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Although most alcoholics recognize the negative impacts of heavy drinking, many feel like they are unable to quit. Unfortunately, long-term inpatient treatment is not feasible for many individuals who struggle with alcoholism. Thankfully, there are other options. Outpatient alcohol treatment programs provide greater flexibility and accessibility to busy patients who need professional help. You can’t let alcohol control your life forever, so if you struggle with heavy drinking, then you need to take a look at this comprehensive overview of outpatient alcohol rehab programs to learn more about your treatment options.

Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

Understanding Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

In outpatient alcohol treatment programs, patients go to a rehab facility for various therapies multiple times per week. Instead of spending the night at the facility, the patient goes home after their therapy sessions. Outpatient programs offer all of the same therapies as inpatient programs, but patients are not under constant professional supervision in an outpatient program. The primary goal of any addiction recovery program is to give patients the proper skills and mindset to resist temptations, stay sober, deal with co-occurring mental disorders, and maintain their long-term health and happiness.

Types of Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Programs

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

PHPs serve as a bridge between detox programs and standard outpatient care. The patient still goes home at night in a PHP. However, therapy sessions in PHPs tend to be longer than in other outpatient programs, and patients typically visit the treatment center four or more times per week. Most patients spend two to three weeks in a PHP before enrolling in another outpatient program.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

An IOP is often a next step in a patient’s addiction treatment journey. Patients in IOPs attend fewer sessions per week than in PHPs, and sessions tend to be a bit shorter. Therapists and patients work together to devise a unique treatment plan, so the duration of an IOP depends on the patient’s needs. Garden State Treatment Center offers daytime and evening IOP sessions to give patients more flexibility as they try to balance their addiction treatment and everyday responsibilities. Many patients transition to a standard outpatient program after completing an IOP.

Standard Outpatient Programs

In a standard outpatient program, patients can expect to visit the treatment center three or four days per week to participate in individual therapy, holistic therapies, and group therapies. At this stage in the treatment process, most patients start to prepare for everyday life without regular treatment at an alcohol rehab facility. Patients arrange long-term accommodations, devise plans for continuing care, and search for support groups and addiction resources in their area as they go through a standard outpatient program.

Telehealth and Online Alcohol Treatment Programs

Many patients do not have the time or resources to travel to an addiction treatment center multiple times per week. Thankfully, online alcohol rehab programs make addiction treatment extremely accessible. As long as a patient has an internet connection, they can receive effective individual therapies and group therapies from skilled addiction professionals anywhere in the world.

Therapeutic Approaches in Outpatient Treatment

Addiction specialists combine a variety of therapies to help patients build the skills that they need to stay sober and function in society. Individual therapies consist of one-on-one talk sessions with behavioral specialists. In group sessions, patients discuss their experiences, successes, and stressors with their peers under the supervision of a licensed addiction counselor. The following sessions go into greater detail about the different therapies that a patient may go through in an addiction treatment program.

Individual Therapies

Motivational Interviewing

Although alcoholics understand that heavy drinking isn’t good for them, many don’t believe that they’re able to make the necessary lifestyle changes to break out of the cycle of addiction. In a motivational interviewing session, the therapist asks questions and directs conversations in ways that make the patient reflect on alcohol’s negative impact on their life. Consistent motivational interviewing eventually gives the patient a sense of urgency and enough self-efficacy to make tangible goals to improve their life and stay away from alcohol.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

An individual’s patterns of thinking can significantly affect their behaviors and feelings of self-worth. Many alcoholics struggle with very negative thoughts, and these patterns of thought drive them to engage in self-destructive behaviors. The primary goal of CBT is to identify pervasive thought patterns, stop negative thoughts, and replace them with productive ways of thinking.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Some people turn to alcohol to cope with intense emotions. While alcohol may temporarily numb a person’s pain, it will exacerbate their emotional woes over time. In DBT, patients learn how to endure their negative feelings as they build effective coping skills. DBT focuses heavily on helping patients learn how to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships and uphold their personal boundaries.

Group Therapies

Process Groups

In process groups, patients primarily discuss their feelings, experiences with recovery, drug use, coping strategies, and other relevant topics with each other. The supervising therapist’s role is to facilitate respectful and appropriate discussion among group members. Process groups reduce patients’ feelings of isolation and help group members make valuable connections with peers in similar situations.

Skills Development Groups

Alcoholics need to understand and practice new coping mechanisms to positive real-world effects from them. Patients in skills groups take turns talking about their struggles, and the therapist provides in-depth analyses of patients’ problems and describes how they can use certain coping mechanisms to deal with them. Skills development groups help patients recognize warning signs of relapse, provide an element of peer support, and give patients greater insights into the effects and use cases of various coping strategies.

