Outpatient Treatment Program (OP)

Outpatient Treatment Program Los Angeles

Outpatient programs are a type of addiction treatment program that is suitable for people who are struggling with drug and alcohol issues but are nonetheless able to function reasonably well in their lives. The term “outpatient treatment program” is actually an umbrella term that refers to a wide variety of distinct treatment programs. These programs include partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), outpatient programs (OPs), and aftercare treatment programs. 

Outpatient programs are less rigorous than partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs, and they offer a high degree of flexibility. Outpatient programs allow people to continue to live their lives in the outside world while receiving high quality treatment for their substance use disorders. They are beneficial for individuals who want to ensure that they maintain their sobriety while rebuilding their lives.

What is an Outpatient Rehab Program?

Outpatient programs, which are often known as OPs for short, are treatment programs that are widely available at addiction resource centers and treatment centers. The word “outpatient” refers to the fact that people do not live inside the treatment facility. Unlike residential treatment facilities, clients of outpatient programs spend a portion of each day receiving treatment at a facility, after which they have the freedom and flexibility to return to their lives and daily commitments. Outpatient programs provide high quality care, but they are less demanding than more intense programs like IOPs and PHPs. 

Most require clients to attend for several hours a day only a few days a week, or even sometimes once a week. This allows clients with busy schedules around work or family members to treat their addictions without abandoning their lives. Outpatient programs are also often recommended for people who have completed more rigorous rehab programs and are hoping to receive continued support as they make the transition back into the outside world.

How do Ouptatient Programs Work?

Outpatient programs vary widely when it comes to their methods, treatment philosophies, and the resources each facility offers. However, what all outpatient programs have in common is the shared aim of helping people recover from debilitating substance use disorders. They also work to treat underlying issues that may be triggering a person’s addiction, which range from interpersonal difficulties to mental health disorders. Outpatient programs make use of a wide range of therapeutic modalities to ensure that a person gains the self-understanding and coping techniques they need to maintain long term sobriety and a quality life.

When a new client first arrives at an outpatient program, the first thing they can expect is an initial evaluation. During the initial evaluation, a case worker or outpatient treatment team will assess the client’s general condition. Important factors they take into consideration include which drugs a person habitually uses, how long they’ve used them, their age, physical health, mental health, and whether or not there is a family history of addiction. 

Quality outpatient programs also take an interest in clients’ lifestyles, relationships, and the quality of their social support systems at home. These questions help OP staff identify a client’s needs so that they can develop a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan suitable for their unique circumstances.

Many people enroll in outpatient programs after initially getting sober at a more acute kind of treatment program, such as an IOP or PHP, but some also begin outpatient programs as a first line treatment for addiction. When applicable, outpatient programs begin by supporting a client as they withdraw from drugs and alcohol. This detox period is essential, since it is difficult for anyone to develop the tools and skills they need to stay sober unless they are clear headed. 

However, quality outpatient treatment programs recognize that physical abstinence from drugs and alcohol is not sufficient for a person to stay sober in the long term. Once a person has stopped using drugs and alcohol, that is when the real work can start and they can expect to begin making progress.

Recovering from a substance use disorder at an outpatient program means working to develop new skills, coping strategies, and behaviors. To prevent relapse, outpatient programs also work with clients to help them identify triggers to which they are particularly vulnerable, so that they can develop alternative ways of responding to stressful situations. 

Outpatient programs also help clients address underlying issues that may be complicating their addictions. Mental health conditions, financial problems, and relationship issues can all directly affect substance abuse, and it is therefore important that an outpatient program address all of these aspects of a person’s life. During the course of outpatient treatment, clients not only develop a strong program for sobriety, they also work to build new lives for themselves that are joyous, fulfilling, and free.

To that end, outpatient programs utilize a wide range of treatment methods and offer diverse services to their clientele. Quality outpatient programs use evidence-based treatment methods that are backed by the latest research in addiction treatment. Clients at outpatient treatment programs, no matter their background, make considerable progress while participating. Not only can they tackle their addictions from every angle, the flexibility of outpatient programs also allows clients to put their newfound skills into practice in their lives in the outside world. 

Some of the more common addiction treatment methods found in outpatient programs are listed below.

Group Therapy

Group therapy programs are a crucial component of addiction treatment at the vast majority of outpatient programs. Research shows that group therapy is equally effective as individual therapy, but it also possesses its own particular benefits. Taking part in group therapy sessions provides clients with opportunities to work on their communication skills and build important relationships with other people who are also working hard to recover from addiction. By reenforcing healthy ways of interacting in a safe, supportive, and trigger-free environment, group therapy allows clients to learn from the perspectives and experiences of others. Participants learn new sober skills, come to a better understanding of themselves, and develop stronger sober social support systems.

