Transitioning from Inpatient to Outpatient Rehab: Pitfalls & Best Practices

While 2.5 million people sought treatment at a specialty facility for substance addiction in 2012, it is estimated that this accounts for less than 11% of those who needed an inpatient rehab or intensive outpatient program.1 While choosing between inpatient and outpatient care is a personal decision, one of the most successful courses of treatment, in terms of outcome, is a combination of the two.

For patients who are ready to leave a successful inpatient drug rehab in Florida, a smooth transition to outpatient treatment offers continued support while returning to work and family life. In addition, outpatient care offers other evidence-based therapies and counseling to help prevent relapse during this critical time.

For those who chose an inpatient drug rehab facility to get past the initial withdrawal symptoms, a recent study showed that the 14% who followed up with outpatient programs had better outcomes than those who did not.2 Having a good understanding of the options within this process will help you decide which path will be most successful in your unique situation.

What’s the Difference Between Inpatient Treatment and Outpatient Therapy?

Residential treatment facilities are also known as inpatient rehab. This path to recovery starts with 24/7 supervision and medical care to support detox and protect against relapse during the initial phases of recovery. Diagnosing and treating any co-occurring medical conditions and breaking free of old triggers and peer groups will likely be part of the focus.

Residents are provided with safe, sober housing but usually are not able to leave the facility to attend work or school. After 60 or 90 days, or longer depending on the program, residents are ready to continue their recovery journeys outside the facility, but they will still need support, resources, and counseling to complete their treatment plans.

Intensive outpatient programs can also be the starting point of recovery for those who do not need the 24-hour supervision or supervised medication. Offering group therapy and individual counseling at several required sessions per week can provide enough support to allow some people to conquer their withdrawal symptoms and remain in their own safe and sober homes.

Outpatient programs make a perfect follow-up for residential rehab by keeping consistent goals and a unified treatment plan to help the individual transition back into society smoothly and with confidence.

Which Is the Right Fit?

Outpatient programs have these advantages:

  • Ability to continue working
  • More flexible scheduling
  • Ability to continue taking care of children or family members
  • An available social network of sober peers and mentors
  • Living at home in a safe and sober environment
  • Lower costs of treatment
  • Available medical care for co-occurring conditions like depression, anxiety, or PTSD

Inpatient residential facilities provide:

  • Greater supervision
  • Complete separation from the environment where the addiction began
  • Protection from relapse by eliminating triggers and possible access
  • Safe and sober housing for those who do not have this type of living situation
  • More structure and control of daily activity
  • 24/7 focus on treatment
  • Replacement medication for drugs like heroin administered under supervision

Both treatment starting points will:

  • Help you work through the detox process
  • Provide support, structure, and accountability
  • Prepare you to reach your work and family goals after treatment
  • Teach methodologies and provide coaching to guide you to a life-long recovery

Inpatient Care to Outpatient Recovery

Moving from Inpatient Care to Outpatient Recovery

As patients move out of inpatient facilities, they are required to have a continuing treatment plan. Very often this includes an intensive outpatient program to help manage cravings and prevent relapse.

As you transition from supervision to personal responsibility, there will be challenges. Outpatient treatment is designed to help you deal with everyday triggers and temptations. Here’s how:

Providing structure in the outside world. Returning from the secure and structured environment of an inpatient residence can be a culture shock. Without any treatment structure or guidance, there can be too many stresses and confusing feelings to deal with by yourself.

Preventing relapse during the transition back to society. With proven tools, group therapy, and community resources available, it becomes possible to get the advice and support you need to deal with cravings, triggers, and peer pressure.

Redefining yourself is a process that begins after detox. Choosing your own changes is crucial, but a helping hand to reach those goals will be essential during this transitional time. Making it to that next good thing is hard work, but your outpatient program can smooth the way and provide you with connections and opportunities.

Re-establishing relationships is both an intimidating challenge and a strong motivator for change. Your intensive outpatient therapy will be especially valuable in teaching you the relationship and life skills needed to stop destructive cycles and regain the trust and respect of those you love.

Easing the Transition

Even though outpatient aftercare has been shown to help patients reach their post-treatment planning goals and to improve outcomes in general,2 it is not always possible to receive both types of care from the same organization. Discharge planning might be vague and patients may need to seek out their own aftercare treatment and recovery support.

A smooth hand-off is the ideal scenario, with a treatment plan that includes measurable goals and milestones. At first, intensive therapy sessions will be needed several times per week, then, as the milestones are met, the time spent in treatment will be reduced slowly.

Eventually, the strong support systems built and the evidence of success will carry you forward with your own confidence and momentum. Your recovery will continue under your own direction, and structured treatment will no longer be needed.

Avoiding the Pitfalls

Which behaviors may stall or derail your recovery when you step out on your own? Addressing these concerns is part of outpatient aftercare:

  • Not maintaining a daily schedule that includes treatment
  • Missing or avoiding support group sessions or individual counseling
  • Not making progress on plans to return to work, school, or family commitments
  • Falling back into old habits, negative thinking, and destructive actions
  • Putting oneself in situations involving drug or alcohol use
  • Not returning to treatment after a slip or minor relapse

Embracing Best Practices

With proven therapies and evidence-based wellness treatment methods, innovative outpatient programs provide healing for the entire person. Mind, body, and spirit can be healed with these best practices:

  • Achieving mental stability and a strong foundation of personal awareness
  • Accepting accountability and responsibility for one’s actions
  • Transitioning to independent sobriety and self-direction
  • Making and keeping new commitments with solid planning for success
  • Mastering the skills of recovery and reawakening joy in life

women with specialized addiction recovery treatment

Exploring Options with Solid Support

If you are or a loved one is considering treatment centers in Florida, RECO Intensive’s intensive outpatient program provides the most innovative tools and group therapies to heal addiction’s lingering effects. Empowering you to return to work and family life after inpatient treatment while protecting your progress, RECO Intensive provides all the necessary support and resources you need to succeed.

If there is no need for medical detox or if inpatient rehab is already complete, their intensive recovery program strengthens your commitment to sober living, smooths the transition, and helps transcend the remaining obstacles in the road to a healthy fulfilling life. They are committed to helping you keep your job and support your family while you make an empowering life change.

You can find out more and explore your options without making a commitment, just use the contact form, or have a live online chat right now to take the next step forward to a better way of life.



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