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July 24, 2022

What To Expect During Outpatient Treatment

If you’ve been researching addiction recovery programs, you’ve probably come across the concept of outpatient treatment, a form of substance abuse rehabilitation that allows individuals to recover without living full-time at a treatment facility. Instead, individuals participate in treatment sessions several days a week for a few hours at a time.

If you’ve never participated in outpatient treatment before, however, you might not know what to expect. Even though outpatient treatment differs from residential programs, most outpatient treatment sessions include the same types of recovery activities as inpatient programs. Here are some key insights into what you can expect from outpatient addiction treatment.

What To Expect in Outpatient Rehab

Even though outpatient treatment has a more flexible schedule than inpatient recovery, outpatient rehab programs still incorporate all the essential components of addiction treatment. If you’re considering or have recently enrolled in an outpatient treatment program, you can expect to:

1. Have An Intake Appointment

Before you begin any actual treatment, you’ll need to meet with your care team to discuss your addiction challenges. During this initial screening, your care team will evaluate your current physical, mental, and emotional health with treatment professionals. They might also ask you questions about the type of substance you abused, how often you used it, and how the addiction affected your everyday life. This appointment might include a drug test and physical exam as well. As uncomfortable as this process might feel, there’s no need to be nervous. Your care team isn’t trying to embarrass you or invade your privacy. They’re gathering information to design a treatment program that can meet your individual needs.

2. Meet Multiple Times Each Week

Even though outpatient treatment allows you to live at home, as well as work or attend school, you should expect to have treatment sessions multiple times a week. Here at Meta, our outpatient treatment programs meet Monday through Friday. Even though the specific days and times you meet will be determined by your individual needs, you can expect to attend sessions more than once a week. Don’t let the flexibility of outpatient treatment fool you: there is a treatment schedule you will be expected to follow even though you aren’t required to live at the recovery center.

3. Participate in Behavioral Therapy

Even though outpatient treatment programs don’t have a residency requirement, they do include behavioral therapy. Here at Meta Addiction, our clinical services, which are incorporated into our treatment programs, include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which can help you identify negative or harmful behavior patterns. CBT can also help you develop healthier behavior patterns that can make it easier for you to break the cycle of addiction. Research has also shown that CBT is a highly effective way to gain insight into your behavior patterns, understand and manage triggers, cope with stress and anxiety, and overcome traumatic experiences.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), which can help you understand, process, and manage difficult emotions. DBT can also help you manage stress, better understand your emotional responses, strengthen your relationships, and reduce your risk of dangerous, reckless, or unstable behavior.
4. Talk About Your Family

Even though addiction is an individual condition, abusing substances can affect your entire family. You may be living at home with your family during treatment, so you should expect to talk about your family during outpatient treatment sessions. The topics might vary, but you should be prepared to talk about the people in your family, past and current family dynamics, and what your family structure is like, as well as any strained relationships you hope to heal and mend.

5. Learn New Coping Strategies

One major part of addiction treatment is replacing unhealthy healthy coping skills with an arsenal of healthier coping strategies. The coping skills you learn might be as simple as a breathing exercise or going for a run or they might be more reflective such as writing out your thoughts or keeping a gratitude journal. The coping skills you choose to adopt are up to you, but you should expect to have an open mind about learning new strategies to deal with stress, anxiety, and everyday challenges.

6. Learn Exercises and Techniques To Work Through At Home

You should also expect to start using the strategies you learn during your treatment sessions at home. You don’t have to try to incorporate everything you learn at once, but you should definitely expect your care team to ask you to incorporate 1 or 2 strategies you’ve learned into your day-to-day routine.

7. Encounter Potential Triggers

When you enroll in an outpatient program, you aren’t going to be separated from your daily life. You’re going to go to work, attend class, and live in an environment that might have previously triggered your addiction. This means that you might be exposed to potential triggers on a daily basis. For example, you might have to drive past bars and restaurants that sell alcoholic beverages. You might run through the park where you met with people to consume your substance of choice. Expect to encounter these triggers, but also know that you’re being equipped through your outpatient program to resist these temptations.

8. Work With a Case Manager

Case management is a vital component of successful recovery. Here at Meta, our clinicians work with our case management team to make sure that you have the support you need to stay sober. This means that you can expect your case manager to:

  • Refer you to any additional services you may need
  • Follow up with you during and after treatment sessions
  • Assist you with employment questions and challenges
  • Help with continuing education resources
9. Participate In Peer Support Groups

If you opt for outpatient treatment, you won’t be required to reside at a rehabilitation facility, but you should still expect to participate in peer support groups. Research shows that peer support is an essential aspect of successful long-term recovery. Peer support groups can help you build healthy, long-term relationships, practice healthy communication skills, keep you motivated, and help you feel less isolated and alone as you make substantial changes to your way of life. Being empowered to take charge of your own recovery means knowing who to call when you need help. Peer support groups can help you build that kind of supportive network.

How Do I Know If Outpatient Treatment Is Right For Me?

We know deciding on a type of recovery program can be a difficult and often overwhelming process. If you are still unsure if outpatient treatment is the right choice for your or your loved one’s recovery, you can take this brief self-assessment to find out.

Outpatient Treatment You Can Trust

Here at Meta, we specialize in outpatient treatment. We also know that different people need different levels of outpatient support. That’s why we offer 3 different levels of outpatient treatment:

  • Outpatient, which is designed for individuals who have completed higher levels of outpatient treatment at Meta or another accredited provider.
  • Intensive outpatient, which is designed for individuals who have completed our Partial Hospitalization Program or an equivalent outpatient treatment program at another recovery center.

Regardless of the program you choose, your recovery services are run and operated by people you can trust. Let us help you recover your life. Contact a member of our team today to learn more.