“IOP is a laboratory for recovery, getting to learn, practice and refine the skills needed for long term success.”
~ LaTisha Bader, Ph.D., LP, LAC, CC-AASP, Chief Clinical Officer at Women’s Recovery
For most women suffering from an addiction, the choice to finally seek out professional treatment is the hardest they’ll ever make. Pushing through the denial, the fear, the shame, the guilt. And having the courage to say I NEED HELP… well, that takes guts. And taking that step is definitely worth it. But a lot of the success of your recovery and the difficulty involved in getting through it comes down to the next step: choosing the right program. For most, it’ll be a question of whether to use an inpatient addiction treatment or an outpatient one. There are pros and cons of both, of course. And in this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the benefits (some of which may be surprising) of choosing outpatient treatment to help you overcome your addiction. Below, we map out 7 of the best benefits of outpatient addiction treatment. Plus, we’ve also included a brief testimonial from a woman who has successfully graduated from our outpatient program for inspiration. But before we get into that…
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What Is Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Anyway?
There are so many different types of programs out there available today that sometimes, it can be a bit tough to know which program is which. Don’t worry, it’s understandable. And a lot of people often go through the same confusion. So, what is outpatient treatment anyway? Outpatient treatment is a type of addiction rehabilitation program that favors flexibility, affordability, and convenience compared to inpatient. While an inpatient program requires patients to actually live in a treatment facility (often around 28 days), an outpatient program allows patients to get their treatment during morning, evening, and/or weekend sessions. Before and afterward, patients are able to live their life like normal. There are varying levels of outpatient treatment too, each with their own levels of care and time commitments.
- Traditional Outpatient – This type of program usually requires a weekly commitment of around 6 hours per week, typically split up between two or three sessions throughout the week. This option is the lowest level of outpatient care.
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) – A step up from the traditional programs, IOPs usually require around 10-15 hours of weekly time commitment. It’s great for people who need a higher level of care but aren’t right for inpatient or who are stepping down from an inpatient program.
- Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs) – Usually at a 30 hour per week time commitment, PHPs will typically treat patients for 6 hours during the day and send patients home to spend their nights and weekends. Since it offers the highest level of care (and time commitment), it’s a good option for women who are transitioning from inpatient care back into daily life.
Now, let’s get to the benefits that outpatient addiction treatment for women provides.
Benefit #1: They Offer FAR More Flexibility Than Typical Inpatient Programs
“I learned very important skills and tools during my 3-month commitment for sobriety. My mind was literally blown every meeting I went to. That says a lot about what we don’t know about ourselves. I now have a wonderful resource and community to help me continue the rest of my now saved life in sobriety.” ~ Amber
Women tend to face more barriers to entering treatment than men. And according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, that is one reason why women are actually less likely to seek treatment. And when they do, they often do so in mental health or primary care settings rather than in specialized treatment programs. The three most common barriers to treatment for women are family life, work, and education. The difficulty comes from the fact that most people think that treatment has to be inpatient. And for a lot of women out there, they simply cannot take off a full month from raising their family, going to work, or continuing their education. As a result, many addicted women continue down a spiral of addiction, not knowing they could be getting the level of treatment they need on their own schedule. Since outpatient programs typically have evening or weekend treatment sessions, patients can tend to their daily obligations just like normal while getting treatment at night, making it a great choice for moms and women who work. Think of it like taking night classes. But rather than studying business, you’re studying recovery. And that kind of flexibility makes it far easier to commit to a program and boost the chances of long-term recovery.
Benefit #2: They’re More Affordable
“You’ll make life-long friends and be surrounded by great women that will help you overcome and end the stigma of addiction.” ~ Tessa
Another one of the biggest benefits of choosing an outpatient program is that it offers treatment at a substantially lower cost compared to inpatient. With an inpatient program, patients tend to have access to more amenities. Some programs provide exercise facilities, others include outdoor excursions, and some even have spas built-in. But even more than that, people who use an inpatient program have to pay for room and board on top of treatment. As a result, costs for these programs can end up being as high as thousands of dollars per day. On average, though, most 28-day programs tend to cost around $18,000 total. Outpatient, on the other hand, tends to be much more affordable and more likely to be covered by insurance. Of course, your insurance will certainly help cover a good chunk of the costs for both types of programs. But even still, if money is tight, outpatient is likely the better option for you.
