On Choosing Outpatient Treatment for Substance Abuse

Substance abuse recovery treatment is a long process that puts strain on the patient’s body as well as the mind. While there is no single method for recovery that is failsafe for everyone, there are many options that can best suit different people and different addictions. The two most common methods are inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment.

Inpatient addiction treatment is the most commonly known form of substance abuse rehabilitation. This type of program can keep patients in the rehabilitation facility for stays between 28 and 90 days. For some patients, this is an ideal method of recovery, because it allows them time away from the distractions as well as temptations from everyday life, since there is no access to drugs or alcohol. But for others, the commitment of a three-month-long program, away from home and work, can provide additional stress, impeding the addiction recovery process.

What inpatient rehabilitation entails is detoxification for the first part of the process, followed by counseling and therapy sessions. These programs, which provide care around-the-clock, are best suited for patients who have had serious addictions to drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time, and who have unstable living environments.

The problem some patients have with inpatient addiction rehabilitation centers is being sequestered from their lives.

With outpatient addiction treatment, patients can remain in their homes and with their families but are still offered around-the-clock care if needed. Patients check in each day, except weekends and holidays, to receive medication and counseling. Therefore, people who rely on the support of family and friends can still be surrounded by loved ones throughout the process. Additionally, work life can remain constant throughout the outpatient treatment. Additionally, the cost of outpatient treatment is less than inpatient treatment programs.

Those participating in outpatient programs need to work hard to avoid the presence of drugs or alcohol and situations that could trigger relapse. However, a key benefit to outpatient treatment is that patients are working through their therapy in real time, dealing with the issues of day-to-day life while going through recovery. Participants of inpatient programs must wait until release to confront the daily realities and struggles and test what they’ve learned during treatment.

However, inpatient addiction treatment might be recommended if patients have a separate condition beyond addiction, which could be complicated by detoxification.

One important consideration is that whatever program is chosen, patients must seek out treatments that address and treat both the physical as well as the psychological addiction. Also, look for an addiction specialist who is licensed, with an education in the field. Make sure the facility itself is also licensed. Patients should have their bases covered and select a facility that offers different treatment lengths, in 45- to up to 90-day programs, even if the full amount of time isn’t needed. Finally, an essential for any treatment program is that it offers relapse assistance. While no one wants to plan for relapse, having the option open in case is a crucial consideration, and that preparation can be the parachute in a tough fall.

If you or someone you know is abusing drugs or alcohol, please, don’t wait. Get help before the consequences become worse. If you are in La Jolla or the surrounding areas and want more information on addiction or treatment, visit us at, or contact our office at 858-454-4357 (HELP).