot of rehabilitation facilities offer inpatient residential treatment where individuals live in the facility for a time so that they can recover in an environment that is stable and safe.

That, however, isn’t always a practical solution for those who still hold a routine such going to school or working. This is where outpatient treatment can be beneficial, allowing individuals to recover from the safety of their own home, while still enjoying the freedom of maintaining their job or grades during treatment.

In this article, you will learn the answer to common questions like what outpatient addiction treatment is, and the difference between outpatient and inpatient or the benefits of outpatient rehab treatment.

At Red River Treatment Center, we do our best to ensure that individuals and loved ones alike have all the information necessary to begin recovering and enjoying life again to its fullest potential. Our caring staff is available 24/7 to help; give us a call today to learn more.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment Can be Effective

If you struggle with substance abuse of any kind, you may be considering addiction treatment to help you overcome the difficulties of beginning sobriety and connect with others who understand the struggle. (1) No matter what your reason for beginning addiction treatment, it’s an admirable step forward to the person you want to be in life.

We all know the overall goal is sobriety, but why they want to be sober is the key question. “I want my quality of life back,” “I want to get my family back together” and “I want to get a job” are all common goals

– Forbes

During treatment, you may learn about many of the reasons that individuals come to addiction centers, their “why” behind wanting to become sober. These reasons are often very unique from one another but can bring the whole group together.

In essence, outpatient addiction treatment is an excellent way for people to group together and share a common space where their recovery is supported by others who understand the struggle.

In combination with the counseling, therapy, activities, and other treatments provided by the rehabilitation center, it can be a very effective method for taking control of your life once again. Rehabilitation centers often have medical personnel, psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists all on staff to help assist patients day-to-day with their concerns and to ensure their safety.

Understanding the Difference Between Outpatient and Inpatient

Outpatient and inpatient can be confusing terminology for patients who are just getting started on the road to recovery.

Typically, outpatient treatment has less involvement in the individual’s everyday life and provides a kind of self-structured resource that is required to stay a part of the treatment plan. It is designed to work around your schedule as needed, so long as you attend therapy sessions, counseling, and activities at the facility that are a part of your treatment plan.

Inpatient treatment is much more involved and can be beneficial for those who are undergoing withdrawals and may be prone to relapsing if given the freedom of opportunity. To help prevent this, they enter an inpatient or residential treatment program which means they are expected to remain at the facility overnight, with their activities monitored to prevent missteps and keep the space a safe and supportive place for everyone involved.

An easy way to remember this is that outpatient is for when you are living outside of the facility, and inpatient is when you are residing inside of the facility.

What Are the Benefits of Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient addiction treatment comes with a host of benefits for anyone struggling with addiction. Not only is the program much more flexible to accommodate you work or school schedule, but you can interact and discuss your journey towards sobriety in a safe environment without being displaced from your own home.

This type of treatment is often tailored to fit your needs, with multiple types of therapy, medication treatment, counseling options, and activities available. You may also be able to work with a psychiatrist, counselor, social worker, or psychologist on an individual basis if you prefer to work outside of a group setting.

Outpatient programs are also much more affordable than inpatient treatment as the facility is accommodating your needs on an appointment-only basis, rather than around-the-clock.

For more information about the benefits of outpatient rehabilitation and whether it’s the right choice for you, contact Red River Treatment Center today, conveniently located in Pineville, LA.

Is Therapy Beneficial During Outpatient Treatment?

Yes, therapy is a very beneficial treatment method to undergo during outpatient treatment, whether it is within the facility or with a specialized therapist who is not affiliated with the center. Therapy is a great way to express your feelings and struggles with addiction and process difficult emotions that come with the lifestyle change.

Therapy is often a part of the outpatient and inpatient experience, allowing patients to express themselves in group or individual counseling sessions and discuss their addiction in a safe and supportive environment.

Rehabilitation centers may provide additional treatment methods such as access to a psychiatrist, medicated therapy, and daily activities to engage the group, all of which are beneficial when added to any treatment plan.

