How Can Outpatient Treatment Benefit Me?

How Can Outpatient Treatment Benefit Me?

Outpatient treatment is generally less expensive than residential care and can be a good choice for many patients recovering from addiction

Although addiction to drugs like Xanax affects people in similar ways, there are enough differences between personal situations that no one treatment program is the right choice for every patient. Selecting the appropriate treatment and level of care is an important initial decision in the recovery process. One of the first choices to be made is whether to pursue residential or outpatient treatment.

The outpatient versus inpatient decision must be made at multiple points because addiction treatment is a multi-phase process involving detox, active treatment and aftercare. Aftercare is generally delivered in an outpatient setting, but detox and active treatment can be administered on either an outpatient or residential basis. The nature of the addictive substance, the strength and duration of the addiction, the depth of a patient’s support system and financial considerations are all factors that influence the decisions.

Choosing Detox Treatment

There are a number of criteria to be considered when determining the appropriate detox treatment setting and level of care. A publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration titled “Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment notes that factors to be considered include the potential for acute withdrawal, biomedical complications, readiness for change, relapse potential, living environment, and emotional, behavioral and cognitive factors. They note that patients and healthcare providers should collaborate in developing a care plan.

The American Society for Addiction Medicine has defined five levels of care for detox services; two of which are outpatient programs. The lowest level of care is outpatient without extended onsite monitoring. This is outpatient care which may be delivered in an office setting, patient’s home or healthcare or addiction treatment facility. Monitoring is done by trained clinicians and follows a predetermined schedule. It may be appropriate for patients without medical complications who have a strong social support network.

The next level of care is outpatient detox from the substance of addiction like Xanax with extended onsite monitoring. This option involves several hours a day of monitoring by registered or licensed practical nurses. This may occur in a hospital or clinic setting.

The third level is clinically managed residential care, which emphasizes peer services and is appropriate for people who need round-the-clock support. Medically monitored inpatient detox is the next level and provides 24-hour care supervised by medical professionals. The final level of care is medically managed intensive inpatient treatment, which generally occurs at a psychiatric hospital and is appropriate for patients who need the most supervision and support.

When medically appropriate, outpatient detox can be a viable choice even for patients who plan to attend a residential rehab program. It may be especially prudent for patients with health insurance plans that limit the number of residential treatment days covered. By separating detox from active treatment, the time spent in a residential program can be maximized.

The Advantages of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

After detox has been completed, active treatment is begun to end the addiction to drugs like Xanax. This may involve education, counseling, relapse prevention, motivational enhancement and more. Generally, residential programs are the best choice for patients with severe or longstanding addictions, but outpatient programs are a good choice for many patients. Advantages to outpatient programs include the following:

  • Expense – Because patients are not paying for food and lodging, outpatient programs tend to be less expensive than residential treatment.
  • Employment – Some outpatient programs meet on the evening or weekends and allow patients who work weekday daytime hours to maintain their employment during treatment.
  • Family responsibilities – It can be difficult, both emotionally and logistically, for parents of young children to leave them for a stay in a residential treatment facility. Participating in outpatient treatment generally allows patients to maintain many of their family responsibilities and stay involved in their children’s lives.
  • Real-life training – A residential treatment program isolates patients from their sources of drugs and alcohol and from many of their substance use cues. Although this can be beneficial, patients must learn new skills when they return to their everyday lives. In contrast, patients in outpatient treatment are learning the skills within the context of their daily reality and are not faced with the same challenges when they finish their treatment such as temptations to their drug of choice like Xanax.

Differences between Outpatient Programs

Outpatient programs vary greatly in intensity. Some meet for only a few hours a week and focus primarily on education. Others meet for many hours daily and offer counseling and other therapies that are very similar to what is offered in most residential programs.

Some outpatient programs are designated as intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) or intensive outpatient treatment (IOT). In a guide for clinicians, SAMHSA notes that IOT involves 6 to 30 hours of contact a week and lasts for at least 90 days. It includes step-up and step-down levels of care varying in intensity and duration. Services include assessment, counseling (group, individual, and family), education, support group integration, relapse prevention, substance use monitoring and vocational services. Some programs include detox, childcare and outreach.

Supplementing Residential Care with Outpatient Treatment

In a publication titled “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide,” the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes the importance of adequate treatment duration and states that three months of treatment is generally needed. Even patients who decide that residential care is the best choice for them may find that their insurance coverage is limited and that three months in a residential facility is cost-prohibitive. For these patients, attending an outpatient program after their residential stay ends can be a wise choice.

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If you would like to discuss your addiction treatment options for addiction to drugs like Xanax, give us a call. Our helpline is toll-free and available 24 hours a day. We can answer your questions and can even check your insurance coverage for you if you wish, at no cost or obligation. Call now, and let us help you find your path to freedom.

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