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July 18, 2023

What is Outpatient Rehab?

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Outpatient rehab is a popular and effective alternative to residential treatment, as it allows individuals to receive help for their addiction without disrupting their daily responsibilities such as work, school, and family obligations. 

Unlike inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment does not require individuals to reside in a rehab center but instead allows them to live at home while attending therapy sessions at an outpatient treatment center. This non-residential, therapy-based approach offers flexibility while still providing the necessary support for recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.


      • What is outpatient rehab like?

      • What do you do in outpatient rehab?

      • What is involved in outpatient rehab?

      • What is outpatient alcohol rehab?

      • What is outpatient drug rehab?

    How Does Outpatient Rehab Work?

    Outpatient rehab provides patients with the flexibility to reside at home or in a sober living facility while receiving structured treatment and support at a treatment facility. Unlike inpatient rehab, where patients live in a treatment facility throughout their treatment, outpatient rehab allows for more freedom.

    Typically, patients first undergo detox to address the issue of physical dependence. During outpatient rehab, patients attend treatment sessions at a facility for a duration ranging from 1 to 9 hours per day.

    There are various types of outpatient treatment, including OPs (standard outpatient programs) with daily sessions of 1 to 2 hours, IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) with daily sessions of 3 hours, and PHPs (partial hospitalization programs) with daily sessions of 6 to 8 hours.

    In outpatient rehab, a range of therapy approaches are utilized to support recovery, including:


        • CM (contingency management): Offers rewards or incentives for positive behaviors, such as achieving negative urine drug tests. This approach helps reinforce progress and motivation during the recovery process.

        • MET (motivational enhancement therapy): Helps individuals clarify and address resistance to entering drug abuse treatment. Therapists work collaboratively to find motivation for positive change, develop a plan, and conduct two to four individual therapy sessions.

        • Family therapy: Builds a strong support system by involving family members in the treatment process. It ensures that family members address their own issues and provides a supportive environment for collective healing.

        • MAT (medication-assisted treatment): Medication-assisted treatment combines medications like methadone, naltrexone, or buprenorphine, with counseling and behavioral therapies. MAT helps manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms, facilitating a smoother recovery process.

        • Group therapy: Provides a supportive environment for individuals to connect with others facing similar challenges. Group therapy offers an opportunity to share experiences, learn from peers, and foster a sense of community during the recovery journey.

      These various therapy approaches, along with the integration of MAT and group therapy, contribute to the comprehensive and individualized care provided in outpatient rehab programs.

      The duration of outpatient drug rehab programs can vary according to the treatment center. Most outpatient programs last for two months. Some programs may utilize a step-down approach, reducing the number of therapy sessions gradually as individuals progress in their treatment. This means that the most intensive treatment and therapy sessions usually take place at the beginning of the program.

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      Benefits of Outpatient Rehab

      Outpatient rehab offers a range of benefits for individuals seeking treatment for addiction:


          • Maintains employment: Outpatient rehab allows people to continue working while receiving treatment, minimizing disruption to their professional life.

          • Preserves family and home life: Unlike inpatient treatment, outpatient rehab enables people to stay connected to their families and maintain their daily routines at home without compromising their recovery.

          • Affordable and covered by insurance: Outpatient rehab is more cost-effective than inpatient treatment and is typically covered by insurance, making it a financially accessible option for many.

          • Builds a strong support system: Through group therapy and counseling sessions, outpatient rehab helps individuals develop a network of support, fostering a sense of community on their recovery journey.

          • Access to psychiatric care: Outpatient rehab provides access to psychiatric professionals who can address any co-occurring mental health issues alongside addiction treatment.

          • Outreach resources for ongoing support: Outpatient rehab programs often provide valuable resources such as contact information for support groups and sober friends, ensuring individuals have ongoing support even after completing the program.

          • Improves quality of life: By addressing the root causes of addiction and providing necessary tools and coping mechanisms, outpatient rehab helps individuals enhance their overall quality of life.

          • Provides motivation and encouragement: Outpatient rehab programs offer motivation and encouragement throughout the treatment process, empowering individuals to stay committed to their recovery goals.


        What are the advantages of outpatient care?

        Advantages of outpatient care include the ability to maintain employment, stay connected with family and home, lower costs compared to inpatient treatment, and the opportunity to build a strong support system.

        What are some limitations of outpatient therapy?

        Some limitations of outpatient therapy may include a higher risk of relapse for individuals with severe addiction, the need for a reliable support system, transportation to attend sessions regularly, and the potential for limited access to intensive therapeutic support.

