That is part of the reason why only around 10 percent of people who needed treatment for addiction actually got professional treatment services in 2016, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports.
Outpatient programs can offer you needed flexibility if you have personal responsibilities that make it hard to attend treatment. Outpatient treatment might be right for you if you have:
- Children or dependents who are under your direct care.
- Work obligations that can’t be put on hold.
- School or educational commitments.
- Insurance parameters.
Outpatient treatment can be a good option if you need to maintain your current lifestyle as much as possible while still getting help for addiction.
Children or Dependents
National surveys conducted between 2009 and 2014, published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), indicate that as many as one out of every eight children in the United States lives in a home with at least one parent struggling with addiction. The need to take care of your children or dependents can prevent you from attending an inpatient treatment program.
Outpatient services can be a great option to ensure that you are getting the help you need while still able to attend to your family responsibilities. Outpatient programs typically only last for a few hours a few days a week.
Many programs offer both morning and evening sessions to allow for more scheduling options. This allows you to schedule childcare more easily or attend services while kids are in school or aftercare programs. With an outpatient program, you will be home at night too.
No Need for a Leave of Absence From Work
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal provision that protects your job if you need to take as much as 12 weeks of leave for medical or family reasons. Treatment for addiction is covered under FMLA. Individual states may have their own laws protecting you as well.
That being said, it can still be hard to ask for a leave of absence, particularly if your role is vital to the organization. Or maybe you don’t want to take time away from work because the worry of not being there just compounds your overall stress. Or perhaps you run your own business where the option to take time off just isn’t there. You may also not be able to support yourself or your family financially if you stop working for too long.
Outpatient treatment services can often be scheduled around your work schedule. This can allow you to keep making money and working while you get help. You may be able to attend an outpatient program in the evening, after work, a few days per week.
Continuing With School or an Education Program
School or education programs are highly structured. They expect you to complete certain classes in a set amount of time and adhere to strict schedule.
If this is the case for you, an outpatient treatment program can be ideal. Whereas you might have to take off an entire semester for inpatient rehab, you can schedule your outpatient sessions around your existing school schedule.
You can finish your schooling in the time required and get help for drug and/or alcohol addiction at the same time.
How Flexible Are Outpatient Addiction Programs?
Outpatient addiction treatment programs will vary by location and services provided. They are usually very flexible, and many offer services and programs that run during the day and at night. These programs have sessions, meetings, and programming for a few hours a few days per week, allowing you to set your treatment schedule accordingly.
Group counseling, therapy, and support groups may be at a set time each week that you will need to work around, but you will be able to schedule your individual sessions at times that work for both you and the provider.
If you have a high-stress job or intense school schedule, you may need to lighten up some of that load while in outpatient treatment. You want to be able to fully focus on your treatment without feeling too overwhelmed by work or school. Assess what is possible with your current schedule.
Contact the treatment facility directly to figure out a schedule that will work for you. Outpatient treatment programs want to accommodate you, so you can get the help you need in a timeframe that makes sense.
Is There a Timeline for My Recovery Progress?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that no matter what kind of treatment program you choose for addiction, you should remain in it for at least 90 days. You may need to attend an outpatient program for longer if you are not going for many hours per week.
There is no specific timeline for recovery. Each person’s needs will be different. What works for you may not be the same for someone else.
Insurance can sometimes put a timeline on how many days of treatment services they will cover. Some will have limits on the number of days they will cover in a particular year or the total cost of services they will cover.
Due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance providers are required to offer coverage for substance abuse treatment that is equal to the coverage they offer for other surgical and medical services. Check with your provider to find out exactly what your coverage entails.
Selecting an Outpatient Program
You’ll want an outpatient treatment program that fits your schedule and is convenient for you. Consider the following factors when assessing programs:
- Services provided
- Schedule of when services are offered
- If they accept your insurance
- Overall price
You don’t have to abandon your family or personal responsibilities if you attend outpatient addiction treatment. You may have to make some accommodations in terms of your time, but overall, you can keep up with your responsibilities while you are in outpatient rehab.