Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Rehab

What’s the difference between outpatient and inpatient addiction treatment—and what’s the best option for yourself or your loved one? Here are the most important factors to consider.
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One year after treatment, 83% report no or low alcohol/drug cravings.

Outpatient treatment for substance abuse can be an ideal option if you have the motivation to get sober but can’t take leave from work, disrupt school attendance or step away from other responsibilities in order to stay at an inpatient rehab center. But the most effective treatment—whether a residential program or outpatient drug rehab—really depends on the severity of your substance abuse challenges and whether you’re also experiencing related medical or mental health complications.

Addiction to alcohol or other drugs is considered a spectrum disorder, meaning the condition can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. Outpatient rehab programs work best if you are experiencing mild or moderate substance abuse symptoms. An inpatient rehab program is a better fit if you’re on the more severe end of the spectrum or if you’re struggling with co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety or trauma.

Different levels of outpatient rehab are available at Hazelden Betty Ford treatment centers so that you can transition progressively from more frequent and intensive therapy to less intensive therapy as you gain the insight and skills to manage your recovery with less clinical support.

What are the different types of outpatient rehab?

Outpatient drug rehab programs vary in the number of days per week and hours per day of attendance. The right outpatient program for you depends on your treatment needs. Here are the most common outpatient options to consider:

Day Treatment

Also known as partial hospitalization, this is the highest level of outpatient drug and alcohol rehab available, with programming that typically meets five to seven days a week for up to six hours a day. Some people start drug rehab in our day treatment level of care and others transition into this program after completing inpatient addiction treatment.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Treatment is three to four days a week and includes a variety of groups and individual sessions. Specialty programs are available for LGBTQ+, male-identifying, female-identifying and for those with opioid use disorder.

Low-Intensity Outpatient Treatment

Low-Intensity Outpatient treatment is available for those who are demonstrating stability in many areas and can benefit from less-frequent clinical support in weekly group settings and monthly individual sessions. The number of session may be reduced as your clinical milestones are met. These groups are available for those who may be transitioning from a more structured treatment setting or may be a place to start to explore benefits of a recovery lifestyle.

How does outpatient drug rehab work and what is the difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab?

Outpatient treatment works the same way inpatient does, with the main difference being that inpatient treatment programs run 24/7 and often begin with a supervised detoxification period while outpatient programs meet for a set number of days per week and hours per day.

The main components of outpatient treatment at Hazelden Betty Ford include one-to-one counseling with an addiction professional, group therapy and educational sessions. At Hazelden Betty Ford, both inpatient and outpatient rehab incorporate evidence-based treatment practices such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), medication-assisted therapies and Twelve Step Facilitation. During inpatient rehab, spiritual care, wellness and mental health services are incorporated into the care you receive whereas in outpatient programs, these services are provided separately.

Family involvement in your rehab process is another important factor to consider in weighing outpatient treatment options. Because addiction affects the entire family, programs that offer family therapy, education, support and other resources are beneficial in helping all members of your family work through the challenges you’re experiencing, set healthy boundaries and rebuild relationships.

How long is outpatient rehab for alcohol or other drugs?

The goal of outpatient care programs at Hazelden Betty Ford centers is to stabilize your health and equip you with the knowledge, skills and resources to help you reclaim your life from addiction and prevent relapse.

Your pace through outpatient rehab won’t be identical to those around you. While there are common milestones in healing from addiction, your treatment and recovery path is your own—based on your specific situation, challenges and needs. Like diabetes or hypertension, addiction is a chronic disease. Regaining and maintaining your health means learning to manage your symptoms, first within the structure and support of a treatment setting and eventually in your home environment where you’re in charge of your sobriety.

Here are some of key indicators of what progress through treatment and into recovery looks like:

Getting Sober

  • By stopping your alcohol or drug use, you flush the chemicals from your system and allow your brain and body to begin healing
  • You begin to rejuvenate your body by eating well and exercising
  • Your brain and body begin to recalibrate so things like sleep begin to stabilize
  • Your mental and emotional health starts to stabilize so that spiritual healing can begin
  • You develop ways to do things differently
  • You replace the use of alcohol and other drugs with healthy behaviors
  • You learn how to deal with cravings
  • You take a look at how your behaviors didn’t reflect your values
  • You begin to see that you’re not alone in your addiction and your peers can help the recovery process

Strengthening Sobriety

  • You learn what’s involved and what it takes to not use alcohol or other drugs
  • You acquire and adopt healthy new skills to address problems
  • You learn how to deal with feelings
  • You make sober friends
  • You understand the importance of seeking professional help when needed

Thriving in Sobriety

  • You enjoy life without using drugs
  • You practice and adopt healthy new behaviors
  • You manage your disease with the help and support of a sober community
  • You participate in a Twelve Step or other mutual-help group
  • You reach out and are of service to others

How much does outpatient rehab cost?

Most outpatient addiction treatment programs are covered by insurance, so the cost of treatment at Hazelden Betty Ford is based on your insurance plan and your out-of-pocket responsibilities. Call us today at 1-855-433-7601 and one of our financial advocates can work with you and your insurance provider to figure out your specific costs.

Where are Hazelden Betty Ford outpatient rehab locations?

We provide outpatient drug and alcohol rehab at the following locations: