Outpatient treatment is explained by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) as a program that can be quite comparable to residential treatment – but those recovering from substance abuse will find there’s more independence, and the nature of the program may vary depending on a person’s individual needs. Outpatient treatment is a beautiful stepping stone for many who want to transition from residential treatment to something that provides them with less supervision – because they want to be able to return home and to start picking up responsibilities in a “normal life”. If you’re ready to begin an intensive outpatient treatment program, you’ll find there are many components that can make you stronger in recovery:
- Ongoing 12-Step programs
- Weekly individual and group meetings
- Case management
- And more
In addition to this, you’ll be able to return home each day while being able to actively participate in recovery processes that reinforce your goals. There are some major hurdles you’ll experience along the way, though – because with every major transition, there are going to be aspects that take some time to adjust to.
Common Hurdles of The Outpatient Treatment Transition
A publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains that engagement can be challenging for those in outpatient treatment programs, and in several ways not unique to the program itself:
Personal issues – such as health problems, psychological concerns, motivational status, etc.
Issues with others – problems at home with a significant relationship, family dynamic, support system and others
Societal concerns – cultural differences, fear of stigma and more
Structural implications – treatment policies and procedures may be different from what a person is used to
These particular issues can challenge a person’s ability to attend treatment programs, engage in them or otherwise maintain them over time. In addition to these broad, sweeping concerns that can weigh heavily on a person trying to succeed in outpatient treatment, there are other, more natural hurdles to consider upon entering this type of program:
Home environment – a person needs to ensure that upon their return home, they will have no triggers (such as living in a hostile environment, coming home to other friends or family members who are using drugs, etc.) so they can succeed in meeting their recovery goals
Social support – for optimal recovery, a person truly needs a strong support system at home; people who will be there for them through the good and bad times, and individuals who will not bring them backwards in their goal of sobriety is incredibly important
Discipline – outpatient treatment programs are different from residential programs because there’s much less monitoring and supervision. A person must feel ready to implement the lifestyle they’ve developed in treatment at home, too.
Transportation – with greater independence comes greater responsibilities, and part of outpatient treatment is ensuring that you have a car or other mode of transportation to get you to your recovery activities on time
Responsibilities – work hours, child support and other responsibilities need to be arranged beforehand so a person can carry out their treatment program with as minimal of issues as possible
Overcoming Barriers to Treatment
Despite all of these issues that can arise throughout treatment, there are just as many ways for a person to succeed and overcome these obstacles. First and foremost, communication is essential – if you speak with your support network at Cumberland Heights, you’ll be able to identify these barriers and find ways to work through them alongside people who care. A 2017 study published in The American Journal on Addictions found that motivational interviewing – an approach used in therapy to help a person identify the benefits/negatives of seeking and maintaining help – was greatly beneficial in increasing a person’s engagement in outpatient treatment. Rely on your support team – they’re there to help you push through these barriers and find ways of motivating yourself in recovery.
In addition to communication, organization is essential to ensuring all details are checked off the list for your entrance to the treatment program. Speak with friends, family and managers at your job well before you begin your outpatient treatment program so you can have these responsibilities handled (such as who is picking up the kids, what days you will go into work and what days you will need off, how you’re going to get to treatment and back each week, etc.). Lastly, and most importantly – don’t give up.
Everyone has issues they’re dealing with, but you’ll find that you’re more confident and stable than you’ve ever been once you’re at a good pace in outpatient treatment. This type of program is intensive, but it still provides you with everything you need to continue following the path towards the life you’ve always wanted.
Cumberland Heights in Crossville Tennessee is a 12-Step based outpatient alcohol and drug rehab program. Cumberland Heights’ Intensive Outpatient Program is designed for individuals age 18 and above who may be in the early stages of dependency or are experiencing problems with alcohol or drug use. If you’re ready to seek help today, call us at 931-250-5200.