How to Choose Outpatient Rehab Services: Everything You Need to Know

Have you or a loved one been struggling with addiction? You’re not alone. About 21 million people in the US are in the same boat as you. 

The first step toward healing is to choose outpatient rehab services. One of these programs will allow you to stay within the comfort of your own home and live out your life while receiving counseling and treatment in your downtime. 

It’s the way to go for those with family and job obligations. The only struggle is that many of those who go through outpatient programs end up falling back into their old habits because they’re at home. 

You’ll have to pick a good program to stop that from happening. We’re here to help. Check out this guide to get the most out of your outpatient rehab experience. 

Types of Outpatient Care

The first step of choosing a good facility is familiarizing yourself with the different types of outpatient care. You’ll have your pick between intensive outpatient care, day programs, and continuing care programs. All three have different pros and cons to bring to the table. 

Intensive Outpatient Care

When people are trying to kick addiction to the curb, most of the time, they choose inpatient programs. It’s an intense treatment that requires you to stay at the facility for round-the-clock care and detox. 

Not everyone has the ability to go through this treatment. Those with family and job obligations have to stay at home, but that doesn’t mean that they still can’t get intensive care. 

That’s where IOC comes in. You’ll have to attend at least 10 or 12 hours of therapy every week. It’s usually divided between group and individual sessions. 

On top of the regular therapy, you may have to join in on a 12 step program. As the name suggests, this outpatient program is a little more in-depth than what you get out of the other types. 

Day Programs

Day programs aren’t as involved as IOC ones, but you’ll still need to be at the facility every day for a certain number of hours. You’ll attend therapy sessions. 

As is usually the case, some of these sessions will be one on one with the therapist, and some of them will be conducted in a group. The professionals at the facility will also teach you the importance of wellness and help you learn healthy coping mechanisms for addiction. 

Continuing Care Programs 

One of the most important parts of staying sober is having continuous support. That’s what these programs have to bring to the table. 

They aren’t viable forms of treatment, but you’ll get plenty of the encouragement you need through group therapy sessions. Most people enter a continuing care program right after they finish up at an inpatient facility. 

Choosing the Right Center 

Now that you know what your facility options are, it’s time to start your research to find a good one. The first step is to figure out what your needs are. The rest of the pieces will fall into place from there. 

Determine Your Needs

Stress can lead to addiction. If you don’t have your stress handled at the same time as your other issues, your chances of experiencing a relapse will increase. 

To this end, you’ve got to find out what your needs are before you start looking around for an outpatient facility. Part of this is determining what success looks like for you. 

Will you start celebrating after 30 days of sobriety, or do you want to hit a more lofty goal of a year? Whatever your objectives are, the right facility will help you meet them.  

Make Sure They’re Certified 

Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities will provide rehab centers that have met industry standards with an accreditation. You know that any facility that has this certification values quality above all else. 

It’s not only the facility that you have to get a background check on. It’s the staff as well.

Every medical professional in the rehab center should have the proper licensing. If they don’t, they won’t have the experience to handle your unique situation. 

Personalized Care

Every single person is different. A treatment plan that works for one patient might not work for you. That’s why you should avoid centers that take a one size fits all approach. 

You should have access to a program that’s tailor-made to account for your current progress in your addiction recovery. Again, if stress and anxiety are what trigger your addiction, a non-dual diagnosis program isn’t going to do much good. 

Immediate Help

When you need help for your addiction symptoms, you don’t have time to sit around and wait. You need immediate entry into a program. 

In the case of many public care programs, you’ll get put on a waiting list. Intensive care programs are a little better about getting you in right away. 

Talk to Your Regular Physician 

If you have no idea what program to go for, you may want to talk to your regular health physician. They’ll have you talk about your rehab goals for a minute. 

After they hear your entire story, they’ll be able to suggest a facility that will meet your needs. In some cases, they might give you an entire list. 

Of course, you shouldn’t go to a specific facility because your doctor suggested it. It’s a good idea to look at online reviews and give the center a call before you commit. 

Look For Evidence-Based Practices 

This is an issue amongst a lot of unaccredited programs. They don’t use evidence-based practices. When you’re looking around for a facility, check for twelve-step programs, medication-assisted therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. 

Location Is Important

There’s some debate when it comes to location. On the one hand, if you choose a facility that’s far away from you, it separates you from your former life. 

