Many struggling addicts and alcoholics wonder at some point if outpatient rehab is the best route for them to take in their recovery. Of course there are always going to be many different levels of treatment available to the recovering addict, ranging from long term rehab where you live in treatment for over a year, all the way down to maybe seeing a therapist for an hour each week. And of course there is just about everything in between. So where does outpatient treatment fall into this spectrum, and does it really fill a useful gap?
I say no, it doesn’t. My opinion is that outpatient drug rehab is a waste of time, for the most part, and will not bring in good results for the amount of time, effort, and resources that are spent on it.
Here’s why I argue this:
* Outpatient rehab does not address some of the critical factors of drug and alcohol addition when they most need to be addressed, such as the environmental factor. In other words, you are dealing with an addict who is tempted to relapse on their drug of choice, and using outpatient treatment keeps the addict stuck in the environment with that temptation. This is especially difficult in early recovery when the addict is most vulnerable to relapse. In a case like this, inpatient rehab makes more sense because it provides protection from environmental factors when the addict needs that type of support the most.
* Relationships gained in outpatient therapy are superficial and do not carry the same emotional impact as the connections made during inpatient rehab. You get better results from the group when they are living under one roof, due to the higher level of intimacy.
* Success rates are generally lower, across the board, for outpatient therapy as compared with inpatient rehab.
Going to outpatient for addiction is a major compromise, in my opinion. If you really want to get clean and sober and make a huge change in your life (which is what is required) then you will take the plunge and invest in a significant amount of treatment. That means going all the way and signing on for inpatient care rather than the broken solution of doing outpatient groups. In my opinion, you are only setting yourself up for failure and vulnerabilities when you go home from treatment every night, rather than staying in the safety and security of a protected environment.