Outpatient addiction treatment has a ton of benefits for people who are trying to recover from substance abuse. After residential or inpatient treatment many people opt to do intensive outpatient treatment, often called IOP. This kind of care is a great way to get you grounded in recovery.
1. Continuum of Care
In the recovery world, you might hear people talk about the continuum of care. The continuum of care are the different levels of treatment that go from the most acute level all the way down to lowest intensity care. We recommended that people complete the whole continuum of care, because it means they are supported at every stage of recovery. There are continuums, like this one from SAMSHA that include prevention and education before addiction starts. However, what we are talking about are the different levels of care within treatment.
Outpatient treatment is beneficial because it is one part of this continuum of care. It allows you to get more support while you are transitioning away from not living at a treatment center.
Our Recommended Continuum of Care:
- Medical detox
- Inpatient addiction treatment
- Intensive outpatient treatment and sober living
- Outpatient treatment and sober living
- Regular therapy, recovery meetings, and sober living
- Regular therapy, recovery meetings, and returning home
2. Create a Sober Community
All conventional wisdom tells us that people recover better when they have a loving community supporting them. There has now even been research to back this up. A 2007 study conducted by researchers Laudet, Savage, & Mahmood, found that a key factor to recovery is “social and community support”.
One of the reasons outpatient treatment is great is that it gives you come time to start building this sober community. In IOP you might be going to meetings with other people from the program. Or, you might just be hanging out with them during free time. All of this quality social contact allows you to interact with other sober people. Rather than having to find a whole group of sober people on your own, IOP allows you to interact with a great community of them every day.
3. Discover Diverse Recovery Groups
We know that not everyone is a fan of every recovery meeting. But, the great thing is that if you don’t like one you can always try something else! IOP gives you exposure to a bunch of different recovery groups. You might go to Refuge Recovery, AA, and SMART recovery. This way you get to dip your toes in and see what you like.
The other thing IOP offers are non-recovery program groups. Every day during outpatient you have process groups that cover a wide range of topics. Here are
Some Groups You Might Find in Outpatient Treatment:
- Relapse prevention
- Family groups
- Meditation groups
- Medication management
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Art therapy
- Grief or trauma workshops
4. Access to Resources
Outpatient treatment gives you access to a bunch of resources that you might not otherwise have access to. Often treatment centers will provide transportation for you to and from IOP as well as to and from recovery meetings. This is especially awesome if you don’t have a car or live somewhere that doesn’t have good public transportation.
IOP also usually offers you access to a primary therapist and a psychiatrist. Rather than having to go all over for these appointments they can take place in the comfort of the outpatient facility. All of these resources are condensed into one location making it easy for you to access what is offered.
5. Keeping You Accountable
Outpatient treatment keeps you accountable to other people. Many people feel like when you have someone to be accountable to, it is harder to relapse. The site All About Counseling, recently wrote a really great piece about all the different ways accountability is helpful in recovery.
When you are in outpatient you have staff members, friends, and therapists to be accountable to every day. We really recommend building a network of other people to be accountable to when you leave. You might find a mentor or sponsor in a recovery program who you trust. Even just having sober friends to check in with can be great!
6. Insurance Coverage
One of the benefits of outpatient treatment is that it is often covered by insurance. This might seem like a strange thing to list, but it is really helpful. It means that all of these services are offered to you are very little or no cost. Depending on your insurance plan, it can be hard to get coverage for all of these services individually. However, when you are doing an IOP program they are likely going to be covered. You can click here to see if your insurance works for our facility.
7. Slow Reintegration
Finally, It can be hard to go from the safety of an inpatient treatment center to just living on your own. This is why we recommend slow reintegration. It is another reason why the continuum of care exists, it allows people to step back into life gradually. You don’t want to go from a totally safe container back into real life.
Getting back into the swing of things too quickly can leave you vulnerable to relapse. Going to IOP and sober living allows you to add back in some every day life activities while keeping you in a safe place. You might start seeing family more regularly, working a little, taking some classes, or other things like this. But all the time, you will know you have the safety of outpatient treatment most days.
If you are thinking about treatment is important to know what it will be like at every level of care. Hopefully this post gives you some idea of how outpatient treatment can be helpful.