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Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment More Effective Than Typical Outpatient Care?

Making the decision to get treatment for an addiction is a huge decision. Most people do so without a clear understanding about the addiction treatment process. An informed decision demands that the right person has all the facts before making any decision. When it comes to addiction treatment, there’s a lot of ways a treatment facility could administer treatment. Long gone are the days of assembly line treatment methods where everyone gets the same type and level of treatment. Modern-day drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers offer a wide range of treatment options and modalities.

Here’s a list of common treatment options a prospective might encounter at a high-level rehab center:

Standard Outpatient

Intensive Outpatient

Partial Hospitalization with outpatient follow ups

Inpatient – primary care (30-90 days)

Inpatient – extended care (over 90 days)

Dual Diagnosis treatment for co-existing conditions (psychological/addiction)

Behavioral and holistic (art, music, writing therapy) modalities

The treatment selection process is handled between the patient and the treatment facility’s staff members. During the selection process, several aspects of the addiction and the patient’s circumstances are taken into consideration. The criteria used includes:

The substance being abused by the patient

The depth and length of the patient’s addiction

The patient’s financial circumstances

The patient’s living circumstance and responsibilities

The patient’s current mindset and ability to function

For the most part, everyone wants to select the least invasive treatment option. For addiction treatment, that would be the outpatient and intensive outpatient options. The following discussion will focus on these two options and what a prospective patient can expect from the process.

Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment More Effective Than Typical Outpatient Care?

This is an interesting question. The truth is both types of treatment can be equally effective depending on what the patient actually needs. At the lowest level, clinicians will prescribe outpatient treatment under certain circumstance. If the patient’s addiction is moderate and they seem capable of maintaining some level of responsibility towards treatment, an outpatient program would probably suffice.

If money is an issue, an outpatient program might be all that the client can afford. If the patient can’t submit to residential treatment because of ongoing responsibilities at home (childcare), work or school, an outpatient program might be the only option.

Once the clinician and patient agree on using the outpatient approach, it’s just a matter of deciding if the patient needs intensive care instead of standard care. As for the effectiveness of either program, that will be determined by the patient’s ability to find and maintain recovery. Both options can be extremely effective if matched properly with the patient’s specific circumstances.

The following will discuss both options in more depth.

Standard Outpatient

A standard outpatient program makes sense when the patient doesn’t need detox and exhibits the ability to act with a higher level of responsibility. This type of program will usually require the patient to report to an outpatient facility several times a week. During the 2-3 hours they are at the facility, they will undergo therapy and counseling in both individual and group sessions. As long as they maintain sobriety, make all scheduled appointments and show progress, there’s a great chance a standard outpatient program will be very successful.

Intensive Outpatient

This type of program exists for patients who actually need residential care, but can’t afford it or those patients who have extenuating circumstances that would prevent them from being able to submit to residential treatment and living.

Intensive outpatient programs require a high-level of responsibility on the part of the patient. The facility’s staff will usually require a patient to be in-house for at least 6 hours a day. During that time, the patient will participate in some very intensive therapy programs, both individual and group sessions.

If the patient does not show good process or encounters relapse issues, an important decision has to be made by all concerned parties. The choices are moving the patient into residential treatment program or asking the patient to leave the program altogether. Obviously, the last option would be a last resort decision.

We hope this helps clarify the outpatient treatment process. If you would like more information about our outpatient and intensive outpatient options, we invite you to call us as soon as possible. Regardless of your circumstance, we have a treatment option that will work for you.

Ready to Make a Change?

We know that overcoming addiction is not easy and requires courage to ask for help. At Woburn Addiction Treatment, our team of professionals has decades of combined experience in helping men, women, and families overcome substance abuse.

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