What Is Outpatient Addiction Treatment? Explore 3 Options For Continuing Recovery Outside Residential Treatment

The results are in! Studies show that continuing addiction treatment in an outpatient setting following the completion of a residential program increases the chances of long-term sobriety and decreases the risk of relapse. This means if you’re serious about getting sober, seriously consider an outpatient treatment program. In this blog post, we'll delve into what outpatient addiction treatment entails and explore three options for continuing recovery outside residential treatment. 


The Continuum of Care


The term, “continuum of care” is bandied about a lot in the treatment space. It’s become one of those slang terms that get thrown around, often incorrectly. The term itself is defined as, “an integrated system of care that guides and tracks patients over time through a comprehensive array of health services spanning all levels of intensity of care.” If an addiction treatment program truly offers a full continuum of care then that means they are able to provide treatment from the highest level down to the lowest; i.e. detox to outpatient. Studies after studies have shown that an individual who stays in the continuum of care receiving treatment has lower rates of relapse and higher rates of long-term abstinence. The outpatient portion of this continuum is just as important as the residential piece. The step down progression of treatment goes from detox to residential to partial hospitalization, to intensive outpatient, to outpatient.  


Partial Hospitalization (PHP)


PHP is as close to residential treatment as you can get without it actually being residential addiction treatment. It’s like having recovery as a full-time job. Your entire day is spent in treatment attending therapy sessions and educational groups. Monday through Friday you’re in a treatment setting. This level of care offers intensive therapy and counseling, equipping individuals with the tools they need to navigate the complexities of addiction recovery.

PHP is a great choice for those who need substantial support but may need the flexibility to return home in the evenings for familial duties. It’s also a great transitional step for those stepping down from residential treatment that still need a large amount of accountability. 


Intensive Outpatient (IOP)


IOP is traditionally what you hear about when people talk about “stepping down” from residential treatment. It’s not uncommon for case managers to recommend someone move from residential addiction treatment into an intensive outpatient program. IOP’s provide a slow return to the outside world while keeping one foot in the treatment space. If PHP was a full time recovery job, then IOP is a part-time gig. The level of commitment is different. IOP requires that you attend therapy sessions several times a week for a few hours each session. IOPs provide a structured environment with a focus on counseling and relapse prevention strategies.

For those finishing a PHP program that need continued support, IOP is a great choice. It also works well for those who have completed a residential program but aren’t quite ready to be completely back on their own. It also works as a measuring stick for someone who feels they may have a substance abuse problem but are not sure if they need residential treatment.


Outpatient Therapy (OP)


The last level of care is outpatient therapy/counseling. Think of this along the same lines as meeting with a therapist for individual sessions once a week or every other week. These sessions focus on addressing underlying issues, developing coping mechanisms, and building a strong support network.

OP is ideal for individuals who have completed more intensive levels of care and are looking for ongoing support as they navigate the ups and downs of life in recovery. It's like having someone who knows the ins and outs of your journey, guiding you towards success one session at a time.


Learn More About Your Options


Treatment programs like Sunflower Recovery offer all levels of care. If you’d like to learn more about our treatment options and talk with someone about what might best fit your needs, call us today. 

Treatment is more than just residential. We’re here to help you find the right level of treatment for your situation. Call Sunflower Recovery today. 

Continuing Care into Outpatient Options = Better Long-Term Outcomes