How long does outpatient alcohol rehab last?

Outpatient alcohol rehab can be completed as an individual form of treatment or can be used as “aftercare”, to support inpatient alcohol rehab. Find out typical lengths of stay and what happens during treatment, here.

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Outpatient alcohol rehab average time

Outpatient programs often last about 10 weeks on average. This period gives addicts enough time through intensive treatment, to treat individual conditions successfully. Outpatient rehabilitation program time will be made based on a number of factors, such as:

  • Cross addiction diagnosis
  • Dual diagnosis cases
  • Individual motivation for change
  • Intensity and number of life responsibilities
  • Personal need for psychological support

An addiction specialist such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, specialist, MD or a licensed clinical social worker can help you determine what type of outpatient programs and for how long your condition can be treated successfully.

Outpatient alcohol rehab: How long does it take?

Outpatient programs do not require people to enter into rehab center for several weeks. In most cases, people in outpatient treatment setting travel every time they need to attend their sessions.

Instead, an average stay in an outpatient rehab program usually run about 3 to 4 months, which depends on patient’s individual needs, or more precisely, depending on the level of the addiction.

Here we present you a list of the most common outpatient programs and their durations:

1. Intensive outpatient program duration is sometimes used to treat mild to moderate addictions. These programs typically require daily attendance of 3-5 hours, at least 3 times per week and last for 3-4 months.

2. Partial inpatient programs do not require recovering addicts to stay in a rehab facility, but they do require them to attend daily treatment sessions that last several hours each day up to at least 9 hours per week. The duration for these types of programs is usually several weeks or months long.

3. Aftercare outpatient program duration is used when a person completes an inpatient, partial inpatient, or outpatient addiction program. Many people continue to attend outpatient therapy sessions for several months up to a year afterwards and may take only a few hours per week.

Outpatient alcohol rehab timeline

Most outpatient alcohol rehabs offer and use similar services and treatment methods. What happens in the time that you are there?

STEP 1: Screening – Typically, a program starts with screening and assessment. This first phase, use standardized tests and interview questions, which help the treatment provider to create treatment plan for you and determine the diagnosis. The screening and assessment will usually last for an hour.

STEP 2: Detox – Here, you will go through detox and withdrawal so that no alcohol will be left in your system and you can enter into the program completely clean. Usually, an outpatient rehab will “outsource” detox to a medically licensed clinic nearby.

STEP 3: After the first two phases, people in recovery spend most of their time in Psychotherapy or Educational Sessions, organized as group treatment or individual sessions. These sessions last a couple of months. In this stage, medications as complementary therapy may also be prescribed. Medication programs are not prescribed by the center directly, and you may need to visit a specialist to receive the care needed.

STEP 4: Aftercare – When the outpatient program is completed, most recovering addicts have weekly therapy sessions, in order to remain sober. The aftercare program is without any time limitation, because it is an individual choice how long it will be necessary the professional support through all possible life challenges.

Outpatient alcohol rehab time questions

Did we answer your questions about outpatient programs?If you still have additional questions regarding time requirements for rehab that we haven’t answered here, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. We work hard to respond to you personally. We want to help all of our readers start down the road to recovery.

Reference sources: NIH: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)
New Hampshire DHHS: Treatment Services
New York State Department of Health: What is Addiction?
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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