The Benefit of Intensive Outpatient Programs for Drug Addiction

by | Aug 9, 2012 | Health Care

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When a person is addicted to drugs, there are two choices for treatment: inpatient or outpatient treatment. Many times, the patient is apprehensive about taking part in an inpatient treatment because of the time commitment it involves, as well as the isolation from their regular life. For those patients who are not willing to take part in an inpatient treatment, there are intensive outpatient programs available that are just as successful in treating a drug addiction.

What Is an Outpatient Program?

The typical outpatient plan takes place over an eight week period, three to five times per week. During this time the basics of drug addiction will be covered, including how the addiction started in the first place, how it has affected the patient’s life and how to deal with the mental anguish the addiction has caused. Patients will also learn about the recovery process and how to prevent future relapses.

It is necessary for the outpatient treatment to be combined with help from a trusted source back at home that will help the patient stay drug free. This type of treatment plan is different than an inpatient treatment where the patient is detoxified and deals with the withdrawal symptoms and learning to live without drugs with the constant support of medical professionals. Without a trusted person at home, an outpatient treatment can be difficult for a patient to complete on their own.

Learning about Withdrawal Symptoms

Most intensive outpatient programs will create a plan for patients to deal with the symptoms of withdrawal. Since each patient’s withdrawal symptoms will differ, it is important to get an individualized plan. With the help of a counselor at outpatient sessions, patients can learn how to deal with certain withdrawal symptoms, such as the difficulty to concentrate, depression, anxiety, clumsiness and the inability to sleep without turning to drugs.

Creating a Plan for Relapse Prevention

Creating a plan to prevent a relapse is a vital part of intensive outpatient programs. A relapse is defined as turning back to the drug to which a patient was addicted to in the first place or turning to a different drug. Either way, the results are detrimental. Creating a plan with an outpatient group will help keep the patient accountable and give him something to hold on to as he struggles through his new drug-free life. The relapse prevention plan gives patients something to use to ask themselves questions to gauge if they are in danger of a possible relapse and need more help with their addiction.


To learn more about the benefits of using intensive outpatient programs for drug addiction, visit