Outpatient Drug Rehab: How, Why, and When It Works Best

By The Fix staff 01/21/15

Outpatient Drug Rehab: How, Why, and When It Works Best

Outpatient Drug Rehab

The Mayo Clinic identifies psychotherapy, medications, and continued support as the primary means of treatment for a drug addiction. In the U.S., more than 17,000 people die annually as a result of drug addiction through transmission of infections and reactions to the respective drug. When you think about your available treatment options, you must make the decision between attending inpatient or outpatient rehab, and you should take the following issues into consideration.

Outpatient Drug Rehab: Aftercare Program Following Inpatient Treatment

Although inpatient treatment may be the most often prescribed means of treating drug abuse, you or your loved one may have your own reasons for seeking outpatient rather than inpatient drug rehab. However, the majority of people suffering from drug abuse benefit from outpatient drug rehab following discharge from an inpatient treatment rehab. You or your loved one will be able to continue monitoring your progress during outpatient drug rehab while maintaining appointments with your psychiatrist or attending therapy. Choosing to attend outpatient drug rehab following inpatient drug rehab discharge strengthens the resolve to overcome your substance abuse disorder and continue living without the need for abusing drugs.


Your Responsibilities During Outpatient Drug Rehab

Since the risk factors for addiction include being around others who have substance abuse problems, you need to make sure that you take on the responsibility of ensuring your success through outpatient treatment. You will need to address any other medical conditions you have and other mental health disorders and attend psychotherapy sessions and appointments with your psychiatrist. While attending outpatient rehab sounds difficult, you may be able to obtain a case manager or social worker to assist you in scheduling, following up, and addressing your appointments or other concerns during outpatient rehab. If you begin experiencing any symptoms of depression during outpatient treatment, you may need to be re-evaluated for additional mental health conditions.

Treatment of Other Medical Conditions

Addiction results in a variety of health problems in the central nervous system, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, or respiratory system. Since one of the common side effects of many drugs is hypertension, or high blood pressure, you may need ongoing treatment to control your blood pressure. Furthermore, the body will have adapted to the presence of the drug, so you may be more susceptible to hypotension, or low blood pressure. While you are in the recovery process, avoid making sudden movements, such as going from lying down to standing. This will give your body a chance to compensate in your changed posture without causing undue stress on your heart.

You will also need to have a thorough screening for any possible diseases transmitted as a result of risky sexual behavior or the sharing of needles during your drug addiction. HIV, hepatitis, and a host of other bacterial infections can be transmitted through needle sharing, and you need to make sure that you do not develop any additional conditions that will put additional strain on your recovery from a substance abuse disorder.

Psychotherapy During Outpatient Drug Rehab

According to the Mayo Clinic, psychotherapy is an effective treatment option for those with a substance abuse disorder. During cognitive behavioral therapy, you will be working with your counselor — who may be a social worker, psychologist, licensed chemical dependency counselor, or a psychiatrist — on your mental health issues. Before you go to your psychotherapy appointment, list any concerns you have about the course of your treatment. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who received additional education to specialize in psychiatry. Therefore, your psychiatrist may be willing to help you with prescriptions for the treatment of additional mental health disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or an anxiety disorder in addition to your substance abuse disorder.

During your initial therapy session, you can expect to set a plan of care and to find out how long your therapy sessions will last. You and your therapist will have detailed conversations about your thoughts and feelings. Each session of cognitive behavioral therapy should have a goal in mind. You will be able to identify situations in your life that adversely affect your well-being. You will also become more aware of your thought processes and how to change them when they become out of control. This is especially important during treatment for substance abuse disorder, as negative thought processes can be one of the driving forces behind the decision to abuse drugs. You will also be able to discuss measures to take that will help you avoid relapse.

Another benefit of psychotherapy is that you are able to talk with your therapist about problems you may be facing in work, school, or your family. Your therapist will offer advice for how to address each problem, and he or she will provide you with the mental awareness that these problems are minimal in relation to the hurdles you have already overcome in relation to your substance abuse disorder.

Change Your Environment

One of the reasons many fail to go through the outpatient rehab process successfully is they continue to be involved in the same environment that contributes to the substance abuse disorder. For example, someone trying to overcome substance abuse disorder will have a more difficult time adjusting and staying sober when living with someone who still is actively using drugs. Furthermore, this concept of changing your environment includes your social circles. You will need to avoid spending time with friends or co-workers who continue to use drugs.

Employee Assistance Programs

Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs, which may include therapy, medical treatment, or assistance with local resources, to employees going through the recovery process of substance abuse disorder. You can check with your employee to find out if an Employee Assistance Program is available. If so, use it in addition to the resources at your local rehab unit.

Resources From an Inpatient Rehab

Although inpatient rehab units focus on providing around-the-clock, monitored care and treatment to those who remove themselves from society to treat substance abuse disorder, inpatient treatment centers often plays a significant role in community, outpatient rehab programs. You may be able to attend weekly or biweekly group sessions at the inpatient facility. This gives you an opportunity to connect with others going through substance abuse recovery without worry about being around drugs. Some of these group sessions are conducted in an anonymous nature to help keep people with substance abuse disorders from becoming too involved with each other.

While you may visit an inpatient rehab for assistance with locating or continuation of treatment through outpatient rehab resources, you will always have the option of attending inpatient rehab depending upon the above-mentioned factors. Some people find that an extended, residential treatment program, which typically lasts six to 12 months, helps defeat drug addiction totally. If you have concerns over whether your insurance covers substance abuse rehab, you may be surprised to find out it is covered under the guidelines and requirements for insurance set forth in the Affordable Care Act. However, insurance carriers may have differing guidelines to meet prior to covering inpatient rehab. For example, outpatient rehab may be required as the first treatment option before inpatient rehab is covered.

Facing the physical and emotional battle of drug addiction continues to be a difficult process that most of those with the addiction never get to experience. Out of more than 5 million people with a substance abuse disorder, nearly 90% did not receive substance abuse disorder treatment last year. Although this shocking statistic may frighten you, understand that you have every chance of having a successful path in your recovery.

Choosing to use an outpatient rehab for substance abuse disorder requires careful consideration of your preferences, living arrangements, and resources. The decision to go to an outpatient drug rehab ultimately comes down to your ability to endure the symptoms of drug withdrawal during detox, attend your scheduled visits for medical care and mental health treatment, and adhere to the guidelines set forth during your psychotherapy sessions. If you have tried to stop abusing drugs in the past and your withdrawal symptoms were manageable, you have a high chance of successfully stopping your drug abuse disorder through outpatient drug treatment.

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