Are Private Outpatient Programs Effective?

According to a 2014 study published by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the most recent and relative data available, 1 in 10 American adults have a problem with drugs or alcohol. Fortunately, many of these same individuals have recognized the profound impact that substance abuse can have on their lives and have turned to rehab facilities to help them overcome their addiction. However, in doing so, many had to choose between receiving addiction recovery treatments at an inpatient or outpatient program.


The difference between an inpatient and outpatient program in the context of addiction recovery is that an inpatient program will require that individuals remain onsite as they work toward overcoming their addiction. Outpatient programs, on the other hand, will allow individuals to return home in-between treatment sessions. In either program, however, those who are committed to ending their relationship with drugs or alcohol will have access to physicians, therapists, and addiction experts to help make the journey toward sobriety that much easier. It is important to note that those who undergo substance abuse treatments in an outpatient program are required to spend between 10 to 12 hours per week at these facilities. Also worth noting, neither program is necessarily better than the other as it ultimately comes down to the unique needs of the patient and the severity of the addiction.


The effectiveness of an outpatient program, private or otherwise, is predicated on an individual’s commitment to overcoming their addiction. It is also worth noting that these programs tend to be more effective for early-stage addicts and those with mild addictions. That aside, most outpatient programs will provide the following:

  • Addiction counseling
  • Social education
  • Access to 12-step programs
  • Referrals to sober living homes
  • Mental health treatments
  • Medication-assisted detox
  • Relapse prevention training

It is important to keep in mind that the treatments and services offered in an outpatient program can vary from one facility to the next. However, those mentioned in this article are available at most facilities across America.


When it comes to outpatient programs, individuals can choose between partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs. And the difference between these two outpatient programs are as follows:

Partial hospitalization – Despite the name, partial hospitalization outpatient programs can take place in either a hospital setting or a rehab facility. These programs will require individuals to attend 3 to 5 treatment sessions per week, with each lasting between 4 to 6 hours. Studies show that these programs are ideal for those who might need to be medically monitored as they work toward moving past their addiction.

Intensive outpatient – These types of outpatient programs are very similar to inpatient programs in that they provide a highly structured environment that helps individuals stay on track when it comes to overcoming addiction. However, unlike an inpatient program, they are free to return home after completing their treatments. As long as the rehab facility provides a strong and stable support system, individuals with early-stage addiction or an addiction to milder substances will usually achieve sobriety in these treatment environments.


Historically, those who are cognizant of their struggles with drugs or alcohol and are motivated to end their addiction tend to benefit the most from outpatient treatments. Generally speaking, these are individuals in early-stage addiction or those who may have a problem with less serious substances, such as marijuana, for example. Conversely, outpatient rehab treatments are generally not advised if an individual meets any of the following criteria:

  • Has a severe addiction that requires round-the-clock monitoring
  • Has a strong history of relapsing
  • If they represent a danger to themselves and others
  • If they are highly susceptible to giving in to cravings or temptation


All in all, depending on the nature of one’s addiction, substance abuse treatments in an outpatient program can be highly effective as long as those who are seeking treatment are committed to breaking the cycle of addiction. For information on substance abuse treatments in an outpatient program, consider scheduling a consultation with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate associates today.