Although drug and alcohol treatment is proven to be successful with a properly conducted intervention, detox and inpatient treatment followed by ongoing aftercare, there are situations in which an outpatient treatment center is appropriate and can produce the desired results of sobriety and recovery. Outpatient therapy can take many forms, as it can be a stand alone recovery program, or it can be part of aftercare when inpatient treatment is finished. Outpatient alcohol treatment can be especially useful for a moderate user who needs access to the outside world in order to maintain a career and provide for a family, yet needs assistance toward remaining sober. On the other end of the spectrum, outpatient drug rehab can provide a valuable service to an addict after extended prison, inpatient treatment, and living in a halfway house. The end goal is always the same; maintaining a healthy lifestyle with recovery and sobriety.

Addiction as a Disease

Without a doubt, addiction is a disease. Specific nuances of the illness aren’t always clearly defined as it can be genetic in some cases or imposed through extended substance abuse in others. Local outpatient treatment and outpatient alcohol treatment are proven forms of contradicting the symptoms of what is known to be an incurable disease regardless of how it manifests itself. An important aspect of outpatient therapy is to recognize addiction as an illness and treat it as such. It is also an important part of treatment to understand the illness, in spite of how it may be perceived or presented within society, is not the fault of the addict but is a medical condition which can be treated.

Recovery Program Options

There are different means and methods of conducting substance abuse and addiction treatment programs. The least desirable is prison time served whether for the addiction itself or crimes committed while under the influence of the disease. The problem with prison is it doesn’t provide the needed tools to maintain a long term recovery plan, but it does in fact impose a forced sobriety on the patient, and in some cases that is how treatment must begin.

A better plan is to start with a voluntary intervention conducted by friends and family, followed by inpatient treatment and then outpatient drug rehab. Such a plan allows the addict to understand how and why the illness affects them, and learn what they need to do to find a tolerable solution toward successful recovery. Anybody can stop using for a few days or even a week, but nobody will find long term sobriety through sheer strength of character and determination. Addiction simply doesn’t work that way.

When Outpatient Treatment is Appropriate

A common question revolves around what is outpatient treatment, and how does it relate to inpatient treatment? There is no simple answer as the program is custom designed to the needs of each addict. A person who realizes they are overusing a prescription medication, or who drinks to avoid dealing with a immediate personal problem, may find outpatient treatment and therapy to be sufficient to address their concerns and stop before addiction takes full control of their life. Someone else may have used a variety of drugs over the course of their life and developed an addiction based on their lifestyle along with a genetic predisposition toward addiction. Likewise, another person may use for years and quite without problem, although such a case is rare as there is usually an underlying cause which need be addressed in tandem with drug treatment therapy. The bottom line is that each case is different just like each addict is a different person, what works for one will probably not be the solution for the next case of addiction.

Follow Through, Aftercare, and Ongoing Recovery

Outpatient drug abuse treatment becomes especially important as part of an aftercare program. Regardless of how much time the addict spends sober, it matters not toward the idea of how the disease is incurable. Fifteen years of sobriety is gone in the ten seconds it takes to consume the next drink, or even in the two seconds it takes to convince an addict of how it won’t harm them to just do a small dose of their favorite drug. Ongoing recovery and outpatient treatment are the final solution as they remind the addict to remain aware of their illness and not allow it to take back control over their lives.


Outpatient drug and alcohol treatment serves a very definite purpose in the life of an addict finding recovery, but it is not a be-all, end-all, solution to the problem. The way to approach outpatient treatment is to follow a doctor’s advice with an overall plan of extended long term treatment. The program works and recovery is very much possible, but the addict has to maintain the program as it was designed and follow the treatment as prescribed for them.