Outpatient Addiction Treatment: How Does It Work; Is It Effective?

Updated on September 29, 2020

Battling addiction can feel like a long, lonely journey that no one understands. But rest assured, you’re not alone.

19.7 million Americans over the age of 12 battled some form of substance use disorder according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. And the good news is, help is out there.

Outpatient addiction treatment may be a great way to overcome your struggles. But what is it, and how does it stack up to an inpatient treatment program?

You’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to get answers to these questions and more!

How Does Outpatient Addiction Treatment Work?

An outpatient addiction treatment program offers many of the same benefits of an inpatient program. Both help people detox and recover in a safe, medically-supervised environment and learn healthy coping mechanisms and recovery strategies.

Almost all programs offer extensive mental health counseling, as well.

However, outpatient participants don’t stay at the facility itself. Instead, patients go home after treatment each day.

Still, treatment is thorough and comprehensive. Sessions can sometimes last for the better part of a day.

Is It Right for Me?

Now that we have a better idea of what outpatient drug addiction treatment looks like, let’s talk about some of its benefits…and drawbacks. These tips could prove essential in helping you find a treatment program for yourself or a loved one, so consider these pros and cons carefully.


Likely the biggest benefit of an outpatient program is that it’s less disruptive to a patient’s life. They’re still getting great treatment, but they’re able to stay accessible to friends and family who can provide valuable support and accountability.

As a matter of fact, you may not even have to leave your home to get treatment. Some facilities, like the Edison outpatient drug rehab center, give patients the ability to choose virtual treatment. As a result, you can still stay at home and take care of your family while getting the treatment you deserve.

Outpatient programs are often more affordable than inpatient programs, as well. Since you’re not paying to your lodging or meals, you can expect to save a few thousand dollars. Plus, your insurance may cover most of the costs associated with the program.


While outpatient services are wonderful, there are some red flags to stay aware of.

Though treatment makes up the bulk of a patient’s day, the idle hours after can prove tempting. Therefore, relapses aren’t uncommon, especially for patients who don’t have a strong support system to lean on.

There’s also no guarantee that you’ll get the level of treatment you deserve. Since there are only so many hours in the day, patients who require more intensive care are best suited for an inpatient program.

Help Is Out There

Whether you choose to attend an inpatient program or outpatient addiction treatment, know that addiction doesn’t have to dictate the rest of your life. By choosing to get clean, you’re making a better life for yourself and your loved ones.

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