Outpatient detox is an effective treatment option for individuals who need help withdrawing from drugs or alcohol but do not require 24-hour care. There are many outpatient detox programs all over the country where you can safely recover from your drug or alcohol dependence and from which you can transition into a rehab program, all to create a safe, strong basis for recovery.
We are always available, night and day, to help you find the right outpatient detox program for your recovery. Call 866-351-3840(Who Answers?) now to begin the process of treatment for your drug dependence.
What Is Outpatient Detox?
Outpatient detox is a program where patients visit their facility instead of staying there 24 hours a day. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that these programs vary in their intensities and in the services they offer, so it is very important to determine what you should expect from your program before you begin treatment.
- These facilities are usually open daily, but they may have differing hours depending on the day. Some are also open on holidays while others are not.
- Patients have scheduled treatment times in most cases where they can receive medications, attend therapy sessions, meet with their doctors, etc.
- Some individuals may need to attend treatment or at least go to the facility for their medications every day. Others may not. It depends heavily on the intensity of your dependence and the frequency of your treatment.
These facilities are focused on helping patients detox safely from drugs or alcohol while also being able to live their lives around their treatment. In many cases, individuals have options to schedule their care around their other responsibilities in an outpatient detox center.
What Does Outpatient Detox Entail?
Outpatient detox is usually the best treatment option when an individual needs less intensive care. This does not necessarily mean these programs are unlikely to offer varied treatment, but some facilities may only provide drug education and few other options. You should know what your facility offers before you choose the program.
Most outpatient detox centers offer medication of some sort for patients who need it. Methadone maintenance centers, which are a popular choice for opioid addicts and are often outpatient-based, allow individuals to become stabilized on methadone to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms (National Institute of Justice). Others may focus on weaning patients off a particular drug while managing withdrawal symptoms with medication.
Detox centers may also offer behavioral therapy sessions as part of treatment, often to ensure that patients will be able to prepare for addiction treatment. These programs will usually provide group therapy, although individualized therapy is also a popular option. According to the NIDA, skills learned in cognitive-behavioral therapy are maintained even after treatment ends.
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Doctor check-ups are common in outpatient detox centers. Patients can usually expect to see a doctor once a week to every few weeks, and they can discuss their medication as well as any other physical issues they are experiencing.
If you choose an outpatient detox program for your withdrawal, it might not offer all the options an inpatient facility would. However, many provide their patients with community resources and vouchers for options like nutrition counseling, vocational guidance, legal assistance, HIV prevention and testing, educational assistance, and others when necessary.
Outpatient centers do not provide 24-hour care like inpatient centers do, so they do not offer meals to patients or sleeping accommodations. However, some might provide options for holistic treatments such as yoga classes or meditation workshops. It is important to ask what an outpatient center will offer when it comes to finding the right one for your needs.
Who Needs Outpatient Detox?
Some people require a more intensive program during detox, but those who don’t may be able to safely withdraw with the help of an outpatient center. These facilities are ideally suited to individuals with jobs they cannot leave for months at a time.
Other people who might want to choose outpatient detox over inpatient detox are those who
- Have a strong support group of friends and family members at home
- Were not diagnosed with any co-occurring mental disorders
- Are not likely to experience intense or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms
- Have been through detox before (except in the case of alcohol)
- Have relapsed and need to simply revive their recovery
- Have young children at home and can’t go away for inpatient care
- Have a safe home environment with people who can look after them during detox
Some individuals choose outpatient care because it is normally less expensive, but don’t let your budget dictate your recovery. If you need inpatient care, there are low-cost and even free programs available. If not, you can likely receive the options you need through outpatient detox.
What Happens After Treatment?
After detox has ended, you will need to transition into addiction treatment in the form of professional rehab. This can also take place in an outpatient center, but it must be a full rehab program rather than just a detox facility. Detox is an essential part of recovery, but unfortunately, it is not a treatment on its own. According to the NIDA, it can only help you put an end to your dependence on drugs or alcohol, not treat your addiction itself.
The staff at your treatment program should help you make the transition from detox to rehab, whether it is in the same facility or a different one. However, you should never leave detox and neglect the need for addiction treatment afterward. This can quickly lead to relapse because, although you are no longer dependent, you will still be addicted without the proper tools to cope with the issue.
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- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)- Types of Treatment Programs.
- National Institute of Justice. (2011). Program Profile: Methadone Maintenance Treatment.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (Alcohol, Marijuana, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Nicotine).
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction:What Science Says- 8: Medical Detoxification.