Addiction is a complicated, chronic disease that requires a complex solution to achieve any lasting change. Addiction goes beyond issues with the chemical pathways in your brain. It’s a deeply rooted issue that has to do with the limbic system, which is also called the reward center. The rewarding effects of drugs and alcohol are misunderstood to be positive rewards for life-sustaining activities. As a result, your reward center triggers powerful cravings for a drug when faced with triggers, stress, and high-risk situations. For that reason, it can take more than a week of detox to address a substance use disorder successfully.
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Triggers and cravings can last far longer than your treatment program. However, through treatment, you will learn to cope with stress and cravings without the use of drugs. Some people go through detox and treatment with great success but find new struggles when they return home. A return to independent life can be a significant challenge to a person in recovery, but outpatient services are an excellent option for someone who has completed higher levels of care. It also can be a good option for someone who enters treatment but doesn’t require high levels of care.
Outpatient programs can be an excellent way to continue to safeguard your recovery while you ease your way back into independent, everyday life after treatment. Learn more about this low-intensity level of care in addiction treatment and how it can help you achieve lasting recovery.
What Is Outpatient Drug & Alcohol Treatment?
Outpatient drug treatment is a low-intensity level of care that involves fewer than nine hours of clinical services every week. It offers the same programs and therapies as intensive outpatient services but allows you more free time to pursue an independent life. Typically, someone in outpatient therapy will attend treatment and clinical services once or twice a week, while IOP would require multiple sessions, often every day. Besides early intervention, outpatient treatment is the lowest level of care in addiction treatment, and it’s an important part of deinstitutionalization in addiction treatment.
Take the first step on your own personal road to recovery today. Call us!
Take the first step on your own personal road to recovery today. Call us!
Deinstitutionalization is the process of helping people that have gone through treatment to avoid becoming dependent on the structure of more intensive services. For instance, if someone completes an inpatient or residential program with 24 hours of monitoring and supervision and then immediately returns to normal life, they may be overwhelmed by the sudden lack of support.
Outpatient treatment allows you to return to independent life while you still have access to support and clinical services. As you encounter challenges in your day-to-day life, you will be able to present them to your therapist and group sessions to gain more insight. The things you learned in higher levels of care are put to practical use, and you can process it in treatment. You also can return to the comforts and obligations of your home life, like family life, work, or school.
What Do Outpatient Programs Offer?
Outpatient programs will offer many of the same therapy options as IOP with a less intensive structure. In many cases, outpatient therapies will be a continuation of the services you started in IOP. You may continue with behavioral therapy, group sessions, individual sessions with a therapist, and family therapy. When you attend outpatient treatment, the goal will be for you to continue your commitment to addiction treatment as you prepare for independent life. Here are some essential factors in outpatient treatment:
Substance Abuse Therapy
As with all levels of care in addiction treatment, the primary goal of outpatient treatment programs is to help you overcome a substance use disorder and any underlying causes. Individual and group therapy sessions will be centered around dealing with addiction and learning ways to cope with cravings. There is a multitude of other factors that can feed into an addiction problem that needs to be addressed, but substance abuse therapy will be at the center of addiction treatment.
Addiction has a close relationship with other mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety disorders. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that nearly 8 million people had both a mental health issue and a substance use disorder at the same time in 2017. Treating a substance use disorder effectively involves addressing underlying mental health problems that contribute to a person’s use of addictive substances. If you have a depressive disorder, anxiety, PTSD, or another mental health issue, you may go through specific therapies designed to address those problems. Severe mental health issues like schizophrenia may be referred to specialists that can meet your needs.
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Addiction can bring your life to a screeching halt. When maintaining a substance use disorder becomes your chief focus in life, other areas of development may be pushed aside. In many cases, young people begin an addiction before they learn basic life skills like budgeting, healthy grocery shopping, and creating a resume. To be successful in your life in recovery and to avoid relapse, it’s vital to pick up some of these skills before completing treatment. Outpatient treatment is a great setting for you to learn how to create and keep a schedule, manage money, and demonstrate social skills.
One of the most important things you might learn in addiction treatment is relapse prevention strategies. Throughout the addiction treatment process, you will learn ways to cope with stress, triggers, and drug cravings. When you complete treatment, you may still experience those cravings. However, you will be equipped with positive coping strategies, the ability to recognize high-risk situations, and a strategy to deal with strong cravings when they happen. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a commonly used tool for developing relapse prevention strategies.
In it, you can learn how to identify how thoughts lead to actions so you can stop a potential relapse in your thinking before you take action.
Where Is Outpatient Services in the Continuum of Care?
California Highlands Addiction Treatment follows the levels of care model outlined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), which is called the continuum of care. According to this continuum, outpatient treatment is the lowest level of formal treatment, and it’s only higher than early intervention. Outpatient is a step lower than intensive outpatient services and partial hospitalization. In many cases, outpatient services come after more intensive interventions and act as a way for clients to ease back into regular life.
Outpatient services also can serve as a way to reinstate treatment for people who fear an imminent relapse but haven’t started using drugs again. Though it is a low-intensity part of treatment, it’s a vital part of the overall continuum of care.
Continued Recovery Can Be Yours
Outpatient services are ideal for people who have gone through higher levels of care in addiction treatment. The most effective way to safeguard your sobriety after developing an addiction is to go through the entire continuum of care. However, it can still be beneficial to some people who don’t require intensive care.
Outpatient programs are a vital part of addiction treatment. To learn more about this, or another level of care, speak to an addiction specialist at California Highlands Addiction Treatment at (888) 969-8755. Addiction is a complicated disease that needs a complex solution. Though they are chronic, substance use disorders are treatable. Take the first step on your own personal road to recovery today.
SAMHSA. (2014, June 20). Mental and Substance Use Disorders. from https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders
SAMHSA. (n.d.). American Society of Addiction Medicine from https://www.asam.org/resources/the-asam-criteria/about