Outpatient Rehab Guide

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A Guide to Outpatient Rehab

Drug and alcohol addiction affects the brain and is a complex disease. When a client decides to quit using alcohol, it’s often difficult to stop on their own and most times require the help of a rehab program to overcome the addiction. There are two categories of treatments: outpatient and inpatient, based on the severity of the addiction. Indoor rehab programs are intense and offer withdrawal and detoxification treatments for severe addictions. If you are self-motivated to stop using alcohol and if the addiction level is mild, you might not need to attend inpatient rehab. Others can benefit from an outpatient program that can fit into their schedules.

An outpatient treatment program’s intensity varies for each individual, depending on the severity of their addiction, their individual needs, and their characteristics. There are low- and high-intensity programs, depending on the addiction level. Most of these programs require between 10 to 12 hours per week at the recovery center, and the program can last from three to six months or even a year based on the recovery progress.

Outpatient rehab involves drug education, group and individual counseling, and learning to cope without taking the drugs. Clients can have an outpatient program as the only treatment option if their addictions are mild or still in the early stages, or they can include it as part of a long-term rehab program.

Types of Outpatient Treatment Programs

There are three categories of outpatient programs, and the type that will suit you best depends on how severe your addiction is, the type of drug you have been using, and what stage of recovery you are on.

Outpatient Day Programs

Day programs involve a high level of care and require the client to go to the facility five to seven days a week. These sessions last for several hours each day, during which you undergo group counseling, adjunct therapy like music or art, biofeedback, and ongoing therapy sessions.

If you choose to take part in a day program, be ready to commit your time, and note that it may interfere with your other schedules like school or work if you have any. After your rehab sessions, you can go back to your house with your family or stay at a sober living home for faster recovery.

Continuing Care

A continuum of care refers to a treatment system that allows you to start your treatment at whatever level you are on your recovery journey and to make the care more or less intense according to your progress. Continuing care programs help clients already undergoing rehab speed up their recovery process and remain committed to the recovery journey. If you choose a continuing care group, you will see a licensed therapist once per week, and they will help you strengthen your commitment to remaining sober. You can use this treatment plan after your inpatient program to continue your recovery journey, and it can last for about 90 days (it could be more or less than that, based on your recovery speed). Some continuing care groups deal with specific recovery aspects, and others are age-specific and gender-specific.

IOP (Intensive Outpatient Programs)

An intensive outpatient rehab is part of a continuum of care. It is meant for clients suffering from substance abuse disorders, but it does not require supervision or detoxification. The program sessions are for a fixed number of hours per week for individual, family, and group therapy, and they offer education about substance use disorders and how to prevent relapses.

In an IOP, the therapist sets realistic milestones together with the client, and when the client meets them, the level of commitment required of them is reduced. This program is ideal if you are recovering from addiction but still have responsibilities to take care of, such as family or work. You will follow the 12 steps to recovery if you attend as an individual or use the 12 traditions if you are attending as a group.

Advantages of Attending an Outpatient Drug Rehab Program

If your addiction level is mild or moderate and you have a support system to help you through your rehabilitation, outpatient drug treatment might be your ideal option. Through the outpatient model, you could experience the following benefits:

• Flexibility – If you have work, school, or other responsibilities to take care of, an outpatient program is perfect because you can make it work with your schedule. An outpatient program allows you to decide when you will have your sessions and the therapist you want to serve you.

• Affordability – Outpatient programs are typically cheaper than inpatient ones because they are part-time programs. During the rehab, you still live in your home, so you will not need to pay for any accommodations at an inpatient institution.

• Access to family – With an inpatient rehab program, you are in an enclosed facility away from your loved ones, but in an outpatient setting, you still stay around your family and friends. Having moral support from the people you care about gives you more strength and motivation to remain on the right track even when the process gets challenging.

• Privacy – When you are in inpatient treatment, people may be likely to find out that you are locked in a rehab facility and get treatment in front of many other clients. Enrolling in an outpatient treatment program allows you privacy because you schedule and attend all your appointments alone. In this setting, you work one on one with a psychiatrist, therapist, counselor, social worker, or clinical psychologist.

• Customization – Inpatient drug rehab treatment sometimes follows a one-size-fits-all strategy to work on everyone. However, different individuals have varying needs, and an outpatient rehabilitation setting allows your therapist to give you individualized attention and makes the treatment process more effective.

