Outpatient rehab programs allow patients to live at home while receiving treatment, enabling them to continue taking care of work and family responsibilities.

When you’re looking for addiction treatment in Atlanta, Georgia, or surrounding areas, there are multiple options available. One option that people consider is outpatient rehab, which can be beneficial for many individuals in recovery. Outpatient rehab provides professional treatment, but unlike inpatient rehab, this program does not require patients to live on-site at the facility. Instead, those in outpatient care are able to remain in their communities and maintain responsibilities at home and work. 

What Is Outpatient Rehab? 

Outpatient rehab is an umbrella term that refers to any form of addiction treatment that allows patients to continue living at home while receiving care. There are various types of outpatient programs, but what they all have in common is that patients can return home after attending appointments with members of their treatment team. 

Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

In contrast to outpatient rehab, inpatient treatment programs require patients to live onsite at a treatment center while undergoing rehab. Some patients benefit from the structure of inpatient programs, but for others, leaving home to stay in an inpatient facility just isn’t an option. The benefit of outpatient rehab is that it lets patients continue living at home, allowing them to report to work and care for children and families while receiving services. 

Is Outpatient Rehab Right for Me? 

There are both pros and cons associated with outpatient rehab. If you do not have a safe or stable living environment, inpatient rehab may be a better option because it will remove you from triggers for addiction. However, if you have a safe living environment and cannot take time off from work to attend rehab, outpatient treatment is probably a good fit. It’s also suitable if you have children or a family to care for. 

In order for outpatient treatment to be effective, you must be committed to coping with triggers while living in the community. As an example, triggers can include being around people who are still using drugs or alcohol. Some people may benefit from stepping down to outpatient treatment after they have completed an inpatient program. 

How Long Is an Outpatient Rehab Program?

The length of an outpatient treatment program can vary based on the facility and a person’s specific needs. Some people may require longer durations of treatment to become stable in their recovery. The length of time spent in outpatient care may also depend on the number of services your insurance provider will cover.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends that people spend at least three months in treatment to get the best results, and longer stays in treatment lead to better outcomes. The amount of time spent each week in outpatient care is also a consideration, and this will vary based on the type of program. People in intensive outpatient care spend at least nine hours per week in services, meaning they may have several weekly appointments that occur in two- to three-hour chunks of time. Standard outpatient care may only involve one appointment a week. 

What To Expect at Outpatient Rehab

While enrolled in outpatient rehab, you can expect to participate in therapy and several other services. These approaches are designed to help you develop the skills needed to overcome addiction and cope with stressors without turning to drugs or alcohol. 

During the course of outpatient treatment, you’ll work with a team of addiction experts, engage in evidence-based therapies and be prescribed medication if necessary.

Facility Care Team

Outpatient programs employ interdisciplinary teams of professionals who are trained to treat addiction. Staff members include licensed and credentialed psychologists, social workers, counselors and physicians. Many outpatient programs also have support staff members who provide services like case management. 

Outpatient Therapies 

Outpatient programs offer both individual and group therapy services, as well as family counseling. Programs also provide educational groups to help people learn about the nature of addiction. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) uses a combination of medication and counseling services to treat addiction. MAT is often used in outpatient care for opioid addiction, as medications can reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. There are also medications available for treating alcohol addiction. 

How Much Does Outpatient Rehab Cost?

The cost of outpatient rehab will vary based on the specific type of outpatient treatment you choose, as well as how long you spend in treatment. For example, an intensive outpatient program that involves nine or more hours of services per week will cost more than a standard outpatient program, which may only involve a one-hour therapist appointment each week. Additionally, if you spend a longer time in treatment, such as six months, your costs will be higher than if you spend three months in treatment. 

A recent study of people in opioid addiction treatment found that the average monthly cost of intensive outpatient care was $3,148 per person at the start of treatment. Keep in mind that this figure is just an estimate, and your actual costs will vary based on your unique needs and where you go for treatment. 

Is Outpatient Rehab Covered by Insurance? 

Insurance companies often cover some or all of the cost of outpatient rehab, meaning your out-of-pocket costs will probably be lower than the total cost of outpatient treatment. Health care plans purchased on the marketplace must cover substance abuse treatment because it is considered an essential benefit.

In addition, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires that health insurance plans cover addiction treatment in the same way that they cover medical services. In other words, insurance companies cannot charge you more for an outpatient addiction appointment than they would charge for an appointment for a medical problem like diabetes. Insurance can lower your out-of-pocket costs for inpatient rehab, but the exact coverage will depend upon your specific insurance plan.

Other Outpatient Rehab FAQs

Is medical detox required for outpatient rehab? 

Whether medical detox is required prior to entering outpatient rehab depends on the specific policies of your rehab center. Some facilities may have an on-site detox program that patients can complete before transitioning to outpatient care. If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, it can be helpful to undergo medical detox before entering outpatient rehab. By doing so, your body will be cleansed of drugs and alcohol, allowing you to focus your energy on participating in treatment. 

Is inpatient required for outpatient rehab?

Some patients complete an inpatient program before entering outpatient rehab, but this is not a requirement. People who have supportive living environments and a willingness to remain in the community while in recovery may begin with an outpatient rehab program.

How successful is outpatient rehab? 

Outpatient rehab is successful for patients who remain in treatment for a sufficient length of time. NIDA recommends that people remain in outpatient care for at least three months to achieve the best outcomes, but spending additional time in treatment makes outpatient rehab more effective. For people receiving MAT, 12 or more months in treatment may be most effective.

Is outpatient rehab available online? 

Some providers, including The Recovery Village Atlanta, offer outpatient care online. Referred to as teletherapy, online rehab services offer the same benefits as traditional outpatient care, including access to individual and group counseling. 

Can I keep my job if I go to outpatient rehab?

You might have to miss work for outpatient rehab, especially if you’re receiving services at a facility with hours that conflict with your work schedule. In this case, you may be able to take time off from work via the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You might also be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prevents you from being fired from a job for entering addiction treatment, so long as you are not currently abusing illegal drugs. The benefit of outpatient services is that you can continue to live at home and attend work, and you can generally schedule appointments around your work hours or take a few hours off work when needed. 

Is outpatient rehab only available during the day?

Different outpatient facilities will have different hours, but some may offer evening appointments so that patients do not have to take time off from work or school. 

Will I be prescribed medication in outpatient rehab?

Depending on your needs, you might be prescribed medication while in outpatient rehab. If you’re in a MAT program, you will be prescribed medications to help with cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Outpatient programs often have physicians who can prescribe medications to treat co-occurring conditions like depression or anxiety. 

Outpatient Rehab in Atlanta, GA

For those seeking outpatient treatment in Georgia, The Recovery Village Atlanta can help. We offer a full continuum of services that includes inpatient rehab, partial hospitalization programming, intensive outpatient care, standard outpatient services, aftercare and teletherapy. Our treatment programs employ qualified staff who are experienced in providing evidence-based addiction treatment services.

Get Help Today

If you’re ready to take the first step toward a life free from the grips of addiction, reach out to The Recovery Village Atlanta today. Our caring representatives are ready to take your phone call and help you begin the admissions process. 

The Recovery Village - Atlanta
By – The Recovery Village Atlanta
The Recovery Village Atlanta builds tailored treatment plans with an understanding that addiction is a mental health disorder and a chronic disease. Read more
Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more
Medically Reviewed By – Jenni Jacobsen, LSW
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker through the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. She has seven years of experience working in the social work field, working with clients with addiction-related and mental health diagnoses. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village Atlanta aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.