Outpatient treatment offers clients the chance to practice relapse-prevention techniques in the real world during the treatment process. However, the lack of 24-hour professional care and monitoring means easier access to substances and thus a higher chance of relapse. Therefore, outpatient treatment is sometimes more effective as a follow-up to residential treatment.
What Is Outpatient Treatment?
Outpatient treatment for mental health conditions and substance use disorders varies in the types and intensity of services offered. Specifically, outpatient treatment models range from intensive day treatment, comparable to residential programs, to low-intensity outpatient treatment models that offer little more than drug education. Therefore, the intensity of outpatient rehab depends on the needs of the individual.
In contrast to inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment means that the client lives at home outside treatment hours, allowing them to continue work or school. Furthermore, daily or weekly group and individual therapy sessions tend to be mandatory in an outpatient rehab. Moreover, medical monitoring of withdrawal symptoms and medication needs are monitored in outpatient care.
In terms of inpatient vs outpatient care, inpatient treatment provides the safety net of 24-hour monitoring. However, outpatient care often is more suitable for people with jobs or other commitments, as long as the level of care is adequate for recovery.