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From the Admissions Department: How Does Outpatient Rehabilitation Work?

Written by Treatment Advisor Jeni Arthur

Most people question the importance of outpatient treatment. Is outpatient treatment effective? Will I still be able to go to work? Is it imperative to my aftercare? The short answer: yes, yes, and yes!

We’re going to discuss not just why outpatient is important, but why it’s important to YOU. At Recovery Centers of America, how we care for our patients remains consistent, no matter what kind of treatment you meet the criteria for. Outpatient treatment can be your step down from inpatient treatment or it can be where your journey begins. You aren’t on this journey alone; our addiction experts will help you determine the best level of care that’ll fit into your life.

Wondering what a normal day in outpatient looks like? Each day begins with “check-in” questions assuring everyone that peer support is always available. It’s normal to be dealing with outside matters that ultimately add stressors affecting your wellbeing. Gaining peer advocates is just another plus to joining an outpatient program. Knowing others have your back during this time makes all the difference. Since sessions can last from 1-3 hours per day, 3-4 times a week, we encourage peer support from everyone who attends! Psychoeducation is key in outpatient while also touching on topics like relapse prevention, triggers, and positive affirmation. Art, yoga, and music therapy are also offered to patients to help with stress reduction.

So what’s the difference between inpatient and outpatient? For one, inpatient requires a residential stay, usually between 30-40 days. Inpatient treatment may not be feasible for your schedule – but that’s OK. You can still reach recovery. Offering outpatient treatment gives patients with a limited schedule the chance to tend to their recovery while balancing their everyday life.

No matter which path you take, one thing is for certain: commitment is essential on this journey.

Think about it – anything that falls apart and gets glued back together can easily fall apart again. Our plan is to make sure this does not happen by giving our patients the opportunity to gain healthy relationships with those experiencing similar situations. Even after you have completed inpatient treatment, it is crucial to keep on keeping on! Taking part in outpatient is the safest way to guarantee that you are applying everything you learn in treatment to your everyday life. 

 At Recovery Centers of America, we have therapists ready to assist with your continuum of care with general outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization. Our primary therapists are equipped with the tools to succeed while attending aftercare, which is why it is pertinent to attend all sessions. To reduce your chances of relapsing in exchange for structured support in a group setting, we offer General outpatient (GOP), our lowest level of outpatient treatment. For those who have more room wiggle room and may acquire a more disciplined aftercare schedule we have Intensive outpatient (IOP). Partial hospitalization (PHP) is our highest level of treatment aside from admitting into Inpatient. These patients will spend 4-5 hours a day at our site for 2-4 weeks gaining extra care before moving down to a lower level.

Now that you are an expert on what outpatient is, you might be asking yourself: “When it comes to treatment, what’s the difference between inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation?”


As mentioned above, the level of care where you begin will be determined during the initial assessment. Inpatient treatment is for those who are actively dependent on drugs or alcohol. In most cases, these patients will need medical detoxification in which we do not offer in outpatient. Patients who qualify for inpatient treatment will stay in one of our addiction treatment centers first before entering our outpatient programs. In other cases, outpatient can be the first phase for those who are not currently abusing any substance. If you have reached this point of your journey, congratulations! Remember, recovery is not a one-stop shop. Dr. Deni Carise notes,” Patients who take advantage of the full course of inpatient or residential care, followed by continued outpatient treatment for a minimum of 90 days have the best chance at maintaining ongoing recovery.” In other words, maintain your recovery and gain eternal freedom! Outpatient is also a great solution for those who need a less intense addiction treatment.

Don’t worry if you aren’t sure which solution would be the best for you – that’s why we’re here for! We’ll help you figure out the level of care you would benefit the most from. You can read more about the differences between inpatient and outpatient here.

Currently due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we have introduced our online outpatient treatment via telehealth. The battle of addiction continues to persist, but no virus will stand our way. Our outpatient programs continue through telehealth, where sessions will take place from the comfort of your home. Patients will join the WebEx program and participate in sessions with designated therapists and peers.

For more information on how RCA can help you, call 1-800-RECOVERY. We are here 24/7, 365 days a year.

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