Outpatient programs generally provide a diverse array of distinct group therapy meetings, each with a different methodology and end goal. Types of group therapy offered at OPs include:

  • Psychoeducational group therapy. This type of group therapy is by far the most common. It involves a clinician leading a group to help them better understand the condition they all suffer from. By learning more about addiction, physical dependence, and the causes of addiction, individuals can develop a new set of tools for dealing with the challenges and problems that occur in early recovery. Participants also learn to rethink unhealthy beliefs, such as the belief that addiction is caused due to lack of willpower.
  • Family group therapy. Family groups provide opportunities to OP clients to heal or develop relationships with family members. Improving relationships with family members is a crucial aspect of addiction treatment, since many people are driven to substance abuse in the first place due to dysfunctional family relationships.
  • Skills training groups. At skills training groups, OP clients can work on and practice their new coping strategies in a safe, trigger-free, and supportive setting. Skills training groups often also cover pragmatic life skills, such as how to behave in a job interview.
  • Relapse prevention groups. Relapse prevention groups are designed to help OP clients recognize their own personal triggers. By identifying these triggers, they can begin to develop alternative ways of responding, rather than reacting automatically by reaching for drugs or alcohol. For many, preventing relapse is simply a matter of developing an awareness of these high-risk situations and learning to manage them.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is also utilized in most outpatient programs. Individual therapy helps clients reflect on their experiences and come to a better understanding of the underlying problems that might be motivating their substance abuse. For example, many people turn to drugs or alcohol because they suffer from untreated or undiagnosed mental health conditions such as ADHD, depression, or anxiety. Therapists not only help people learn to cope with these underlying conditions, they also help people develop plans for dealing with common addiction triggers.

The most commonly used therapeutic modalities for addiction are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Both therapeutic approaches are based on the premise that an individual’s thinking patterns exert a direct effect on their emotions and behavior. CBT and DBT help patients identify their problematic thinking patterns and develop new ways of responding to their distressing emotions. As a practical and solution-focused treatment method, cognitive-behavioral therapy helps relieve clients of their obsession with drugs and alcohol, providing them with a new skill set for responding to cravings. Individual therapy also provides clients with an essential source of emotional support while dealing with the inevitable challenges of early sobriety.

12-Step Programs and Support Groups

The vast majority of outpatient programs recommend, encourage, or require that clients attend support group meetings. The most common and research-backed type of support group are 12-step programs. 12-step programs include meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, among countless others. These programs are designed to give people opportunities to connect with a larger community of people in recovery. Members work to eliminate their obsession with substances by actively helping each other. 

At 12-step meetings, and even secular meetings like SMART Recovery, individuals in early recovery as well as those with many years of sobriety can continuously benefit from other members’ experience, strength, and hope. 12-step programs are available throughout every city around the world, and in Los Angeles there are hundreds of meetings at all hours of the day throughout the city. There is no charge for meeting attendance.

CAM Therapy

It is common for outpatient programs to offer complementary therapies as well. CAM stands for “complementary and alternative medicine.” This umbrella term refers to a wide range of treatment practices that is designed not to replace, but to supplement traditional addiction treatment methods. Examples of CAM therapy include music therapy, yoga, art therapy, meditation, and even pet therapy. These practices can help improve people’s peace of mind, sense of connection to the world, and help them rediscover the joy of living without the crutch of psychoactive substances.

Skills Training

Outpatient programs recognize that an important aspect of long term sobriety is being able to meet personal life goals. Individuals who are in active addiction often struggle to find or maintain employment, get out of debt, or manage their finances. Legal problems are common. Addiction can prevent people from developing essential communication and social skills as well, and the antisocial behavior that addicts engage in can damage relationships, leading to conflict and isolation. Treatment centers operate on the belief that sobriety is a trivial improvement if it is not accompanied as well with significant life changes. For this reason, outpatient programs work with clients on an individual basis and in group settings to improve their general life skills.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an addiction treatment modality that involves a combination of behavioral therapies, some of which are listed above, alongside prescription medication. Individuals who are detoxing from alcohol and drugs often suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms, which can complicate the recovery process. These symptoms can trigger people to relapse and, in the case of benzodiazepine and alcohol withdrawal, be life-threatening. 

Prescription drugs such as buprenorphine and methadone (for opioid withdrawal) or acamprosate and naltrexone (for alcohol withdrawal) can help people get off dangerous recreational drugs. These medications reduce painful withdrawal symptoms and mitigate cravings. During medication-assisted treatment at an OP, clients engage in behavioral therapies in order to develop the skills and coping tools they need to stay sober. When appropriate, a physician can supervise their withdrawal from their medications. This withdrawal involves a gradual tapering process that is designed to be as smooth as possible.

Goals and Benefits of Assisted Outpatient Treatment Programs

The main purpose of an outpatient program is helping people maintain their sobriety while supporting them as they expand their lives in the outside world. Outpatient programs are designed to serve as a first line treatment for addiction for people who are unable to enroll in or do not need a more intense program. They also are designed to be effective bridge programs, helping people who are graduating from more acute treatment programs transition to their lives in the outside world. Outpatient programs not only provide people with new tools and coping skills to help them maintain their sobriety, they aim to increase clients’ functionality in their own lives. At NuView Treatment Center, we also offer alcoholism outpatient treatment program.