Without therapy throughout the treatment process, the rate of success in sobriety lowers significantly, however, there are multiple types of therapy available. If you are not comfortable with discussing your experiences in a group or prefer to see a different therapist on an individual basis, you should discuss this with your provider and have your treatment plan altered in a way that works for you.

What Qualifies as an Addiction Eligible for Outpatient?

You may be wondering, what is outpatient addiction treatment going to help you achieve?

For individuals with mild addictions who are still able to hold a steady job or need to maintain in some way, outpatient addiction treatment can help you achieve your goals and get started on the path to sobriety in a way that is flexible with your schedule and allows you to continue on with your life without making recover the sole focus.

Unlike what many people may believe, the criteria for entering into an addiction treatment program isn’t a certain type of drug, but rather, whether you have an addiction of any kind.

The more severe the addiction and the more it negatively impacts your life, the more likely you are to be referred to an inpatient program. Individuals who are experiencing more severe stages of addiction, however, can still enroll in outpatient programs and see successful results with enough support and desire for sobriety.

Often, a psychiatrist can diagnose you as having an addiction, whether to drugs or alcohol, and recommend you to a rehab facility nearby.

The Cost of Outpatient Rehab

The cost for outpatient rehab varies greatly based on the location, the severity of your addiction, and the services rendered during your time there. Fortunately, outpatient addiction treatment is often less expensive than inpatient treatment options.

Depending on your insurance policy, the out-of-pocket cost to you will be different with each center. Certain centers might not be covered within your network or may change depending on how much of your deductible has been paid down.

For self-pay patients, many centers will work with you to establish a payment plan or may even work with you on a sliding-scale basis. Concerned family members, supportive friends, or other responsible individuals that meet the financial criteria for the center may also be able to pay for your treatment. While this depends on the financing policies unique to each treatment facility, it is not an uncommon occurrence for legal guardians or close friends and family to foot the bill for recovery.

No matter what your budget, outpatient addiction centers are available and able to work with you to help you get the support and treatment you need to start your journey to sobriety.

Is Outpatient Rehab for Me?

Outpatient treatment may not be for everyone; for those who are heavily dependent on their substance or risk potentially dangerous withdrawals, it can be important to remain in an inpatient treatment program until the cravings and symptoms of withdrawal subside. (2)

For people who may not be heavily dependent or are still functional in everyday societal demands such as holding a job, outpatient rehab may be a good option to get the help you need in a way that matches your schedule best.

If you need help figuring out which treatment program would benefit you the most, consult your psychiatrist for recommendations.

“It is critical that every patient remains in treatment for an adequate amount of time. This time will vary depending on the type and degree of the individual’s needs and problems.”

– Huffpost

There are many different forms of outpatient addiction treatment, with varying levels of intensity and time commitment necessary to remain in the program. Depending on your needs, you may find that one is better suited to your schedule and needs than another.

This is why it is important to not give up if treatment does not work for you right away; the path to sobriety is different for everyone and can change at different stages of addiction and later, sobriety.

Why Do People Choose Outpatient Addiction Treatment?

People choose outpatient addiction treatment for different, personal reasons. For some people, they have been looking for a place to feel supported and loved, especially if their addiction has driven those close to them away.

For others, the rehab facility is a place where they feel like they can express themselves and stay safely away from the influence of addictive substances.

Others may simply understand that they have a problem and need help to recover in a safe and guided manner.

No matter what your “why” is, an outpatient addiction treatment program is an excellent way to bridge the gap between getting help and maintaining obligations outside of the rehab center.

Whether you are looking to maintain a job, keep your grades up, or take care of family, there is an outpatient treatment program that can suit your schedule and help you on the road to recovery without requiring you to stay in the facility 24/7. This type of arrangement is also excellent for those who are afraid of commitment but want to see for themselves just how helpful rehabilitation centers can be for their mental health and sobriety.

Beginning Outpatient Treatment

When you start to consider enrolling in outpatient treatment, it can be difficult to admit that you need help. Much of society is centered around the need for self-sufficiency, or even rewarding low levels of substance abuse that it can be difficult to adjust to the idea of sobriety.

