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With over 8 percent of the adult population in the United States battling addiction in 2014, as published by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), there is a real need for variable forms of addiction treatment.
Addiction is a highly personal disease, and treatment models will differ from person to person, depending on each individual’s circumstances and requirements. No two people are exactly alike, and neither then are any two addiction treatment plans.
In general, there are two main forms of addiction treatment: inpatient or residential treatment and outpatient treatment. Residential programs are typically considered the most comprehensive option, as individuals remain on site for a set amount of time, receiving around-the-clock and highly structured care and attention. These programs may not work for everyone, however. Often, the flexibility of an outpatient care plan is favored. Outpatient programs tend to be more cost-effective than residential ones, and when individuals have a strong support system at home, they may be the preferred choice. Regardless of whether a person attends a residential or outpatient addiction treatment program, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends that the program last at least 90 days.
There is some variability within outpatient addiction treatment programs. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) often mirror residential treatment plans, with sessions and meetings scheduled throughout the day, and then the individual returns home each night. These programs often work well for individuals who have families or other stipulations or obligations that prevent them from staying away overnight. An IOP can offer a high level of care that is similar to that of a residential addiction treatment program.
Standard outpatient programs allow for even more flexibility, as individuals can schedule their meetings and sessions around their existing schedules and prior commitments. These programs may be optimal for individuals who have work, school, or family obligations that are inflexible. Individuals who are less dependent on drugs or alcohol, who have been abusing substances for less time, and who have a supportive home environment may prefer an outpatient addiction treatment program.
These programs may include a variety of treatment options, including:
Outpatient treatment programs also include regular monitoring of an individual’s alcohol or drug use during treatment. While some allow for self-reporting, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Improvement Protocols (SAMHSA TIP) reports that most will use some form of regular drug testing. Family education, training, counseling, and therapy sessions are often integral to helping a loved one in an outpatient treatment program. Outpatient programs may provide more privacy than an inpatient program, as individuals will not need to explain a prolonged absence to an employer or neighbor.
Outpatient programs offer individuals the opportunity to almost immediately apply the skills learned during sessions as they re-enter their homes and lives every day, which Psychology Today reports may be a benefit that is unique to outpatient programs. Every outpatient addiction treatment program will be different and tailored to the specific person receiving care.
There are several ways in which a person can enhance their recovery when attending an outpatient addiction treatment program.
With an outpatient treatment program, clients attend a variety of sessions and trainings as needed.
Progress should be continually monitored to ensure that the treatment is still the optimal choice and that families and individuals are moving forward together.
Regular assessments may be done in order to keep up with this. Individuals in outpatient programs generally have 24/7 access to a crisis or helpline as well.