Benefits of outpatient programs include:

  • Flexible treatment schedules. OPs offer rigorous treatment programs, and at the same time they allow clients to live their own lives outside of a treatment facility. For this reason, outpatient programs are ideal for individuals with work or family commitments. The flexibility of an outpatient program also allows clients to practice their newfound sober skills in the real world!
  • Medication management. OPs offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) that can help clients deal with difficult withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, they also offer medication management. Individuals who are prescribed medication to treat a physical or mental health problem are in safe hands, as OPs take it upon themselves to manage all clients’ medication schedules, when necessary.
  • Mental health services. OPs recognize that addiction rarely occurs in a vacuum. A high percentage of people suffering from addiction engage in substance abuse as a form of self-medication. OPs work to treat clients’ underlying mental health disorders. Many people also experience significant emotional distress while facing the challenges of early sobriety, and outpatient programs ensure that everyone has support while they do so.
  • Easier transitions. OPs often serve as a bridge between more acute forms of care, such as partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), and the outside world. Research shows that people who engage in treatment programs for longer periods of time are less likely to relapse over the long term. Even after graduating from their outpatient program (OP), most clients continue to pursue aftercare programs.

Outpatient Treatment Programs for Dual Diagnosis Patients

Individuals who suffer from a substance use disorder alongside one or more additional mental health conditions are known as dual diagnosis clients. A high percentage of people with addictions are dual diagnosis. Common comorbid conditions include anxiety disorder, major depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For dual diagnosis addicts with comorbid mental health conditions, treatment is often complicated by the fact that their conditions tend to reinforce each other. 

The symptoms of addictions and mental health conditions often overlap, and it is often difficult to tell what condition an individual is suffering from. More importantly, mental health conditions often drive people to engage in substance abuse, and substance abuse itself is a major causal factor for many mental illnesses. As such, people with comorbid conditions can find themselves in a vicious cycle from which it is difficult to escape.

Quality outpatient programs understand that treating an addiction involves helping people manage their comorbid mental health conditions as well. No matter how intensively a person engages in addiction treatment, their sobriety strategies will likely fail if their underlying mental health disorders are not addressed. Likewise, most people are unable to achieve mental health unless they learn to manage their addictions, since substance abuse can trigger a relapse of mental health problems. Outpatient programs offer an approach known as integrated treatment that is designed to treat every aspect of a person’s comorbidity.

Are You a Good Candidate for an Outpatient Treatment Program?

It is important to recognize that you do not have to “hit rock bottom” to justify enrolling in an outpatient program. Addictions are legitimate mental health conditions that, if left untreated, tend to get worse over time. While many sufferers are reluctant to seek help, believing that they only need to try harder or exert more will power in order to control their substance abuse, the reality is that addiction impairs a person’s will power and decision making functions. It is absolutely crucial for anyone who has begun to feel the negative impacts of substance abuse to seek treatment as soon as possible.

Outpatient programs are effective tools for people getting sober for the first time, but they are also important aspects of long term treatment for individuals graduating from more intensive programs. Outpatient programs are designed to be flexible, allowing people to maintain their commitments in the outside world and put their newfound skills into practice. Individuals who often benefit the most form outpatient programs include:

  • People who are graduating from inpatient treatment programs, partial hospitalization programs, or intensive outpatient programs
  • People who have family commitments, such as parents of young children
  • People with demanding careers who need the flexibility of being able to work while pursuing treatment
  • People who are struggling to function but haven’t hit “rock bottom” yet
  • People with strong support systems at home that they can return to at the end of the day
  • People who want an affordable treatment option that is covered by most major health insurance providers
  • People who learn best by practicing their skills in the real world
  • People who have been sober for some time but want to reduce their chances of relapsing
  • People who feel that they need additional support staying sober while dealing with difficult life challenges or mental health conditions

Finding Outpatient Treatment Programs Near Me

NuView Treatment Center, an outpatient treatment facility in Los Angeles, is committed to offering addiction treatment for all addiction severities. Our outpatient programs cover all levels of care, including partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, outpatient programs, and aftercare planning. We recognize that recovery is a period of growth and development, and that people’s needs change over time. 

Our clients have the opportunity to progress from one level of care to another, allowing them to develop increased autonomy and independence while continuing to receive invaluable support. We believe that treating an addiction is a long term process that involves self-reflection, learning new skills and behaviors, and building a new life.

Our outpatient programs are rooted in the belief that recovery from substance use disorders involves far more than just physical abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Our evidence-based treatment methods are designed to help people manage comorbid mental health conditions, build new social support systems, and fix potentially triggering life problems, including legal and financial difficulties. Our staff of highly trained and dedicated addiction professionals work with clients on an individual basis to develop individualized treatment plans that are comprehensive, holistic, evidence-based, and above all compassionate.

Whether you’re just now getting sober for the first time, graduating from a higher level of care, or trying to get sober again after a relapse, our outpatient program is here to support you. You don’t have to suffer from addiction alone. Building a new life that is happy, joyous, and free is possible. It’s just a matter of reaching out for help. Contact NuView Treatment Center today.

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