Making the transition from addiction to sobriety requires preparation and patience. Flexibility is also a plus, which is why people in recovery might consider entering an outpatient program.

Outpatient programs (OPs) offer flexibility for people who cannot commit to receiving addiction treatment in a residential or inpatient setting, which typically requires a stay of 28 days or longer. OP clients need to live off-site while going through rehab as they take care of personal responsibilities that involve home, work, or school. OPs are typically convenient for people who cannot be away for extended periods and cheaper for those who cannot afford residential treatment.

Outpatient programs also give people transitional support if they recently entered inpatient treatment for addictions or substance abuse disorders that are more severe.

Outpatient therapy can take place in a hospital, local clinic, or rehab facility. Therapy can be ongoing, and support can be received at any time throughout the day without the costs of room and board. Also, because outpatient treatment is an affordable option, insurance companies are more likely to cover the program’s costs.

Who Benefits From Outpatient Programs?

  • Have early-stage substance use disorders that are mild or less-severe addictions
  • Do not require drug or alcohol detoxification services
  • Want to continue their aftercare upon leaving residential or inpatient treatment
  • Cannot pay for inpatient treatment or residential treatment
  • Are motivated to remain on a schedule and committed to sobriety while pursuing their recovery goals
  • Need structure and can access a network of supportive family and friends

How Are Outpatient Programs Designed?

Outpatient programs are designed to address the specific needs of the client, so how long the programs run as well as the intense therapy offered all vary as it depends on the person.

Outpatient clients will receive the tools and strategies they need to address their addiction or substance use disorder. Their program can run during the daytime or evening in an inviting and therapeutic environment.

Outpatient Programs Can Include Any Of The Following:

  •  Substance abuse education
  •  Cravings and triggers management
  •  Life skills
  •  Individual therapy
  •  Family therapy
  •  Group therapy
  •  Mental health treatment
  •  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  •  12-step programs
  •  Transitional living facility referrals (including sober living homes)
  •  Relapse prevention training
  •  Anger management
  •  Random drug testing
  •  Spirituality

Outpatient Programs Require Discipline and Focus

Before pursuing an outpatient program, clients need to be honest with themselves as they consider whether they will be able to maintain independence and attend sessions, which can run anywhere from six to nine hours a week or 20-plus hours a week. Programs that are low-to-moderate in intensity may require treatment sessions that run once or twice a week.

Unlike 24-hour residential care, which keeps clients on a schedule and distractions at bay as they focus on their addiction, outpatient programs do not offer around-the-clock care.

Clients are on their own and completely responsible for keeping their environment free of drugs, alcohol, and harmful influences that can derail their recovery plans. They also must remain aware of potential temptations and triggers that can bring relapse.

What’s The Difference Between IOP And OP?

You may have heard of the term intensive outpatient program, or IOP before. IOP is a form of outpatient therapy but is different from attending regular outpatient. IOP not only requires longer, more frequent hours than typical outpatient for substance abuse, but it is far more involved therapy-wise. Read on to see the difference between intensive outpatient programs versus outpatient programs to see which may be right for you!


Here are some of the key points that are included in an intensive outpatient program:

  • Usually the first step after completing inpatient addiction treatment
  • Attendance can vary but usually is three hours per day, five days per week
  • Programs only last a few weeks or months
  • Involves more rigorous therapy
  • Geared toward people in early recovery or need more hands-on support
  • May cost more


Here are some of the key points that make up a regular outpatient program:

  • Typically follows the successful completion of an IOP program
  • Attendance can vary but usually is at least one hour per week
  • Programs can last up to six months or longer
  • Involves more hands-off therapy; responsibility for recovery is placed solely on the client
  • Geared toward people who have more time in recovery and only need minor support
  • May cost less

Looking For An Outpatient Program?

If you are considering outpatient treatment, aim to find a program that specializes in your particular addiction. Treatment programs at Delphi Behavioral Health Group’s facilities provide unique therapy and counseling methods for certain addictions. They are designed to allow you to receive the daily support of the facility’s staff and your loved ones when you return home.

Outpatient treatment also is intended to be an alternative to trying to achieve sobriety alone. Our treatment centers provide an oasis for the community, counseling, and support throughout the day so the lessons being taught can be implemented into the client’s everyday life. Give us a call at 844-605-0706 to discuss your or your loved one’s options today!

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