Over time, however, you will learn that it is completely acceptable and healthy to ask for help, and the first step to sobriety is in sharing your story with others and beginning some form of treatment. For many, the act of entering outpatient treatment is admirable as asking for help in this way takes more courage than battling sobriety alone.

It may be difficult to adjust to outpatient treatment, especially if you are going through withdrawal, which can be difficult and lead to a host of mental health struggles until your body and brain adjust to life without the substance. This is why counseling and therapy are such a beneficial part of outpatient treatment, as it can help you overcome this step, which is often the hardest.

What If Outpatient Treatment Doesn’t Work?

Outpatient treatment might not be right for every individual. For those who start out in an outpatient treatment program, it can be difficult to accept that it isn’t working for their needs as it can feel like a loss of self-control or autonomy within their life.

Just because an outpatient treatment program doesn’t work, however, doesn’t mean that the individual is broken or cannot become sober; it just means that they have different needs from what the program is providing for them.

If this is the case for you or a loved one, it is important to recognize that it is not a sign of failure. It is a sign of progress in learning what does and does not work for your individual circumstances.

Outpatient treatment is not the only answer; there are multiple types of outpatient treatment available to patients, and for cases where outpatient treatment is not working due to the easy access of the substance outside of the facility, it may be worth looking into inpatient treatment options to provide a refreshing, safe, and supportive environment around the clock.

Considerations to Make Before Applying for Outpatient Treatment

While the road to recovery is an individualized path that looks different based on where you are in life and with your addiction, it’s important to consider all the options available to you.

You may wind up being surprised by the efficacy of certain treatment options over others, or you may become ready for treatment options you weren’t ready for at the beginning of your journey to sobriety.

Before entering an outpatient treatment program, you should first consider what your needs are. Do you need to maintain your work shifts or school classes, or do you have family to take care of during the week? Depending on your circumstances, this schedule can affect which treatments you choose at which times; it’s important to work with the facility staff to establish a schedule that works for you.

Furthermore, you should consider your goal with treatment. Are you looking for the support and solidarity of group counseling, or do you need the activity that keeps you away from easy access to your addicted substance? Not only can this affect your treatment schedule, but it could help determine the intensity of outpatient care that is ideal for you to receive. More intensive care will keep you away from your normal routine longer with more activities and treatment involved, while minimal care will provide you with many of the counseling benefits the treatment program has to offer, while providing you with a less restricted schedule outside of the center.

Challenges of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

For many people, outpatient addiction treatment is the perfect solution to continuing to live what they consider a normal life without undergoing full residential rehabilitation. Because they are not living in the facility 24/7, they are able to continue with school studies, take care of family obligations, and continue holding their job.

Unfortunately, one of the main challenges with outpatient addiction treatment is the flip side of this same advantage. For those who have their addiction ingrained into everyday life, it can be difficult to make the shift to sobriety when they are still able to enjoy their normal.

Whether it is easy access to the substance, or everyday events that trigger their cravings, this exposure to their normal life can be difficult to manage in tandem with recovery.

Outpatient treatment is ideal for individuals who need a little extra help to make their way to the finish line, or for those who are interested in taking a slow transition in or out of inpatient rehabilitation treatment.

If the patient is still struggling with sobriety after following an outpatient treatment program, then it may be ideal to switch to a more intense form of outpatient treatment or talk to the facility about inpatient treatment programs.

Different Types of Treatment in Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehabilitation treatment can look a lot different depending on the individual’s journey with substance abuse and how deeply ingrained the addiction has become.

While any type of outpatient therapy allows those in treatment to resume their everyday life and fulfill obligations such as work or school, the level of intense care that comes with different treatments is designed for wherever the individual is on that journey.

Support Groups

Support groups are one of the most common and least intense outpatient treatment methods. This type of outpatient treatment requires that the individual joins frequent support groups which is guided by a counselor.

The purpose of these groups is to find a common thread of hope between each other, and to reaffirm their commitment to becoming sober with each other. This also allows everyone to express any emotional or mental struggles and victories that they have had on their journey to sobriety.

