Are There Different Types of Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Programs?

The symptoms of alcoholism are eventually so unpleasant that sufferers seek help. In general, there are two primary types of help for alcoholism. One is inpatient treatment that can become residential treatment if it’s warranted. The second type of help is outpatient alcohol treatment programs. The story doesn’t end there, though, because there are several types of outpatient treatment programs available for people who suffer from alcoholism. Which type is right for you will depend on your situation.

You might wonder why you’d choose outpatient over inpatient. If you can detox from alcohol without seizures or great physical and emotional distress, you might prefer outpatient treatment because it comes with more freedom than inpatient programs. You don’t have to live without your family or friends day-to-day, you can still work while getting treatment, and you don’t have to leave your cozy home environment.

When Outpatient Treatment Is Warranted

If you’ve decided that you’re at wit’s end with unpleasant effects from alcohol, and you want to quit but find it’s not that simple, then an outpatient program might be right for you. Outpatient is convenient and possible for people who do not experience extreme physical and psychological effects during withdrawal. If the withdrawal is mild enough and you believe you are committed to sobriety, it’s possible to use outpatient recovery programs instead of inpatient.

The type of outpatient recovery that’s right for you will depend on your mental health history, the severity of your withdrawal, your level of craving for alcohol, and many other pertinent factors. There’s no one-treatment-fits-all for patients, but there are a few common types of outpatient alcohol treatment programs that are available to you.

Different Types Of Outpatient Treatment Programs

There are three major types of programs that are structured to fit the needs of clients with varying levels of alcohol dependence. These programs are:

  • Day Treatment
  • Intensive Outpatient
  • Continuing Support Groups

The most intensive of these treatment options is the “day treatment” option. You may go to the program for a half-day or a full day, but generally, the treatment structure will be many hours long, and you’ll be engaged in activities that are designed to help you be fully involved in recovery during the entire outpatient session. These programs can last from a couple of weeks to many months. You only complete the program when you feel comfortable with your sobriety and ready to move onto the next step.

Intensive outpatient programs typically have a single meeting during the day, whether with a counselor or a group meeting led by a counselor, and they won’t last as long as the day programs. You go to several meetings a week and then get a lot of support from your family and friends as well. This is an ideal situation for people who have work and other daily commitments.

Continuing groups meet less often than day treatment or intensive outpatient, but they still form a vital part of relapse prevention and continuing meaningful sobriety. Once detox is over, and once intensive treatment is over, the question is how fulfilling will your sobriety be? By continuing to go to meetings with counselors and peers, you increase your quality of sobriety and grow your support system.

Outpatient Works

Inpatient treatment is the only option for some people who have severe alcoholism, but for those who have a great outside support system and still have jobs and responsibilities, inpatient isn’t necessarily an option. If you’re one of those people or know someone who is, it’s nice to know that there are varying levels of outpatient programs that can meet your needs and still give you the chance to continue running your own life.

Families can be very close during the outpatient treatment process, as they form a vital safety net around the recovering individual. Every outpatient program will vary on meeting times, philosophy of recovery, and flexibility of meeting times. Make sure that you choose a program that you’re comfortable with, that lays out its rules and philosophy clearly, and follow the advice of program leaders so that you get the most out of your sobriety. Finding meaning and joy in life is the ultimate aim of all people, and outpatient treatment programs can lead to a higher quality of life for some people. They offer you the ability to get the intensive help you need without having to give up a job, school, or outside life.

If you are interested in starting a type of outpatient program, please call our counselors at 833-762-3739.