Outpatient addiction treatment is a popular choice for individuals suffering from different kinds of substance use disorders. These can include addictions to alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, prescription drugs, and many others.
Outpatient rehab is attractive to many because of the freedom and flexibility it affords. If you are under an outpatient program, you can return home every day after your scheduled therapies. You don’t even have to take extended leaves from work or school.
However, outpatient rehab is not perfect. It has its drawbacks too. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of outpatient treatment.
Advantages of outpatient addiction treatment
Cheaper than inpatient rehab
In outpatient treatment, you only have to pay for the professional fees of the therapists who will work with you, plus a few other fees the rehab center may charge. Compared to inpatient rehab, these costs are much lower.
If you’re in an inpatient program, the costs go up because of the different services given to you. These include lodging, food, water, use of the rehab center’s facilities, as well as recreational amenities. You even have 24/7 support from medical staff in case of emergencies. All of these add to the enormous cost of inpatient rehab.
But in outpatient treatment, you don’t get any of those perks. You don’t have to stay for months in the rehab center; you only have to go there during your daily therapy sessions. Thus, outpatient treatment is a lot cheaper.
No need to stay in a facility for a long time
Another great benefit to outpatient treatment is you only have to go to the rehab center during your scheduled therapies. After each session is done, you are free to go back home. That means you can still fulfill family obligations, as well as responsibilities at work or your studies.
Having the freedom to go home every day can be a huge thing in recovery. For one, you are in a familiar place most of the time. A rehab center is a completely different turf, so if you have to stay in one, you need to adjust. And adjustment may take a while, especially if you’re in a place as unfamiliar as a rehab facility.
Also, you can be with your family most of the time. Being with familiar people can help a lot as you get used to the new habits you’ll build while in rehab.
Your family can support your recovery
Being with your family most of the time does not just provide a sense of familiarity and comfort. At the same time, your family can be your greatest source of support during your recovery journey.
This is especially true if both you and your family are on the same page — they want you to live a sober life as much as you do. If this is the case, your family can take steps to protect you from drug temptations and encourage you to stay clean as you go through rehab.
If your rehab program includes family therapy, this is a great way to get your family to actively participate in your recovery. Your therapist will coach your family on what they should and should not do to make sure that you make good progress.
Once your whole family is involved, the outcomes of recovery are much better.
You have control of your time
Outpatient programs may let you set your own schedules for therapies. This way, you can choose which times of the day are most convenient for going to therapy. With that, you do not need to set aside work, studies, or family responsibilities in favor of rehab.
Disadvantages of outpatient addiction treatment
You are more vulnerable to drug triggers
Since you are not living in a rehab facility, you can still be exposed to temptations to use drugs. These may increase your chances of relapsing even while in rehab.
For example, every time you return home from the rehab center, you pass by a place with a lot of drug users, and they often smoke or snort illegal substances outdoors. If you smell the drugs they’re taking, or see them using, you may get tempted to use drugs yourself.
Here’s another example. Suppose you’re in outpatient rehab for alcohol use disorder, but there’s always several bottles of liquor at home. That means your home has lots of temptations to keep drinking, which would definitely hinder your recovery process.
A toxic home environment will similarly jeopardize your recovery journey. If there are certain family members that give you a lot of distress, they can be really strong triggers to use drugs. Thus, returning home in this case will only make your situation worse.
No 24/7 support
Since you are not staying inside a rehab facility, you don’t have access to a team of medical and mental health professionals ready to assist you at any time. If an emergency or a mental health crisis happens outside of therapy hours, help is not as readily available as when you’re residing in a rehab facility.
You are not completely focused on recovery
Outside of therapy hours, you are free to do whatever you want. That includes taking drugs again. With that, it’s possible to sabotage your own recovery journey, whether unintentionally or intentionally.
Also, your daily routines may distract you from taking every necessary step in ensuring that you stay clean. For example, your therapist may ask you to do something once you get home. But because of family responsibilities, you no longer have time to do the homework.
Focusing on recovery is much harder when you still have the same daily routines.
Underlying conditions are not addressed properly
If you have an existing mental health condition alongside your substance use disorder, outpatient treatment may not be the best. You would need extra attention that you can only have when you’re residing in a rehab center.
If the underlying mental health condition is not treated as well, your chances of recovery are significantly lower.
Before you decide to enroll in outpatient addiction treatment, talk to a recovery professional first to see if it’s the best treatment route for you.