When it comes to entering rehab, most people don’t realize they have options. Many individuals envision living at an inpatient rehab center where their entire day is devoted to drug or alcohol addiction treatment. While this scenario is ideal for some people in the throes of addiction, what happens if inpatient rehab isn’t feasible for you or your family? What’s more, where do you go if you complete an inpatient rehab program but find you still need treatment?

This is where outpatient rehab comes in. Unlike an inpatient treatment center where individuals live full-time, in outpatient rehab, individuals participate in treatment at the facility during the day and are able to return home afterwards. If you’re considering drug or alcohol treatment, it’s important to learn about the different forms of rehab so you can decide which type of treatment program would best set you or your loved one up for long-term success. Keep reading to get our take on who is best served by outpatient rehab and what a typical outpatient rehab program is like.

Why Choose Outpatient Rehab?

While outpatient rehab can be a wonderful treatment option for many people, it’s important to note that starting treatment in outpatient rehab may not be the best choice for everyone. If you or your loved one has a serious, long-term addiction or has relapsed multiple times, inpatient rehab may be the best first step towards recovery. However, outpatient rehab works well for many people in a variety of life circumstances, such as:

After Completing an Inpatient Treatment Program

For many individuals, inpatient rehab is only the first step on the road to recovery. In fact, as recovery from addiction can take time, many people begin treatment in an inpatient facility and transition to outpatient rehab. This allows individuals to slowly regain independence as they move from living at a facility with intense supervision to living at home with more freedom but still being held accountable in treatment each day.

If your loved one is planning to complete an inpatient rehab program but would still benefit from addiction treatment, enrolling in outpatient rehab may be the next best step to set them up for long-term success. Speak to the appropriate staff and/or medical professionals at your loved one’s inpatient facility to determine if outpatient rehab would be a smart choice.

Struggling with Milder Forms of Substance Abuse

Individuals struggling with milder, more short-term forms of substance abuse may not need to begin treatment in an inpatient facility. The important caveat here is that the affected individual needs to have the motivation and discipline to stop using and remain sober, as they will have more freedom in outpatient rehab. As mentioned previously, if you or your loved one has a history of relapse or is struggling long-term addiction, outpatient rehab may not be the right choice initially. However, outpatient rehab may still be a suitable option once the individual in question completes an inpatient rehab program.

Needing a Flexible Schedule

For some people, inpatient rehab is not an option due to work, school, or family obligations. In this case, outpatient rehab can be a viable option for drug or alcohol treatment. Many outpatient rehab facilities have different types of programs for people entering treatment and can work with your schedule to make treatment possible for you.

Requiring Lower Cost Options

Some individuals may find that inpatient rehab is too costly. In fact, certain health insurance plans do not cover inpatient treatment but may contribute toward the cost of outpatient rehab. Be sure to speak with your health insurance carrier to determine your benefits for drug and alcohol treatment. Many rehab facilities have a member of staff dedicated to helping individuals figure out financing for treatment, as well.

Having a Stable Home Life and Strong Support System

As recovering from substance abuse or addiction is not an easy road, a person in outpatient rehab needs to have a stable home life and strong support system. Since the affected individual will be living at home during treatment, the person’s home needs to be one that is supportive of the individual’s sobriety. In addition, the person should have a strong network of family and friends to encourage them in recovery and help prevent relapse.

For some individuals, living at home is not the best option while in outpatient rehab. They may require a higher level of accountability or need to repair family dynamics in treatment before living at home full-time. For these people, sober housing can be a great option. Sober living homes allow individuals to go to treatment during the day but reside in a house inhabited by other sober individuals and have staff supervision. If you or a loved one is in need of sober housing, be sure to speak with the appropriate staff at your outpatient rehab who can help secure living arrangements.

Services Offered in Outpatient Rehab

Aside from living at the facility and having round-the-clock supervision, individuals in outpatient rehab programs often have access to similar treatment options as those in inpatient care.

If you’ve determined that outpatient rehab may be a good fit for your friend or family member, the next step is learning about how outpatient rehab programs work and what services may be offered. It’s important to note here that every outpatient rehab program is different and it may take some research to figure out which outpatient rehab facility will best serve your loved one. Be sure to speak with a trusted medical or mental health professional as well as the treatment coordinator out the outpatient rehab facility to help decide if the rehab program in question would be appropriate for your loved one’s needs.

Services that may be offered at outpatient rehab facilities can include:

  • Individual Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • 12-Step Groups
  • Medication Management
  • Psychiatric Care
  • Case Management
  • Addiction Education
  • Nutrition and Fitness Education
  • Spiritual Guidance
  • Financial Planning
  • Career or Education Goal Setting
  • Mentorship
  • Alumni Program
  • Sober Housing Coordination
  • Aftercare Planning

Another point to consider is whether or not the outpatient rehab program provides personalized treatment plans. At Nexus, we believe that treatment is not one-size-fits-all. Consequently, we favor outpatient rehab centers that can customize treatment based on an individual’s personal needs. We recommend speaking with staff at any outpatient rehab facility you’re considering to discuss how treatment plans are created and if personalized care is available.

Levels of Care in Outpatient Rehab

Many outpatient rehab facilities have different levels of care for individuals in treatment. This allows people to begin at a higher level of care with more hours per day spent at the facility and transition into lower levels of care as the individual progresses in recovery. At Nexus, we operate on a tiered system. This means that the majority of our clients begin treatment with full, eight-hour days and move to lower levels of care over time. At Nexus, the three levels of care are as follows:

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

The Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) is for people who are new to the recovery process or are transitioning to our care from an inpatient rehab program and still require a high level of care. In this program, individuals participate in recovery activities for a minimum of six hours a day, five days a week.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

The Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is great for those who need a part-time but still intensive schedule that can accommodate their school, work, and/or family obligations. IOP can also be a good option for those who are transitioning from an inpatient rehab facility. At the IOP level of care, individuals participate in treatment for three to four hours a day, three to five days a week.

Outpatient Program (OP)

The Outpatient Program (OP) is for those who have completed an intensive outpatient program or for individuals who require less intensive treatment and need a flexible schedule to accommodate work, school, or family life. At the OP level of care, clients participate in the program for two hours a day, one day a week.

Aftercare Program

Many people require lifelong accountability and support to maintain sobriety. Consequently, reputable outpatient rehab programs should be able to provide continued support as individuals transition back to their communities. Those who complete the Outpatient Program at Nexus are able to participate in regular recovery support activities such as weekly 12-step meetings and our Alumni Program.

Choosing Your Level of Care

Many outpatient rehab centers offer PHP, IOP, OP, and Aftercare programs. Always discuss what levels of care are available at any outpatient rehab facility you may be considering and consult with the appropriate medical professionals or addiction treatment specialists to determine which level of care would be best for your friend or family member.

Is Outpatient Rehab Right for You?

If you believe outpatient rehab is the best choice for you or your loved one, Nexus is here to help. Our trusted recovery advisors are able to provide free and confidential consultations to help determine if our outpatient rehab program may be right for you. If we feel that you or your friend or family member may be better served in an inpatient rehab program or other level of care, we are happy to provide referrals to facilities that we trust.


Contact us today and speak with one of our recovery advisors.


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