Benefit #3: They Give Patients More Opportunities To “Test” What They’ve Learned
“DWR has helped me define human flaws and provide support and understanding while encouraging sobriety. AND you complete your everyday tasks and learn to cope back in the real world sober while completing treatment. Trying to recover from addiction, address mental health, partake in individual therapy, participate in Group Therapy while keeping all of the balls up in the air that were falling when using (family, friends, work, self-worth), AND knowing that it’s all possible to complete each and every day is the most gratifying feeling I could of ever asked for.” ~ Nicole
Perhaps one of the most overlooked benefits of using an outpatient program is the fact that patients actually get to try out what they learn during treatment in the real world. For example, an inpatient treatment program may try to teach a woman struggling with addiction exactly how to cope with overwhelming stress. They may even try to simulate that stress in the program itself. But nothing compares to having to cope with that stress in the real world. An outpatient program gives patients the opportunity to try out the coping strategies they’ve learned in treatment every single day. Rather than waiting for the full 28 days of an inpatient program to test out which strategy works for them, an outpatient program lets patients see which is best in the real world and adjust accordingly. Of course, there’s always the risk of relapsing if the strategies aren’t effective. And that’s all the more reason to find a program that uses only evidence-based treatments and strategies that have been proven to support long-term recovery.
Benefit #4: They Don’t Require You To Relocate
“One year ago today I fearfully and reluctantly started a new journey in my life. I didn’t know what to expect or what I had to gain when I sought help to get sober. I wasn’t even sure if it was possible. Today, with the help of everyone at DWR, I’m so happy to say that I have been sober for a year and I have gained more than I ever could have imagined. I have regained confidence, hope, and value in my life.” ~ Charlotte
This one is pretty self-explanatory. An inpatient program requires you to actually live at the treatment facility. You’ll eat, sleep, and receive daily treatments all in the same centralized location, often for around 28 days. This, as you can imagine, can be pretty intrusive on your day-to-day life. And if the right inpatient facility for you is out of town, that means you have to pick up most of your life and relocate it entirely. With an outpatient program, though, you’re still spending the majority of your day as you normally would. You eat in your own kitchen, sleep in your own bed, and for the most part, life continues as it did before. This fact alone is often enough to make many women consider outpatient treatment as their best option.
Ready to start your journey of recovery? Find out HERE if you are a good fit for outpatient addiction treatment.
Benefit #5: They Can (And Often Are) Used To Transition From Inpatient Programs
“I’m 29 years old and I have battled addiction on and off for the past decade. I have been to treatment centers all over the country, many for periods of a year or more. I was scared, a bit broken, and incredibly angry with everyone and everything. DWR challenged the deep-rooted schemas I had about myself and my place in the world. They took a genuine interest in me and my life. Today, I have almost 8 months clean and I couldn’t be more grateful.” ~ Cassie
An outpatient program (whether it’s traditional, intensive, or partial hospitalization)can be used as a step down from an inpatient or detoxification program. We want to be clear that this does NOT always need to be the case. We see many women successfully come directly to outpatient and reach full recovery successfully. For many people struggling with an addiction, inpatient treatment can be a powerful and transformative process. But when they finally graduate and are faced with the harsh realities of the outside world, it can often be quite overwhelming. And some simply can’t handle the transition sober. Outpatient programs, then, help make that transition easier by giving patients a lighter form of treatment while they’re readjusting. Patients still experience the triggers and temptations that the outside world brings. But they aren’t left to fend entirely for themselves. And that can make recovery far more likely.
