Outpatient Treatment for Alcoholism; Is It Worth It?

Dealing with alcoholism isn’t something that individuals can successfully treat and manage on their own. Professional help in an accredited facility is vital, but that help can come in many different varieties. The two main formats are inpatient and outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment can absolutely be worth it, particularly if it’s the best fit for patients who may not otherwise commit to a recovery program for their alcoholism.

Defining Outpatient Treatment

The first step in determining whether outpatient treatment is suitable is learning more about what it entails. To start, it’s important to note that outpatient treatment doesn’t include accommodation. Outpatient care is generally only scheduled for the day or during evenings, and patients spend their nights in their own homes or their own privately arranged accommodation.

Aside from the accommodation, however, outpatient treatment can resemble inpatient treatment in many ways. It’s common for patients in outpatient programs to have schedules for their days, and patients should expect to participate in one-on-one behavioral therapy sessions as well as group counseling. Fitness, music or art therapies can absolutely be a part of an outpatient recovery program.

Outpatient care programs can vary significantly among facilities. In some cases, it can be offered five days a week, encouraging full-time involvement on a regular basis. In other cases, it might be an evening program. Still more facilities offer morning or afternoon programs just a few times each week to better accommodate those with busy schedules.

Outpatient Programs May Appeal to Patients More Than Inpatient Care

One way that outpatient treatment can be beneficial for those struggling with alcoholism is that it’s less restrictive than inpatient treatment. Many individuals understand that in order to recover from an addiction to alcohol, professional treatment is a necessity. However, not all individuals want to commit to 24/7 treatment, particularly if they have family or careers that also need attention.

For that reason, outpatient treatment is an important option to consider. While some individuals might not seek help if inpatient care was the only option, they may take the next step toward recovery if outpatient treatment is on the table. Outpatient care often appeals to independent individuals who don’t want to leave their homes or their lifestyles for extended periods of time.

Outpatient Programs Suitable for Parents and Caregivers

Outpatient treatment programs can be very effective in the battle against alcohol addiction. While they appeal to a wide range of potential patients, they may be an especially appropriate choice for those who have roles as parents or caregivers in the home.

Single parents who want to treat their addiction to alcohol, for instance, may not be able to leave their children for a 30-day inpatient program. However, it may be realistic for these parents to spend five mornings a week in an outpatient program while their children are in school or nursery care.

Many of the people who gravitate toward outpatient programs are also caregivers for older family members. Whether spouses or parents require care, it’s hard to leave them in order to seek help for addiction. Through outpatient treatment for alcoholism, individuals can also prioritize their own health but still spend time at home each day caring for loved ones.

Outpatient Treatment Can Accommodate Work and School

Outpatient treatment for alcoholism may also be an effective means of recovery for those patients who are committed to work or school obligations. For many patients with professional careers, it may be impossible to take an extended period of leave in order to receive 24/7 care. However, fitting in a few hours each morning or evening may be possible.

Outpatient treatment is also appealing to college students who may have flexible schedules but still need to attend classes or lectures at specific times. Outpatient treatment can accommodate these fixed times but still allow patients to receive group counseling, behavioral therapy and a range of other treatments to encourage recovery. Many people who believe that addiction treatment is impossible with their current schedules will find that outpatient programs fit the bill perfectly.

Costs of Outpatient Treatment Can be Lower

Outpatient treatment, by nature, is a less expensive alternative to inpatient care. This is not because the staff are any less professional, or that the program is any less successful. Instead, it’s simply because there’s no need for accommodation, which spares patients this extra expense.

Outpatient programs are also more likely to be entirely covered through health insurance. Any patients who are concerned about the cost of addiction treatment may be interested in exploring outpatient alternatives that minimize costs without cutting back on the level of care, the available therapies or even the quality of medical professionals and therapists on staff.

Outpatient Programs May Encourage Personal Responsibility

One of the biggest benefits of outpatient treatment for alcoholism is that it may be effective in strengthening personal responsibility. Rather than having a transition period from 24/7 inpatient care and accountability to independent living, patients will start taking responsibility for their actions on day one.

This may lessen one of the biggest programs in addiction treatment: how to handle aftercare. Patients who thrive in inpatient programs for 30, 60 or 90 days may be struck with difficulty when they’re living entirely on their own. Outpatient care, on the other hand, is already a transitional phase that enables patients to take responsibility and act appropriately even when spending the majority of their time out of supervised care.

Outpatient care may also reduce the need for transitional living in the form of sober living facilities. Since patients have already proven themselves to be successful at independent living and sticking to a regular schedule of treatment, they’re likely ready to dive back into their lifestyles without sacrificing their independence.

Outpatient treatment can definitely be worth it for the right patients. It’s possible to tackle alcoholism with treatments and therapies and still come home each night. Outpatient programs may be more appealing than the 24/7 nature of inpatient treatment, and they can accommodate a wide range of schedules and lifestyles.