What Types of Outpatient Treatment Programs Are Available?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, around 275 million people used drugs globally. This percentage was up nearly 22% compared to the decade prior. The increase in drug addiction led to a record-shattering number of overdoses in the United States. The promising news is that addiction treatment helps. Many individuals recover and live healthier lives. Outpatient treatment programs are incredibly beneficial and work well for residents transitioning from higher levels of care. 

Outpatient treatment programs utilize the same resources and therapies that inpatient programs use but are less intensive. Before starting an outpatient program, it helps to understand more about the program and what to expect. Learn more about the most popular outpatient programs, why therapy is important, and if insurance will cover the costs.

Types of Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient therapy helps individuals recover from substance use disorders, trauma, or mental health conditions. Sometimes, treatment involves all three. During outpatient therapy, an individual travels to a facility and attends therapy. It does not include an overnight stay and 24/7 supervision. There are three primary types of outpatient treatment programs. The main programs are:

  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Traditional outpatient therapy

Under these three umbrella groups, there are several specializations. Some may argue whether a PHP is an inpatient or outpatient program. It falls between an IOP and residential treatment. However, it is slightly different from residential treatment because there are no overnight stays.

In outpatient therapy, there are several types of treatment. Some examples are:

  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Substance use disorders
  • Dual disorders
  • Mental health
  • Trauma

Substance abuse and mental health outpatient therapy are two of the largest sectors. It is not uncommon for a resident to transition from an inpatient or residential treatment program to one (or several) of the outpatient therapies listed above. 

Best Outpatient Programs

The best outpatient programs are ones that cater to individual needs. Intensive outpatient programs are ideal for those who still need weekly therapy. Individuals with more severe substance use or mental health disorders may choose this route after a residential stint. It involves a higher weekly commitment than traditional outpatient or support group programs. An ideal and well-qualified IOP will include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Evidence-based research techniques (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy)

An outpatient program helps nourish coping strategies and prevent relapse. IOPs can also facilitate job searches. This tool allows individuals safely transition from therapy back to real-world scenarios. Other benefits of attending an IOP are:

  • Preventing the need for a higher level of care 
  • Decreasing the risk of worsening conditions
  • Helping reduce relapse from patients attending residential treatments
  • Address ongoing issues (e.g., social, cognitive, behavioral)

IOPs are not only for individuals transitioning from a higher level of care. It is also ideal for those who do not need detox or are not in danger of harming themselves or others. 

MAT in an Outpatient Setting

MAT is best utilized with other behavioral therapies. It is not solely designed for inpatient treatment. Several patients receive MAT while attending outpatient therapy. 

Combining both gives more resources to facilitate long-term sobriety. For many, relapse can stem from cravings. These cravings are typically more severe in the earlier stages but can perseverate for months to years. The most commonly used MAT are:

  • Naltrexone
  • Suboxone
  • Subutex
  • Sublocade

Several research studies highlight the benefits of MAT for addiction treatment. For starters, it can decrease overdose rates. MAT also boosts patient outcomes and improves treatment retention and employment rates. 

Do Outpatient Treatment Options Work?

Addiction recovery is a long and arduous road. There is no doubt that it takes months or years of hard work. Outpatient therapy is necessary to help with long-term sobriety and healthier life. Additionally, mental health and substance use disorders often co-exist. Approximately nine million Americans deal with both conditions. Yet, around 60% don’t receive any treatment. This makes it even more important to look into treatment options specializing in dual disorders. 

Professionals who specialize in dual diagnosis will comprehensively evaluate the symptoms of both. There are medication options that can address the addiction and mental health components. Other valuable tools professionals use for dual diagnosis treatment are:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Community treatment 

CBT and DBT are two evidence-based psychotherapies that help various conditions. These treatments work at replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. Negative thinking patterns can lead to poor behaviors and coping strategies. Community treatment is another valuable tool. Patients receive individual services and local resources. These helpful tools help with community reintegration and building support systems. 

Does Insurance Cover Outpatient Therapy?

Some insurance providers may cover outpatient therapy. The best way to check is by contacting insurance providers and seeking in-network facilities. Additionally, quality outpatient therapy institutes will help verify insurance and provide upfront costs. One of the primary benefits of choosing outpatient therapy is that it costs less than traditional residential treatment. If a person was denied residential coverage, an IOP could be a more affordable option. 

Finding an Outpatient Treatment Program

Outpatient treatment programs are highly beneficial in helping individuals achieve long-term sobriety. They are less intensive than traditional inpatient programs. Yet, they continue focusing on crucial skill development for real-world scenarios. It also allows individuals to continue individualized and group treatments initiated during residential treatment. One of the best outpatient programs is an IOP. IOPs offer hours of therapy weekly and are excellent alternatives to PHPs or residential treatments. 

For more information about outpatient treatment programs in South Florida, visit our admissions page to get started on the road to recovery!

Medically Reviewed: September 15, 2022

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer | CWC Recovery Staff

Clinical Team

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Content on this page has been reviewed by CWC Medical Staff for accuracy.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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