Outpatient addiction treatment programs are much more lenient than inpatient addiction treatment programs though still offer varying levels of medical and emotional support in day programs, intensive outpatient programs and continuing care. These types of programs are not recommended for a person suffering from severe addiction and withdrawals and tend to be better for people with a mild to medium substance abuse problem.
The most intensive type of outpatient addiction treatment is the day program, patients are required to dedicate a great deal of time and effort to participate in and successfully complete the program. The patient will only get as much out of the program as they put into it. Unlike an inpatient treatment program, patients have the freedom of returning to their normal lives and setting their own schedules between treatment and therapy, however, patients must commit to attending meetings five to seven days a week for multiple hours each day in which they will participate in ongoing therapies such as family therapy, group counseling, biofeedback, and motivational enhancement therapy.
The next type of outpatient addiction treatment requires less time and more effort of the patient, the intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a treatment plan for the goal-getter, a person who has the strength to take each step and conquer it without having their handheld. The patient will need to participate in counseling and group therapy sessions for a few hours per week to guide them and monitor as they achieve their milestones, and the more they accomplish the less they will need to participate.
The final type of outpatient addiction treatment is an ongoing or continuing care programs such as individual therapy, alternative support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or other types of 12-step programs. These types of programs are often age or gender-specific, meet weekly and are led by a licensed counselor. Continuing care programs serve as a support group as well as a weekly reminder to stay strong and are recommended for anyone suffering from addiction, but are especially good for people who have already completed some sort of structured treatment.