Benefit #6: They Can Be As Effective As Inpatient Programs
“This is without a doubt the best thing that I have ever done in my life. I can’t wait to continue enriching my life through OP. Thank you for giving me a life I never thought I would have.” ~ Lindsay
Believe it or not, the right outpatient program can actually end up being just as effective for recovery as an inpatient one. This is especially true when it comes to intensive outpatient programs, which offer a higher level of care than traditional outpatient programs. In fact, one medical review in particular looked at 9 different sources for scientific studies and concluded that “IOPs are an important part of the continuum of care for alcohol and drug use disorders. They are as effective as inpatient treatment for most individuals seeking care.” But since the effectiveness of a recovery program depends on how right it is for you, the trick is knowing whether or not you’re a better fit for inpatient or outpatient. Below are a few signs to watch out for with each. Outpatient
- You suffer from mild to moderate addiction
- You have daily obligations (work, school, family) that you can’t afford to miss
- You have already been through withdrawal or are only suffering mild symptoms
- You have a moderately strong support system
- You’ve already been through inpatient and are looking for a way to transition back into normal life.
- Your addiction is more severe
- You can afford to miss daily obligations (work, school, family)
- You have not been through withdrawal yet
- You do not have a support system
- You are suffering from serious health problems as a result of your drug use
“IOPs are an important part of the continuum of care for alcohol and drug use disorders. They are as effective as inpatient treatment.” ~ Dennis McCarty, Ph.D.
Benefit #7: They Keep Patients Connected With Their Family
“The skills learned in the programs not only help with the disease of alcoholism and addiction but also help with balancing life, healthy coping skills, emotions, etc. I would not be sober today without DWR in my life. I am so grateful DWR is there to help for women like me!” ~ Brittany
Finally, outpatient programs also come with the benefit of keeping patients connected with their family and community. Now, most women struggling with a substance abuse problem tend to keep their addiction hidden from their family. Once things boil over, it’s often the family that ends up convincing them to seek out professional help. And during recovery, it’s the family that tends to be their rock. The flexibility of an outpatient treatment program lets patients stay connected with this incredibly important source of support. Rather than sequestering struggling addicts away from friends and family like some inpatient programs do, patients are able to keep on interacting with them however often they choose to. And that can help strengthen their relationship and give them the support they need to stay clean.
Conclusion: Outpatient Has A LOT More Benefits Than You May Know
As you can see, outpatient (and IOP) addiction treatment services have a lot more benefits than most people realize. And if you find the right outpatient or intensive outpatient facility, it can lead to just as much of a chance for recovery as if you partnered with an inpatient program. The trick, though, is indeed finding the program that’s right for you. That’s why we at Women’s Recovery always recommend that anyone looking for addiction treatment services should interview a minimum of 3 different programs before deciding on one. That way, you can be sure that you’re not only getting the full spectrum of options available to you. But also that you actually understand the differences between programs too. Only then will you be able to decide which facility offers the benefits that match up with your unique needs. Women’s Recovery is an outpatient and intensive outpatient addiction treatment program with facilities in both Dillon and Denver, Colorado. We use only evidence-based treatments that are proven to help aid in recovery. And our dedicated staff is passionate about making your recovery as comfortable and successful as possible.
“DWR was a life changing program. They offer endless support, encouragement and accountability. The staff that make the DWR truly make you feel heard, understood and worthy in ways you never thought you could. If anyone is struggling and wants to reach out for a helping hand this is the place to go!! You’ll make life long friends and be surrounded by great women that will help you overcome and end the stigma of addiction.” ~ Tessa
At Women’s Recovery, we offer a range of treatment services with our programs, including:
- Alcohol Rehab
- Drug Addiction Rehab
- Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment
- Trauma Treatment
- Vivitrol Services
We’re also proudly certified by:
- The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers
- CARF International
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, get in touch with us today. We can quickly verify your insurance through our simple online form, or you can schedule a free phone addiction assessment to see if we’re a good fit. In the end, the most important thing is that you find the right program to partner with for your recovery. And we’d love to be a part of yours.