Outpatient Programs

Written By: Facility Staff

Edited By: Editorial Team

Published Date: 08/18/23

Last Updated: 08/18/23

Outpatient treatment programs are a crucial step in the continuum of care for addiction recovery.

In outpatient programs, people seeking recovery receive care on an outpatient basis, meaning they return home after their treatment each day.

There are a variety of types of outpatient rehab programs which address the varying needs of people seeking freedom from drug and alcohol abuse.

Read on to learn about outpatient addiction treatment programs, including the types, lengths, benefits, and more.

About Outpatient Programs in Addiction Recovery

In addiction treatment, outpatient programs are a valuable option for people who want to pursue recovery while maintaining daily routines. These programs offer services and support tailored to meet each individual’s needs.

Addiction outpatient programs allow you to receive comprehensive care while living at home. This arrangement allows you to continue fulfilling your  personal and professional responsibilities, fostering a sense of stability and normalcy during recovery.

Outpatient programs offer services and components that encompass a holistic approach to treatment. 

Further, the duration of outpatient treatment is highly individual. You can spend two weeks to two months or longer in outpatient care, if needed.

While not as intensive as residential treatment, outpatient treatment at high-quality treatment centers like Otter House Wellness in North Carolina offers care at a comparable level of intensity.

With outpatient rehab, you can get the treatment you need for alcohol or drug abuse without missing a beat in your life.

Types of Recovery Services in Outpatient Programs

The recovery services you can find in an outpatient recovery program depend on the treatment facility you attend and the type of program you choose.

Here are common outpatient services for addiction recovery:

Counseling & Therapy

Counseling and therapy sessions help you address the underlying causes of addiction, develop coping mechanisms, and cultivate healthier behaviors. 

These sessions may include a number of types of therapy, such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): a behavioral therapy that teaches you how to identify problematic ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving and find healthier alternatives.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): pulls methods from CBT and helps people learn ways to heal interpersonal relationships.
  • Individual therapy: one-on-one sessions provide a safe and confidential space for you to explore your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors related to addiction.
  • Motivational interviewing: teaches people how to change their motivation levels through enhanced techniques.
  • Family therapy: involves family members in your recovery to foster healing, growth, and recovery support.
  • Group therapy: allows you to connect with peers in recovery and share in a group setting.
  • Alternative therapy: such as art therapy, music therapy, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga help people find healing and coping skills through non-traditional methods.

At Otter House Wellness, we work with you to determine which therapies will work best for your outpatient treatment plan and recovery goals.

Support Groups

Support groups in outpatient programs, such as 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or SMART Recovery, allow you to connect with peers facing similar challenges. 

These groups provide community, encouragement, and accountability, which are all crucial for long-term recovery.

Some common types of group sessions include:

  • Process groups: These groups focus on exploring and processing emotions, thoughts, and behaviors related to addiction. They provide a space for you to share experiences, receive feedback, and gain insights into your addiction recovery journey.
  • Psychoeducational groups: These groups aim to provide you with knowledge and skills related to addiction and recovery. They offer structured educational sessions on topics such as relapse prevention, coping strategies, and healthy lifestyle choices.

Outpatient rehab programs at Otter House Wellness implement several different support groups to address the varying needs of our guests in recovery.

Dual Diagnosis Care

Mental health is often affected by substance abuse, so many people in recovery also need mental health treatment.

Because of this, outpatient programs may provide treatment for co-occurring disorders, or mental health disorders or substance use disorders that occur along with addiction.

Dual diagnosis treatment may involve different therapies, counseling, medications, and other methods. Otter House Wellness offers dual diagnosis treatment at all levels of care to ensure a comprehensive treatment approach.

Medication Assisted Treatment

Outpatient programs may offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for people with opioid or alcohol addiction. 

MAT combines medication, such as methadone or buprenorphine, with counseling and behavioral therapies to address addiction’s physical and psychological aspects.

MAT is not the same as detox, though, which helps you undergo withdrawal and is typically offered prior to starting outpatient rehab.

However, outpatient MAT can help you manage protracted (long-term) withdrawal symptoms that may hinder your recovery progress.

Medication Management

During recovery, you may be in need of other medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or others.

Medication management services oversee the administration of medications to ensure there are no cross side effects, to ensure proper dosage, and to avoid relapse and overdose risk.

Nutritional Counseling and Exercise

Physical health lends to mental and behavioral health, so many outpatient programs, including those at Otter House Wellness, provide a nutritional and exercise focus. 

With nutritional counseling, you can improve your diet, restore balance to your daily routine, and enhance your overall wellness.

Daily exercise can help restore the natural feel-good chemical release that becomes depleted with addiction.

Types of Addiction Recovery Outpatient Programs in North Carolina

There are multiple types of outpatient programs for addiction recovery (also called day treatment), each with a varying level of intensity to fit your needs.

Partial Hospitalization Programs

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) offer the highest level of intensity in outpatient care, next to inpatient treatment.

In a PHP, you can access counseling, behavioral therapy, group support, alternative treatments, relapse prevention planning, and much more.

Partial hospitalization may work well for people who need intensive treatment but can’t commit to a residential program. It also works as a step down in treatment following residential care.

Otter House Wellness PHPs provide compassionate care for people with substance use disorders, several days per week on a case-by-case basis.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

After PHP, intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) provide the next-highest level of intensity of care for substance abuse.

In an IOP, you will receive many of the same services as in PHPs, but fewer days per week and perhaps an hour or two less per day.

Intensive outpatient treatment may work well for people who don’t need intensive substance abuse treatment but do need a structured rehab program, or following PHP as a step down in intensity.

All IOPs at Otter House Wellness are tailor-made to your needs based on your mental and behavioral health conditions.

Outpatient Services

There are a wide array of outpatient addiction recovery services you may find depending on the treatment center.