Psychoeducational Groups

Patients in psychoeducational groups listen to lectures and watch educational videos on substance abuse, coping strategies, sobriety, and other relevant topics. After presenting educational materials to group members, the therapist prompts discussion among the group members and elaborates on certain points in the materials. Psychoeducational groups give patients a greater foundation of practical knowledge to draw from as they try to maintain lifelong sobriety.

Family Therapy and Support

Alcoholism can seriously affect a person’s relationships with their spouse, children, and other family members. At the same time, unhealthy family dynamics can worsen an alcoholic’s destructive behaviors. With family therapy, an alcoholic’s family can receive the emotional support that they need while also learning how to facilitate their loved one’s long-term success.

Support Groups and 12-Step Programs

Most support groups and 12-step programs work similarly to process groups. However, while the main purpose of group therapy is to help patients get sober, support groups are meant to give group members an outlet to cope with the challenges that come with maintaining long-term sobriety. Because of this, support groups are much more useful after a patient has gone through professional addiction treatment.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Various medications can help recovering addicts manage withdrawal symptoms and resist cravings. Doctors prescribe medications on a case-by-case basis, and most patients eventually grow beyond the need for MAT. Patients typically go through group therapies, individual therapies, and other therapies as they receive MAT. Doctors consistently meet with MAT patients to assess their progress, monitor their overall health, and adjust dosages of MAT drugs as necessary. Common medications used in outpatient alcohol treatment include:

  • Naltrexone
  • Acamprosate
  • Disulfiram

The Role of Holistic Therapies in Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

When someone is physically and mentally healthy, they are less likely to turn to alcohol to deal with their problems. While holistic therapies can’t replace traditional alcohol treatment, they can give patients the proper outlets to express their creativity, manage stress, and improve their physical wellbeing. Many outpatient programs offer holistic therapies such as:

  • Art and music therapy
  • Yoga and meditation classes
  • Acupuncture and massage therapy
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Exercise and physical fitness programs

Pros and Cons of Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

Outpatient alcohol treatment has many advantages over inpatient treatment, but it’s not the best choice for everyone. Patients in outpatient programs tend to have more time to fulfill their personal and career obligations. Furthermore, outpatient programs are usually more affordable than inpatient programs. On the other hand, outpatient treatment can only work if the patient has a healthy home environment and can stay away from heavy drinkers and other environmental triggers. Therapists in inpatient programs can respond more quickly to patients’ crises, and patients may be able to form stronger bonds with other patients when they stay full-time at a treatment facility.

Picking the Right Alcohol Treatment Option

Every patient has unique needs, and a patient is less likely to succeed if they do not enroll in the right addiction treatment program. You want to overcome your addiction without wasting time or money. Therefore, if you’re thinking about enrolling in an alcohol rehab program, then you need to think carefully about the following points before making any big decisions.

Factors To Consider

Severity of Alcohol Use Disorder

The intensity of a recovery program should align with the extent of an individual’s addiction. If a patient has been a heavy drinker for decades, then they may benefit from a detox program, inpatient programs, or a partial hospitalization program. In contrast, someone with a shorter history of alcohol abuse may be able to overcome their addiction with a standard outpatient program or telehealth sessions with an addiction therapist.

Personal and Professional Obligations

Most people have jobs, families, and other obligations. Consequently, living at a treatment facility may not be the most feasible option for many patients. Some outpatient programs offer daytime and evening sessions so that anyone can fit helpful addiction therapies into their busy schedule.

Social Support and Home Environment

If a patient doesn’t have the social support that they need to thrive, then they will probably fall back on old habits. A patient shouldn’t stay at home if they live with drinkers or can’t handle the stresses of everyday life. Inpatient programs remove patients from alcohol, negative people, and other temptations to improve their odds of success. Most inpatient programs also connect patients with sober living resources so that they don’t have to return to a sobriety-unfriendly environment.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Addiction specialists have a lot of knowledge and experience, and they’ve worked with patients in all kinds of situations. Thus, if you’re not sure about your treatment options, then you may want to consult with a therapist for a professional opinion. The therapists at a reputable treatment facility can help you craft a treatment plan and choose a recovery program that will maximize your odds of successfully quitting alcohol and maintaining long-term sobriety.

Transitioning From Inpatient to Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

Many patients start in detox or inpatient programs and transfer to outpatient programs after some time. However, some patients find that they don’t need outpatient treatment after completing an inpatient program. As a patient makes their way through an inpatient program, their therapists get to know the patient well enough to determine whether they should transition to an outpatient program.

You Don’t Have To Fight Your Addiction Alone

Long-term alcohol abuse will ruin your mind, body, and relationships. As long as alcohol controls your life, you will be just a beer or shot away from disaster. You want to get the most out of life, but that’s only possible when you’re sober, so you need to call Garden State Treatment Center today to find out more about the best outpatient programs in New Jersey.

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