The success of an outpatient treatment program begins with setting realistic expectations and understanding how your program works. While programs will differ, you can get a general sense of the most important aspects of outpatient treatment in advance while you do your research. Today, we’re spotlighting five elements to get acquainted with first as you prepare to begin addressing a substance use disorder with these kinds of services.
Outpatient treatment programs provide several advantages to beginning work on your recovery, including integrating treatment into your existing life and schedule. Access to a healthy peer support group, the option of receiving virtual treatment right now during a time of social distancing, and involving family members and loved ones in your recovery are among the other benefits of an outpatient treatment program. Many programs also offer additional resources to help a patient repair or improve other areas of their lives while recovery is ongoing, such as access to help with housing solutions, life-skills development, childcare, legal services, and more.
1. Outpatient treatment is integrated into your existing life, without pausing it.
Unlike residential treatment of 30 days or longer, an outpatient program allows you to continue working and taking care of your other personal and family responsibilities while focusing on your recovery. The strategies you learn in individual and group therapy sessions can be applied to your life immediately with follow-up on their success or need for additional support in future sessions.
2. Outpatient treatment is an opportunity to create a healthy peer support group.
Sustaining recovery for weeks and months at a time comes in part from having a strong peer support group, and one can be created through people you meet in your program. You may find peers with similar circumstances at home or similar past experiences who become a routine supportive part of your week and grow into something more. This outside support can be especially valuable as your family members may need some time to become aware of how to effectively support you during and after your treatment program.
3. Outpatient treatment is available in person or by video chat.
While standard outpatient treatment takes place at a clinic, social distancing in place right now has prompted more programs to offer virtual treatment options via video chat. Participating in a video chat allows you to take advantage of a program’s benefits without the need to travel to and from a program location, freeing up more time to practice what you’re learning in your sessions and spend time with family and loved ones. The basic requirements for outpatient treatment via video chat are a PC, laptop, or device with WiFi access or a strong signal for data use as well as a quiet space in your home to allow you to focus entirely on your program.
4. Outpatient treatment is a way to involve family and loved ones in your recovery.
Outpatient programs encourage family members and loved ones to take an active role in participating in your recovery, either through the program itself or through outside support groups. As family members are part of your daily life throughout an outpatient program, helping them better understand what to expect and how best to support you during and after an outpatient program is very important. Keep in mind, support from a close family member will be an evolution as they educate themselves and learn from interactions with you about what support strategies and responses are more or less effective.
5. Outpatient treatment is a resource for support to create balance and stability in your life.
Repairing or improving other areas of your life is essential as you work on your recovery, and outpatient treatment programs can provide a link to even more resources to allow you to make repairs or improvements. They include help with family case management, sober living, healthcare, legal services, continuing education, and more. If this is important to you as part of your overall recovery plan, make sure to ask your addiction specialist about what resources they provide before starting your program.