If toxic friends and family members were the cause of your problems, you’ll be able to recover away from their influence. That stressful job that puts you at the end of your rope will be long behind you. 

On the other hand, most people choose outpatient programs because it’s close to their houses. You might not have the ability to drive to another state for treatment every day. 

Treatment Success Rate

We will admit it’s difficult to measure a facility’s success rate. Most of them don’t keep up with that kind of metric. If they do, they back up their numbers with peer-reviewed journals, so that’s something you can look out for. 

If the treatment center claims to have a 100% success rate, that’s a huge red flag. For one, addiction is an ongoing battle that doesn’t have a real cure. 

No matter how great a program is, there’s a chance that one or two people will relapse. Look for real numbers and data, not unrealistic promises. 

Outpatient Facility Amenities 

Having fun is an important part of the recovery process. Many outpatient programs have tons of amenities available to suit this purpose. It will feel like you’re entering a 5-star hotel every time you go into the building. 

We will warn you that going to one of these facilities will cost you a bit more. If it isn’t in the cards for your budget, you can enroll in a basic program. It won’t have quite as many bells and whistles, but you’ll still have access to effective treatment. 

Length of the Program

Most outpatient programs go on for 30, 60, or 90 days. Most professionals feel like 30 days isn’t enough time to get the most out of the program.

It might not be the worst choice if you’re enrolling in an outpatient program after leaving an inpatient one, however. There’s also the matter of your personal life. You may not have enough time to commit to a program that goes on longer than 30 days. 

While the 60 and 90-day programs are more effective, they’re also expensive. Some people don’t have the money in their bank accounts to commit to more than a 30-day program. 

Group Support 

One of the main reasons why people relapse is the lack of support. Not everyone has a huge circle of family and friends who can be there for them, and even if they do, there’s something different about group support at an outpatient facility. 

It gives you the chance to talk to people who are in the same boat as you. If the facility you’re looking at doesn’t give you the chance to make these connections, it’s not the rehab center for you. 


The good news here is that outpatient care costs a lot less than inpatient care. Since you won’t be staying at the facility, there are fewer resources that you’ll have to pay for. 

This being said, outpatient care still isn’t easy on the bank account. There are quite a few factors that go into the cost, such as location, amenities, and the length of care. 

A 90-day program with all the bells and whistles will be effective, but not cheap by any means. Still, there are ways for you to pay for it if that’s what you have your heart set on. 

Your private health insurance may absorb some of the cost. Even if they won’t take care of the entire bill, that’s still something, right? Medicaid and Medicare are also two popular options. 

If your insurance doesn’t cover rehab care and you don’t have the money to handle the expense, you can take out a loan. 

Detox Assistance 

Detoxing by yourself at home can be dangerous. You’ll experience a lot of painful withdrawal symptoms that can be lethal. Not only that, but you may be tempted to fall back into your old habits so you can put an end to your suffering. 

To stop that from happening, try to find an outpatient program that provides detox assistance.  The doctors are familiar with what withdrawal is like and will be able to give you treatment that will ease your symptoms.

Family Support 

You’re not the only one who needs support when it comes to addiction. It’s something that affects your entire family. That’s why many facilities also offer therapy for family and friends.

When your loved ones are able to recover from the impact of addiction, they’ll be in a better headspace mentally to help you once you’re out of rehab. 

The Staff Should Be Trained in Multiple Medical Disciplines

Most of the time, addiction isn’t the root of your problems. It’s a side effect so to speak. The outpatient facility you choose needs to account for that by taking the “treat the whole patient” approach. 

You’ve got to be able to heal body, mind, and soul if you’re going to get back on your feet. If your treatment only caters to one of your needs, it won’t be too effective. 

It’s crucial that the outpatient facility staff have training in several different disciplines. Having one medical professional at your disposal isn’t going to be enough. It’s going to take an entire team to ensure you get the help that you need. 

Choose Outpatient Rehab Services That Will Help With Your Recovery 

Are you ready to take your life back from addiction? You’re going to need to choose outpatient rehab services to help you through the process. 

The best facility will have several staff members on-call who will be there for you. You’ll have access to group therapy and detox assistance. Some programs even provide therapy for your family and friends. 

Even if you don’t choose a facility with all the bells and whistles, having this basic care at your disposal will make a world of difference. For more tips that will help you through the addiction recovery process, visit the health section of our blog. 

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