Intensive Outpatient Program

Intensive Outpatient Programs, also know as IOPs, are more attentive and intense rehabilitation programs that allows the individual to return home or fulfill external obligations such as work, school, or family. This type of program typically has recreational activities and therapy sessions that require the individual to be in the building several times a week, often for several hours at a time.

It is an excellent option for those who do not want to or cannot enroll in residential treatment but are strong-willed in their desire for sobriety, or for those who are transitioning into or out of residential treatment.

Partial Hospitalization Program

A partial hospitalization program, also known as PHP, is one of the most demanding outpatient programs timewise, which can make it a difficult choice for those with work obligations, but it provides a rigid structure that allows individuals to recover in a safe environment.

Often included in the program is a range of counseling and therapy options, as well as skill-building activities and treatment sessions. After treatment, individuals are allowed to leave the building and return home, rather than remaining overnight in the building like in residential treatments.

Behavioral Therapies Used in Outpatient Treatment

There are many different types of behavioral therapies used in outpatient treatment programs, and it is often dependent on the individual’s willingness to recover, the type of addiction they are struggling with, and the professionals on staff at the rehabilitation center.

Likewise, it may also depend on the treatment plan that your doctor or psychiatrist has laid out for your recovery, as different types of treatment work best for different individuals. Every individual should receive a personalized treatment that best fulfills their needs and helps them along the way to recovery.

One of the more common treatments that many patients see success with drug and alcohol addiction treatment is CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy. Working together with the therapist, the individual learns how to overcome habits, shift their mindset around their addictive substance, and work through the emotional and mental blockades that prevent a full recovery. This is often done in combination with other treatments such as group counseling or medicated therapy.

Does Insurance Cover Outpatient Treatment?

In many cases, yes, insurance will cover outpatient treatment at a rehabilitation center near you. It is recommended to find a rehabilitation center like Red River Treatment Center that is within your insurance provider’s network, however, as out-of-network centers may not be covered or may incur a higher co-pay than centers within the network.

Your insurance provider may not cover all rendered services that the rehab center provides. If your insurance does not cover the full treatment, it may still cover a portion of it, or specific rendered services.

It’s important to always get upfront information from the specific facility you are considering enrolling with, as well as discuss the specifics of your insurance plan with your provider directly.

By calling and talking to a representative of your insurance, you will have the most accurate and up-to-date information about your plan and ability to receive treatment easily and without financial concern.

Likewise, it’s important to call the facility directly to ensure that they have availability for outpatient treatment, and that they accept your insurance provider.

State-sponsored health insurance programs typically cover some level of rehabilitation or mental health services, lowering the cost for individuals who might otherwise be looking to undergo treatment on a self-pay basis.

Finding Outpatient Addiction Treatment Near You

Addiction isn’t something to be ashamed of; we all make mistakes in life. What’s important is how we deal with those mistakes and recognizing when to ask for help.

We are here to help you recover from addiction and substance abuse with a variety of proven treatment programs. We will find the best treatment method so that you can recover in a way that works for you as an individual. (3)

“In fact, outpatient treatment may be a more appropriate choice in many cases, e.g., when the person wishes to continue in school or on the job while pursuing treatment.”

– NYtimes

All you need to do is find an outpatient addiction treatment center near you. Red River Treatment Center a conveniently located facility in Pineville, LA that can help you or a loved one recover with the help of a resourceful and caring staff.

We offer both inpatient residential programs as well as intensive outpatient programs that can help you recover from the comfort of your own home, perfect if you need to undergo rehabilitation while holding a job or maintaining school grades.


1. Forbes, How Addiction Treatment Industries Can Provide Successful Long-Term Outcomes, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/01/07/how-addiction-treatment-industries-can-provide-successful-long-term-outcomes/?sh=16c264057e64

2.Huffpost, The Expert Guide to Treating Drug Addiction, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-expert-guide-to-treat_b_11426696

3.NYTimes, Outpatient Treatment for Drug Abuse, https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/15/nyregion/l-outpatient-treatment-for-drug-abuse-965690.html