• Practicality – In inpatient rehab, you have no access to alcohol and drugs, which forces you to learn how to cope without them. However, in an outpatient rehabilitation setting, you can easily access drugs and alcohol, and you have to apply the skills you learn to control yourself and not take them. This practicability solidifies your stand to remain sober, which is beneficial in the long run.

Tips for a Smoother Recovery

Social and Moral Support From Friends and Family

You need a reliable support system if you plan to start your recovery journey through an outpatient treatment program. Talk to your close friends and family about your recovery journey, and keep them close for moral support. When people cheer you on, you can maintain your motivation to work harder, and your recovery process becomes smoother. Your people will also ensure that you take all your medications (if any), help you eat balanced meals as required, remind you about your clinic appointments, and keep you grounded when you feel like going back to drugs.

Progressive Attitude and Supervised Aftercare

No matter how excellent your therapist’s skills are, your recovery speed depends on your attitude. You need to understand that your addiction did not happen overnight, and neither will your recovery. You need to maintain a positive attitude through the process with the help of your support system for smoother and faster recovery. Come up with an aftercare plan with your supervisor that will allow them to evaluate your progress after your rehab program to help you stay on the right track.

Working Out and Taking Part in Physical Activities

Physical fitness plays a substantial role in your addiction recovery journey. Studies have shown that regular physical activity and exercise vastly contribute to your mental health and recovery. Aerobic exercises help to reduce tension and anxiety, improve your sleep, boost your self-esteem, and stabilize your moods.

Regular exercise treats some depression and anxiety symptoms for some people the same way clinical medication would. Working out also releases brain chemicals known as endorphins that act as natural painkillers when you are experiencing pain. Some exercises you can do to stimulate your brain include:

• Getting a personal fitness trainer – Personal couches and trainers are experts in formulating workout plans according to your individual needs and fitness level. A personal trainer tracks your progress and switches up your exercise routine based on your progress. They can identify your strengths and give feedback on what you need to improve on. With them, you have the assurance that you are doing the appropriate exercises with the correct weights and at the ideal speed.

• Go for a run, ride a bike, walk, or jog – If you are a beginner at working out, these are perfect low-intensity exercises to get you started. You can do them around your home or on your estate while enjoying the calming benefits of nature at the same time. You can also find a hiking or biking trail ad tag a friend along to make it more interesting.

• Fitness boot camp – A fitness boot camp is a training program that involves dynamic stretching, running, and interval training. Personal trainers and gymnasiums usually conduct intense strength training sessions for different groups.

• Group exercise classes – You can consider joining a yoga, Zumba, or dancing lesson for some fun workouts. These groups usually consist of like-minded people, and they can be your support system during your recovery.

Eating Balanced Diets for a Healthy Mind

Different foods have different nutritional benefits, and you need to eat good-quality balanced diets to help with your recovery. Do away with caffeine because it triggers anxiety and panic attacks. Also, reduce your meat and dairy intake to reduce depression. Some of the best foods to include in your diet are:

• Foods rich in folates such as kale, beans, nuts, whole grains, and fruits reduce your risk of depression.
• Omega-3 fatty acids help stabilize your mood and reduce depression. Some foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include eggs, spinach, seafood, chia seeds, and flaxseed oil.
• Vitamin D also helps relieve depression symptoms and is found in tuna and salmon. Some vitamin D-fortified foods include orange juice and milk.

Signs That You Need to Attend a Rehab Program

Drug and alcohol addiction is a progressive disorder, meaning it takes time to develop and gets worse with time. It is a chronic disease that is easier to treat when diagnosed in its early stages. It is easy for people to dismiss addiction when it is mild, but you should seek treatment before it becomes uncontrollable and even puts you at risk of other diseases like liver, heart, and cancer issues.

If your alcohol or drug intake affects your relationship with the people around you, it is time for you to seek treatment. The following are some warning signs that you need might need to attend rehab if:

• You experience a persistent urge to use the drug, or if each attempt you make to reduce taking it or control its intake is unsuccessful
• Using the drug or substance affects how you interact with the people around you
• You often end up using a higher amount of the substance than you initially intended
• You experience intense cravings for the drugs that you cannot control
• You are often unable to fulfill your responsibilities and obligations at home, in school, or at work because of the consistent use of the substance
• You find yourself taking the substance even in places and situations where it can cause hazards
• You cannot stop taking the drug or substance, even if it causes you recurrent psychological and physical issues.

It is possible to get over substance addiction with consistent effort and the right team. Contact an addiction center today for expert help on your recovery journey.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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