When people in Florida think of “rehabilitation” in relation to substance abuse, they might imagine an inpatient treatment facility where they spend several weeks or months detoxing from addictive substances, and participating in individual and group therapy sessions. While inpatient treatment is a commonly used method of care, in Florida and across the country, there are many kinds of rehabilitation offered for individuals struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Outpatient rehabilitation is another option for those who need a bit more flexibility in their treatment, and residents of Florida have plenty of options to choose from in their state.
Pros and Cons of Outpatient Treatment
In contrast to inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation allows clients to return home after therapy sessions or doctors’ visits. This is especially beneficial for people who cannot take a long absence from their jobs or their families. People in outpatient rehabilitation for substance abuse or addiction problems are generally allowed a greater sense of privacy and anonymity, which can help their recovery in some cases. Treatment usually costs less as well, because participants do not have to cover the cost of food and lodging in addition to therapy and medical treatments. The outpatient treatment model often offers more financial and personal flexibility than inpatient rehabilitation programs.
There are cons to outpatient treatment, however. There is generally more potential for relapse as clients are not under 24-hour supervision, and they have access to substances of abuse. In addition, clients are often not able to fully focus on their recovery efforts due to the distractions in the “real” world.
Choosing Outpatient Treatment
If needed, the first step in either inpatient or outpatient treatment is medical detox. While medical detox is not always needed, it is usually necessary in cases of severe or long-term addiction, and for those who are addicted to any substance that comes with physical dependence, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opiates.
At the initial assessment, which can take place prior to or after detox, the client will meet with the case manager to determine which type of care is most appropriate. It is important for the client to be honest about all life stresses and complications with the therapist at this time. The client should also weigh in on the type of care they feel would be best – either in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Oftentimes, clients begin with an inpatient treatment program and then transition to outpatient care. In other cases, clients take part in outpatient care from the start.
Outpatient treatment programs offer more flexibility, but they still maintain a strict structure, and all participants must adhere to the guidelines. Specific requirements vary according to each program. There are two basic types of outpatient treatment:
- Standard outpatient treatment: Generally, these programs require that clients attend both individual and group therapy sessions each week. Participation in 12-Step meetings is often recommended, if not required. Standard outpatient treatment can last for over a year, although one year is the typical timeframe for the most intense part of the program.
- Intensive outpatient treatment: This type of outpatient program is more structured, requiring around 10-20 hours of individual counseling or group therapy per week, typically spread over 3-5 days. The most intense versions of this program require attendance at full-day sessions five days per week, but allow the individual to return home each night. Like inpatient rehabilitation, intensive outpatient treatment usually lasts for 1-3 months; however, the specific length of treatment will vary according to each individual.
The goals of outpatient therapy, whether standard outpatient treatment or intensive outpatient treatment, are similar. Outpatient treatment aims to help clients:
- Achieve abstinence
- Change daily routines and behaviors to support abstinence
- Find and participate in community support, including but not limited to group therapy and 12-Step meetings
- Uncover psychosocial causes that led to substance abuse or addiction
- Create and strengthen their support network to maintain abstinence
- Improve problem-solving skills
- Develop healthier coping mechanisms for stress and ways to manage triggers for substance abuse
Who Benefits from Outpatient Rehabilitation?
Ultimately, a conversation between the individual and the therapist or doctor will offer the best determination regarding what type of substance abuse rehabilitation program will work best for the individual. However, outpatient rehabilitation is a great option for people who:
- Need or want to be close to their families, especially parents of young children
- Cannot quit work or are unable to take a leave of absence from work
- Cannot afford inpatient rehabilitation
- Are able to stay away from addictive substances in their homes or daily lives
In some medical studies, intensive outpatient rehabilitation and inpatient rehabilitation were found to have very similar outcomes in terms of patient success. This is because intensive outpatient programs allow individuals to focus on their treatment and recovery, while maintaining existing social, work, and family commitments.
When deciding on the best course of treatment, it is important for people to be honest about how able they are to stay away from addictive substances in their current environment, as well as their ability to manage stressful situations at work and home while also attending therapy. People who have a strong focus on recovery and great existing social support from friends and family see great success overcoming their substance abuse and addiction through outpatient treatment programs. Since relapse temptations are more present with outpatient treatment, those who don’t have a strong support system in place or a safe home environment tend to do better with inpatient care.
The Need for Outpatient Rehabilitation Treatment in Florida
Per the Florida Drug Control Update, a report published by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, in 2007, approximately 8 percent of those who live in Florida report using an illicit drug in the prior month. Florida’s rate of drug-induced death is higher than the national average. In Florida, 16.1 people per 100,000 die due to drug use each year, whereas the national average is 12.7 people per 100,000.
Across the country, outpatient treatment is accessed more than inpatient care, and the same is true for Florida. There is no one-size-fits-all program that will work for everyone, so the key is to find the right program for the client’s specific needs as well as a treatment center that tailors the treatment approach to each individual.
Oftentimes, doctors or therapists provide referrals to outpatient treatment program. The medical professional takes the individual’s situation into account and then refers the person to potential outpatient rehabilitation programs near the person’s home. Whereas traveling for treatment is common for inpatient treatment, people tend to attend outpatient treatment programs that are relatively close to their homes for obvious reasons.
Online resources can also help people find an appropriate outpatient treatment program in Florida. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a services locator, which can help people find treatment facilities near them. Psychology Today offers lists of therapists, including substance abuse therapists, who can write referrals to treatment programs for people who are struggling with addiction. For those looking for support in the form of 12-Step meetings, the websites of both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can help people find a meeting in their zip code with a quick search. While all of these are national in scope, they allow people to search for information on treatment programs in Florida according to zip code or city.
The Florida Department of Children and Families oversees substance abuse and addiction services with state funding. Their website and hotline can both be helpful for people who need outpatient rehabilitation services to overcome a substance abuse problem and don’t know where to start. The Florida Hospital Association offers a general search of the state’s hospitals; these hospitals can be accessed in emergency situations, and they can often provide referrals for substance addiction treatment, whether inpatient or outpatient.
Referrals to outpatient treatment programs come in many forms – from medical professionals, national organizations, and therapists to friends or simple online searches. There are many physical and mental issues associated with substance abuse and addiction, and people who struggle need help. For many, an outpatient treatment program will offer the flexibility, support, and focus on sobriety that is needed to truly achieve ongoing recovery.