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Pros and Cons of Outpatient Opiate Addiction Treatment

Outpatient opiate addiction treatment is very common in the United States. Many people choose this particular type of treatment facility based on their need and ability to attend treatment while also continuing to live their lives. However, outpatient treatment isn’t for all opiate addicts, and a facility should be chosen based on the needs of the individual. Here are the pros and cons of choosing outpatient opiate addiction treatment.

Pros of Outpatient Treatment for Opiate Addiction

It is very common for someone to choose outpatient treatment for opiate addiction. Given that “opiate withdrawal reactions… are not usually life threatening,” a person can often do quite well in an outpatient environment (NLM). Here are some of the pros of outpatient opiate addiction treatment:

support in addiction recovery

With outpatient rehab programs you can be near to your loved ones while recovering from opiate addiction.

  • The NIDA states that “such treatment costs less than residential or inpatient treatment.” This is usually true, as inpatient treatment costs more due to the patient staying overnight, requiring meals, and other costs incurred based on residential patient status.
  • Outpatient treatment can often be “more suitable for people with jobs.” It can be very difficult to leave work for 90 or more days to attend treatment, and with outpatient treatment, the individual would not need to do so.
  • Those with strong support systems at home could skip the costs of inpatient treatment and attend outpatient treatment instead. This way, they are still able to benefit from formal addiction treatment but can get help from their friends and family who are often a wonderful source of strength during recovery.
  • Opiates have uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms but they are not life threatening. A patient can attend outpatient treatment and receive his or her medication easily, all while being able to continue managing the responsibilities of his or her life.
  • Patients can also attend group and one-on-one therapy sessions, take drug tests, and sometimes have access to other classes like vocational counseling and exercise in order to help them through recovery.

Cons of Outpatient Treatment for Opiate Addiction

While there are many benefits to outpatient opiate addiction treatment, there are also downsides to consider. Some of the cons of outpatient treatment for opiate addiction are:

  • The NIDA states that sometimes “low-intensity programs may offer little more than drug education.” Because there are so many of these facilities, a person must research the programs offered extensively before choosing.
  • Opiate addiction can sometimes be a component of mental illness. The NIDA states that “there are at least three scenarios that we should consider:
    • “Drug abuse can cause a mental illness.”
    • “Mental illness can lead to drug abuse.”
    • “Drug abuse and mental disorders are both caused by other common risk factors.”
    • All of these possibilities have truth to them, and outpatient facilities are not ideal for those who are suffering from multiple disorders.
  • Those who do not have a strong social support system are not expected to do well in outpatient treatment.
  • Many patients choose not to return to treatment after the withdrawal symptoms have ebbed. If a patient is in danger of this, the patient and his or her loved ones should consider inpatient treatment.

Every patient is different and so are his or her needs. While outpatient opiate addiction treatment isn’t for everyone, it can be a wonderful resource for some.

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