As more people seek help for their substance abuse problems, the concept of outpatient treatment programs gains popularity. This type of program has become desirable, especially because it allows recovering addicts to participate in treatment without having to abandon their daily responsibilities. This greater sense of freedom is one of the major factors that distinguishes outpatient treatment from inpatient programs.

Since outpatient treatment is less structured than inpatient programs, it’s reasonable to expect it to take a little longer. The weekly schedule for outpatient treatment is less restrictive, so recovering addicts can continue to function. This can lead those seeking treatment for the first time wondering how much time will be spent in treatment. This overview can settle some of those concerns and provides a general overview of outpatient treatment programs.

How Much Time Do You Spend in Outpatient Treatment Programs?

While outpatient treatment allows you to live at home, you are required to spend a significant portion of each day in treatment sessions. Most programs require recovering addicts to attend treatment at least five days a week and each day requires full-time attendance. Alternatively, some facilities offer seven day programs, which allow the patients to adopt part-time daily schedules. This may be preferable for those with more responsibilities outside of treatment.

As the individual begins participating in the outpatient treatment program, he or she may be required to spend much of each day participating in various types of group and one-on-one therapy sessions. A daily 10-12 hour schedule is typically filled with counseling, peer group meetings, and other activities. However, as the individual progresses through the program, he or she may not be required to spend as much time engaged in therapy sessions. Over time, they may be able to reduce the amount of time spent at the treatment facility each day, although this will depend on the programs offered by the facility and the severity of the individual’s addiction.

How Long Does Outpatient Treatment Last?

As might be expected, an outpatient treatment program does take longer to complete than an inpatient program. While inpatient treatment can usually be completed within six months, an outpatient program can take up to one year to complete. On average, addicts spent about 10 weeks in outpatient treatment. However, as previously mentioned, the time you spend in treatment each day will taper down over time. While you will spend the majority of your day in treatment as you begin the program, your schedule will become more lenient as you near completion of your treatment.

Of course, these estimates won’t apply to every case. The amount of time you spend in therapy each day and the time it takes to complete treatment will depend on your situation. People who have spent years struggling with addiction to harder drugs will likely require more time to complete a program than someone who has only been using for a shorter period of time. Each individual’s treatment will be tailored to fit his or her situation.

What Does Outpatient Treatment Entail?

Each day in treatment will involve several different types of sessions. As you begin the program, your condition will be evaluated and this will help to determine your needs. At this time, you’ll be assigned a therapist for one on one counseling. Your therapist will help you address personal issues that affect your addiction, yet can’t be discussed in a public forum. When you’re not meeting with your therapist privately, you’ll be engaged in peer support group meetings and other social activities.

Some of the topics that will be addressed in the outpatient treatment program may include:

  • Coping with withdrawal symptoms
  • Preventing relapses
  • Coping with triggers and cravings
  • Understanding how substance abuse affects brain chemistry
  • The 12 Step Program
  • Embracing spirituality
  • Understanding co-occurring disorders

As you begin treatment, you may be wary of sharing your thoughts with other addicts, but you shouldn’t let yourself feel intimidated. Groups are small, usually involving no more than 10 participants per session. Additionally, everyone is there for the same reason and you’ll find this to be a supportive and safe environment.

If you would like to know more about outpatient treatment programs, you can contact our counselors at your convenience. Representatives can be reached at anytime of the day or night. We can help you understand more about the process, so you can begin your path to recovery.