Outpatient Alcohol Rehab: Treatment Programs Types and Features

Last Updated: August 7, 2019

outpatient treatment group meeting with therapist

Most patients addicted to alcohol find it easy to get rid of the old habit in an outpatient alcoholism treatment facility. However, the real struggle lies once these individuals have to leave the institution and face the real world. This is not an issue for those who prefer to go to outpatient rehab for alcoholics.

What is an Outpatient Alcohol Rehab?

In this treatment option, the patient addicted to alcohol will need to travel to the facility every day or at least five days a week (weekend break). The first session will last for about two hours. The physician will conduct a physical exam on the patient to determine what would be a suitable course of action.

The succeeding alcohol outpatient treatment sessions will only be thirty minutes or so. Alcohol outpatient programs can be finished in as minimal as three days to as long as two weeks. However, treatment programs typically last for an average of 7 days. Factors like body type and alcoholism severity determine the duration of treatment.

An outpatient alcohol treatment process involves four steps.  Alcoholism and any form of addiction, no matter what the location, substance, or setting, require these components to be incorporated in the rehab process to avoid possible relapses.

  • In the assessment, the attending physician will tailor a treatment plan according to the type and severity of alcoholism. Any special challenges will also come into play to determine alcohol treatment and rehab duration.
  • Detoxification is the stage where the end goal is to end the dependence of the patient’s body towards alcohol.
  • Next is the treatment phase. Any cause of addiction to alcohol, such as underlying disease, is addressed during the process.
  • The last phase is the aftercare. This is where treated alcohol addicts receive programs that can help sustain the recovered state.

Outpatient treatment for alcoholism is rarely offered in the same location. Some patients mix and match different alcoholism treatment programs.

What are the Different Outpatient Alcohol Programs?

  • Partial hospitalization is perfect for patients with alcoholism who enjoy a supportive environment similar to inpatient facilities but wants to go home every night. Most alcohol addiction support groups provide assistance in this type of program.
  • Intensive outpatient is a program where alcoholism is addressed in group therapy on certain days and evenings of one week. The individual and family members are educated weekly.
  • Group therapy can be done outside the hospital. Transforming alcohol addicts meets one hour every week in 12 weeks. However, this can be adjusted according to the patient’s treatment needs.
  • Medication-assisted programs are for alcoholics who need prescription medications for the treatment of certain conditions
  • Supported Living Programs is where the patient is placed in an apartment in a safe and stable environment. This is one of the best options that outpatient alcohol treatment centers recommend for continuing treatment. It is somehow similar to short-term residential programs.

female doctor making a prescription to a female patient

What are the Benefits of Alcohol Outpatient Rehab?

The primary benefit an alcoholism patient can get from this particular alcohol abuse treatment is the freedom to enjoy the comforts of living at home and get support from loved ones. It will be easier to maintain and build a social life.

Next is that between inpatient and outpatient procedures, the outpatient program is less costly. However, there are several options for free alcohol rehab available for those in need.

However, this is only fitting for short-term cases of alcoholism and for patients who have a stable living condition and a strong support system from friends and family. People who have undergone inpatient programs will also benefit in transitioning to the outside world through these alcohol rehab programs. If however, relapse is an issue and the individual has been a long-term alcoholic, this type of treatment might be less fruitful.

Can a Patient Exit the Outpatient Alcohol Program Without Completing It?

Getting into an outpatient alcoholism rehab is voluntary. No one will be forced to remain in the facility. Of course, it is advised to finish the program to get all the learnings necessary to kick the bad habit. Without proper knowledge, it can be difficult for patients to recover from alcoholism with real-life situations. Dropping out is a real problem especially during the first three months. Recovering from alcoholism needs dedication and perseverance.

It is a different story for those who are under court-mandated rehab programs. If the sentenced individual diagnosed with alcoholism does not commit to finishing the program, legal measures will be taken upon them.

How to Select an Alcohol Rehab Outpatient Facility?

The following factors can help make the selection process simpler:

All outpatient alcoholism treatment rehab centers may have the same goals, but that does not necessarily mean these operate under the same philosophy. This means that each program has a distinct way of approaching the problem. Considering an individual’s personal belief and choosing an alcohol rehab center that matches it can make the partnership more effective.

Identifying if an individual works best alone, in groups, or a mix of both can also limit down the options. Gender-Specific treatment is also an option. For example, men alcohol rehab provides a friendly environment for men who want to recover from addiction, but feel uncomfortable to open up in the presence of women. There are also LGBT alcohol rehab centers that tailor to the needs of this specific population.

Underlying conditions should also be considered when selecting an outpatient alcoholism treatment rehab facility. Choosing one that possesses expertise in an individual’s pre-existing medical condition, apart from alcoholism, can help improve one’s overall well-being.

The first step is the hardest one to take. If you or your loved one have a drinking problem and would like to receive more information about alcohol rehab centers, call our 24-hour hotline at (866)-520-2708 today to speak with a knowledgeable representative.


Marixie Ann Manarang-Obsioma

Content Writer

Marixie Ann Manarang-Obsioma is a licensed Medical Technologist (Medical Laboratory Science) and an undergraduate of Doctor of Medicine (MD). She took her Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology at Angeles University Foundation and graduated with flying colors.

The combination of having a good medical background, being a mom, and wanting to help people, especially the elderly has cultivated her passion for working in remote areas with love and compassion.
Marixie likes to travel, read, and watch movies.

Medical review by Brian Obodeze

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