Outpatient substance abuse treatment is an alternative to inpatient, and can prove very effective for those who choose it wisely. Outpatient substance abuse treatment entails submitting to ongoing treatment while continuing to go about usual daily activities. Unlike residential substance abuse treatment, which requires clients to live on site, outpatient treatment allows clients to continue living in their personal residence and hold appointments for their substance abuse treatment. This type of treatment can still be intensive, with some part of treatment taking place everyday, but it is no where near as intensive as inpatient treatment.
Outpatient treatment gives a person with substance abuse problems access to individual counseling, group therapy, facilitator sessions, support groups, sponsors and other exercises that change their thought patterns and strengthen their coping skills. Through sessions that last for a matter of hours, a client has the opportunity to interact with other substance abusers who are in recovery as well as mental health experts who are able to help them understand why they abuse substances as well as how to stop themselves.
The outpatient model allows the individual to continue holding a job, engaging in extracurricular activities and maintaining their personal relationships while attending substance abuse treatment. This gives the individual the freedom to stay active in their lives while still working toward recovery. This is a benefit to people whose substance abuse is not severe. The reason for this is the newness or mildness of the person's substance abuse problem means it is not deeply rooted and therefore does not require the most intensive forms of treatment to solve. A severe substance abuser could not benefit from this option because the triggers and opportunities to relapse that they encounter in the world are too strong. The option of remaining active in one's life would undermine the success of outpatient treatment for a severe substance abuser. But for a lesser substance abuser, the balance between regular treatment and continued exposure to the world can make for the perfect balance.