Ideal Client for Outpatient Treatment
According to ASAM, the ideal client for outpatient treatment as one who has a lower relapse risk and a higher degree of motivation to change addictive behaviors. This person likely has a stable home environment and a social circle of family and friends who are supportive of the person’s journey to recovery.
It is expected that this person is less likely to return to substance use during or after treatment due not only to the preventive factors of the person’s surrounding environment, but also to the person’s sincere desire to learn to manage cravings and triggers, and stop abusing the drugs that have disrupted that person’s life. Research shows that these individuals are most likely to achieve long-term recovery, as described in Alcohol Research and Health.
Types of Treatment Programs
As defined by ASAM, outpatient services range from low-intensity treatment plans of fewer than nine hours per week to higher-intensity intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization plans that range from nine hours to more than 20 hours per week of services.
These programs include combinations of:
- Support group programs, such as 12-Step groups, for motivation and support
- Individual or group behavioral therapies
- Educational programs and presentations
- Family therapy, as needed
The higher-intensity programs may have more therapy sessions and may include motivational therapy. Regardless of this, individuals are able to live at home and access the support provided by family and friends for recovery, as well as keep up with job, school, and other daily responsibilities over the course of treatment.
Outpatient services can often be used as a follow-up to inpatient treatment in order to help individuals with high risk of relapse to transition more slowly back into daily life after rehab.
Cost of Outpatient Treatment
Outpatient treatment is less expensive than inpatient, mostly because of the ability to get treatment without also having to cover room and board. Some forms of outpatient treatment, such as 12-Step program elements, can be free. However, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient services generally incur higher costs.
Insurance plans often cover certain aspects of outpatient treatment that can make it more affordable. This includes Medicare, Medicaid, and plans available under the Affordable Care Act. Private plans also often cover certain aspects of treatment.
Care must be used, however, not to select outpatient treatment based on cost alone. If inpatient treatment is warranted, choosing outpatient services instead can result in a decreased likelihood of recovery, resulting in a lost investment.