        Why do people prefer outpatient care?

        People may prefer outpatient care due to its flexibility, allowing them to continue their daily routines and responsibilities while receiving treatment. It also provides a sense of independence and autonomy during the recovery process.

        What is the benefit of inpatient rehab?

        The benefit of inpatient rehab is that it offers a more structured and controlled environment, providing round-the-clock support and removing individuals from external triggers and influences that could hinder their recovery progress. Inpatient rehab is often recommended for individuals with severe addiction or those who require intensive medical and therapeutic interventions.

        an image of people representing: What is outpatient treatment best for?

        Different Types of Rehab

        Different types of rehab for drug and alcohol addiction offer varying levels of care, and the choice depends on factors like the severity of addiction, individual needs, support systems, and personal circumstances. The levels of care on the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s continuum of care include:


        Detoxification, commonly referred to as detox, is the process of removing toxic substances from the body and managing withdrawal symptoms. It is an essential step in the recovery journey and typically occurs under medical supervision.

        During detox, medical professionals closely monitor individuals and provide the necessary support to ensure their safety and comfort. They may administer medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and address any potential complications.

        Detox can take several days or weeks, depending on the substance, the individual’s health, and the severity of the addiction. It sets the foundation for further addiction treatment by preparing individuals for the therapeutic phase of recovery.


        Inpatient rehab, also known as residential rehab, involves individuals residing in a treatment facility for an extended period. It offers a highly structured environment with round-the-clock care and support.

        Inpatient rehab provides a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment, including individual therapy, group therapy, behavioral interventions, educational sessions, and holistic activities. It offers a safe and controlled environment where individuals can focus solely on their recovery without external distractions.

        This type of rehab is suitable for individuals with severe addiction, co-occurring mental health conditions, or those who require a higher level of support and supervision. Inpatient rehab allows individuals to immerse themselves fully in the treatment process and develop essential skills for long-term sobriety.


        Outpatient rehab is a form of addiction treatment that provides individuals with the opportunity to receive therapy and support while continuing to live at home. It is a non-residential program that offers a more flexible approach to recovery than inpatient or residential rehab.

        In outpatient rehab, individuals attend therapy sessions and treatment programs on a scheduled basis, usually several times a week. This type of treatment is suitable for individuals who have a milder addiction, a stable support system, and the ability to maintain abstinence while living at home.

        The treatment approach in outpatient rehab may vary depending on the specific program and the individual’s needs. It normally involves a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, psychoeducation, relapse prevention planning, and support group participation.

        A group of people stand with their arms around each other to represent Gratitude Lodge's outpatient treatment in California.

        Get Outpatient Treatment at Gratitude Lodge

        At Gratitude Lodge in Southern California, we can help you combat addictions and mental health conditions. We have pet-friendly rehab centers that are dedicated to whole-body addiction recovery located in Newport Beach and Long Beach, CA.

        Engage with a supervised medical detox program for the safest and most comfortable route to sustained sobriety. When your system is cleansed of toxins, you can shift into a 30-day inpatient program. After completing an inpatient program, you may want to step down to an outpatient rehab program before transitioning back into everyday living.

        All treatment programs draw from these interventions:


            • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

            • Psychotherapy

            • Group therapy

            • Individual counseling

            • Family therapy

            • Aftercare

          To move from active addiction into ongoing recovery, place your trust in Gratitude Lodge. Call admissions at 800-994-2184.

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          Jenni Bussi

          Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

          Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

          Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

          Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

          Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox may not take as long or produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is still an essential beginning to your recovery.

          Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.
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          Holistic Therapy

          Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
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          An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.
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          Dual Diagnosis

          Dual Diagnosis is a highly effective addiction treatment that addresses substance use and mental health disorders simultaneously. Often co-occurring, these disorders are best managed when treated together with specific and targeted therapy.
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          Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

          Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.
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          Sober Living

          Sober living provides a supportive and substance-free living environment for your ongoing recovery. We partner with a number of upscale and carefully vetted sober living homes that are available to our clients after inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
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          Outpatient Treatment

          Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.
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          Inpatient treatment provides an intensive and comprehensive addiction treatment program in a structured environment. You will receive 24/7 expert care, therapy, and support as you build your foundation for long-term recovery.
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          Drug & Alcohol Detox

          A crucial first step in the recovery process, our detox program provides a comfortable, medically supervised environment that addresses the physical aspect of addiction and eliminates substances from your body.
          Joe Gilmore

          Joseph Gilmore

          Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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