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Outpatient Day Treatment

Do you have a substance abuse problem? If so, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that out of every ten people in the U.S., one of them is addicted to drugs or alcohol. You might be wondering whether you’re an addict or an alcoholic, or if you’re just having a temporary problem with substances. The difference is that while many heavy drinkers and drug users can quit or cut back when it suits them, addicts and alcoholics can’t quit without help.

If you can’t stop using drugs or alcohol even though you want to, you probably have an addiction problem. If you’ve incurred serious consequences due to drinking and drugging, but continue to drink and drug anyway, you probably have an addiction problem. If, even with the best intentions, you are unable to stop, control, or moderate your drinking or drugging no matter how severe the consequences and no matter how many consequences you incur, you probably have an addiction problem.

Where Can I get Help With a Substance Abuse Problem?

Substance abuse treatment programs are designed to help addicts and alcoholics get free of addiction. These programs are an effective treatment modality for active substance abusers as well as for those who have been sober in the past, but have since relapsed. The increasing demand for substance abuse treatment has led to the creation of many different types of drug and alcohol recovery programs.

There are substance abuse treatment programs across the country. They offer a great variety of recovery options including inpatient drug rehab, outpatient substance abuse treatment, 12 Step support groups, sober living residences, partial hospitalization programs, outpatient day treatment, and evening outpatient programs.

What Kind of Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program Would be Right for Me?

The best substance abuse treatment program for you will depend on your living situation, daily schedule, insurance coverage, geographic location, and addiction history. If you’ve been using drugs and alcohol heavily for a long time, you might need long-term intensive treatment in an inpatient or outpatient program that provides a lot of structure and a variety of services. Those whose addiction history is less severe might be best served in recovery by an outpatient program that provides only individual counseling and group therapy.

Regardless of the treatment option you choose, you will probably be participating in 12 Step meetings every day. Many treatment programs are based on the 12 Steps and incorporate 12 Step meetings into their services. Members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) might bring 12 Step meetings into an inpatient treatment facility, or the inpatient facility staff might take patients to 12 Step meetings outside of the facility. In outpatient programs, daily participation in 12 Step meetings can be part of the treatment plan.

Will I Need A Substance Abuse Detox?

If your addiction history is relatively short and you’re basically a binge drinker or an occasional heavy drug user, you might be able to detox by yourself with minimal discomfort. However, long term alcoholics and drug abusers should always be medically detoxed in an inpatient facility.

Depending on which substances you've been abusing and for how long, withdrawing on your own can be dangerous. Check with a doctor who specializes in addiction medicine before you attempt to detox by yourself. If you need a medically supervised detox, but can't enter an inpatient facility, an ambulatory detox program where you can be withdrawn from substances without becoming an inpatient would be a good option for you.

What are Substance Abuse Outpatient Programs?

There are all sorts of outpatient treatment options for substance abusers. On one hand, there are highly intensive outpatient drug and alcohol programs that patients attend during the day. Also known as outpatient day treatment or partial hospital hospitalization treatment, these programs generally meet every day and are ideal for those who require intensive long term care, but are unable to enter a residential drug rehab facility.

Outpatient treatment services for addicts and alcoholics are also offered in the evening. Although evening outpatient treatment is shorter and less intensive than outpatient day treatment, outpatient evening programs are a good fit for patients who have jobs during the day, or who are otherwise unable to attend day programs.

Other outpatient treatment options include programs that meet only in the morning, only in the afternoon, or which require attendance only a few days per week. Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab facilities also offer stand alone recovery services such as individual counseling, substance abuse counseling, and group therapy.

What is Substance Abuse Outpatient Day Treatment?

Although every outpatient drug and alcohol program is unique, the terms “outpatient day treatment", "day hospital", and "partial hospitalization" usually refer to long term intensive outpatient treatment that's offered during the day, often in a hospital setting. Patients attend the program five days per week, for six hours per day.

Most outpatient day treatment programs are very similar to inpatient programs in terms of the services offered. They differ from inpatient programs only in that patients are free to do as they please when they are not in attendance at the program. Outpatient day treatment is appropriate for serious substance abusers who require long term care and for those with a psychiatric condition in addition to an addiction problem.

Attendance at a day program might be short term or long term depending on the history and the needs of the patient. Many day hospital programs serve patients with coexisting addiction problems and psychiatric disorders. Patients who have substance abuse problems with no underlying psychiatric disorder generally require less time in treatment than those who suffer from both. Patients with coexisting drug and psychiatric problems sometimes remain in outpatient day treatment for several years.

Substance abuse day treatment is intensive, highly structured, and designed to help patients identify and explore root causes for addiction. Substance abuse is considered a complex disease with emotional, mental, and spiritual components. 12 Step programs address the spiritual aspects of addiction, while the emotional and mental components are addressed in individual psychotherapy and group therapy.

Patients also receive family counseling, attend drug and alcohol education workshops, are helped to identify triggers, and to manage triggers without relapsing. Many day programs teach patients life skills such as stress management and goal attainment while incorporating relaxation techniques like yoga and recreational activities like hiking into their programs.

When the outpatient day treatment program is completed, patients are given aftercare plans which stress the importance of continuing to participate in 12 Step meetings on a regular basis. Some facilities provide follow-up care where the patient is monitored for the first few weeks after treatment to ensure that he or she remains on track for recovery. If, after discharge, the patient is in danger of relapsing, he or she might return to the day treatment program temporarily in order to get back on target.

What are Dual Diagnosis Programs and Who are They For?

A fair number of addicts and alcoholics have underlying psychiatric conditions that exacerbate their addictions. Drugs and/or alcohol may have been initially used to manage or “self medicate” a psychiatric disorder. For example, someone with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder might have initially used drugs and alcohol to relieve the symptoms of anxiety, only to discover down the road that they now have an addiction problem in addition to an anxiety disorder.

Addicts and alcoholics with underlying psychiatric disorders receive a “dual diagnosis.” They have an addiction problem and a coexisting psychiatric disorder. For this reason they require a greater level of care than do addicts and alcoholics without psychiatric disorders. If the underlying psychiatric condition goes untreated, dual diagnosed addicts and alcoholics are at great risk for relapse.

Patients in recovery who are dual diagnosed are generally given non-addictive prescription medications to treat their psychiatric symptoms. Once the psychiatric disorder is under control, the patient can focus solely on recovery from drugs and alcohol. For example, a patient who is diagnosed with depression and placed on a suitable antidepressant medication will be less at risk for using drugs and alcohol to treat their symptoms of depression as long as the depression medication is continued.

Relapse Prevention in Outpatient Day Treatment for Substance Abuse

Most outpatient day treatment programs will furnish you with a relapse prevention plan designed to help you stay clean and sober after completing treatment. Relapse prevention training also includes learning new tools that can help you maintain sobriety. Most programs will advise you to attend 12 Step meetings as often as every day and to let your doctor know if you think you are in danger of a relapse.

Where Can I Find Outpatient Day Treatment Programs in My Area?

On the Treatment Directory website, you can search for outpatient day treatment programs in your area and learn about the types of programs that are offered. Most insurance policies will cover outpatient day treatment for substance abuse and mental illness, but you might be responsible for deductibles and co-payments. If you need help finding a suitable program or have additional questions about outpatient day treatment, please call us for personal assistance.

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