General outpatient services may work well for people with mild substance use disorders (SUD), as continuing care in long-term recovery, or following a lower-intensity program, such as IOP.

Addiction treatment outpatient services may include:

  • Outpatient detoxification services
  • Behavioral therapy (talk therapy)
  • Counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • MAT
  • Medication management 
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Case management
  • Relapse prevention

Outpatient Detox & MAT

Some rehab centers offer detoxification services for people in treatment for alcohol or drug addiction.

The main difference between outpatient detox and inpatient detox is that you will detox for only a few hours, typically in a hospital setting, during outpatient detox. In an inpatient rehab program, detox usually takes place over the course of several days or up to a week, with constant medical supervision.

Detoxification clears the substances from the body left behind by drug and alcohol use, preparing you for drug and alcohol treatment. It also helps you ward off the worst of withdrawal symptoms prior to beginning outpatient drug rehab.

Otter House Wellness works closely with area hospitals and detox facilities to ensure any guests who need detox can receive the care they need to begin the recovery process.

What Are the Benefits of Outpatient Recovery Programs?

Outpatient treatment offers several advantages that make it a valuable option for people seeking addiction recovery. 


One significant benefit of outpatient rehab is the flexibility it provides. 

Unlike inpatient programs that require you to stay in a treatment facility, outpatient programs allow you to attend therapy sessions while maintaining your daily routine, including work, school, and family responsibilities. 

This flexibility enables you to integrate treatment into your life without significant disruptions.

Cost Effectiveness

Affordability is another key advantage of outpatient programs. Inpatient and residential programs often incur substantial costs, including accommodation, meals, and round-the-clock supervision. 

In contrast, outpatient programs are cost-effective, making them accessible to a wider range of people seeking treatment.

Coping Skills

Outpatient programs offer you opportunities to apply the skills you learn in therapy to real-life situations. 

Outpatient treatment allows you to practice coping mechanisms and strategies in real time by attending therapy sessions while remaining in your regular environment. 

This hands-on approach helps you develop the necessary skills to navigate challenges and triggers outside the treatment setting.

Recovery Planning

Outpatient programs can also play a crucial role in supporting your transition from intensive treatment to long-term recovery. 

After completing inpatient or residential programs, people in recovery often require an ongoing support system to maintain their sobriety. 

Outpatient programs provide a continuum of care, offering regular therapy sessions and support groups that help you stay connected to your recovery community. 

This continuity of care significantly reduces relapse risks and supports you in achieving your long-term recovery goals.

How Does Outpatient Rehab Compare with Other Treatment Options?

When comparing outpatient programs with inpatient and residential treatment options, consider the suitability of each option for your unique needs. 

Outpatient programs are particularly well-suited for people with mild-to-moderate addictions and stable living situations. These individuals can benefit from the flexibility and autonomy that outpatient treatment provides, as they can continue their daily lives while receiving the necessary support.

Residential or inpatient programs, in contrast, serve people with severe addiction or unstable living situations who may require a more intensive and structured environment. These programs offer round-the-clock supervision, a controlled setting, and higher medical and psychological support.

Note that various treatment modalities complement each other, and you may need a continuum of care. 

For instance, you may start with an inpatient program to stabilize your condition, then transition to an outpatient program for ongoing support and relapse prevention. 

A combination of treatment options ensures that you receive the appropriate level of care at each stage of your recovery journey.

What Types of Addiction Are Treated in Outpatient Programs?

Outpatient programs in North Carolina address various types of addictions, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs (both illicit and prescription)
  • Gambling
  • Behavioral addictions

Otter House Wellness recognizes that addiction is a complex and multifaceted issue, and we provide comprehensive treatment approaches to address the specific needs of each individual.

In addition to treatment for substance abuse, we also treat mental health disorders for a well-rounded approach to recovery.

How Do Outpatient Programs for Addiction Work?

How an outpatient program will work depends on the type of program and the rehab center you’re attending. 

Here is how outpatient programs work at Otter House Wellness.

Initial Assessment and Intake Process

Assessing the severity of addiction is crucial in determining the appropriate level of care and treatment interventions.

By understanding the severity of addiction, healthcare professionals can tailor treatment plans to address specific needs and provide the most effective care.

During the initial evaluation, a care provider may also assess you for any other health issues which may need to be addressed at the same time.

Conditions may include other behavioral health disorders, secondary addictions, or mental health disorders.

Determining Appropriate Level of Care

Determining the most suitable level of care within the outpatient treatment continuum is a critical step in ensuring you receive the appropriate treatment intensity. 

Several factors are considered when determining the level of care, including:

  • Addiction severity
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Individual needs
  • Insurance 

Entering the Outpatient Program

Once you and your healthcare provider have decided on the right outpatient program, you can begin the recovery process.

In partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment, you will show up to the treatment center multiple days per week for several hours.

You will attend therapy, counseling sessions, groups, and work on recovery skill-building, plan for relapse, and much more.

How Long Do Outpatient Rehab Programs Last?

The length of your treatment program largely depends on two factors: the type of program and your recovery needs.

PHPs can last from 2 to 4 weeks, or may last up to 16 weeks or even longer if necessary. IOPs tend to have a similar duration, though you will likely attend treatment for fewer hours per day and fewer days per week.

Outpatient services will vary and are usually highly individualized. For instance, if you choose to attend individual therapy sessions, these could continue for months or even years, if you find them useful and that they lend to your lasting recovery.

The goal of outpatient programs is not to get people out of treatment as quickly as possible, but to foster long-term sobriety and a healthier quality of life.

Are Outpatient Addiction Recovery Programs Effective?

Motivation and commitment play a crucial role in achieving successful outcomes in addiction outpatient programs. 

Motivation is the driving force behind your willingness to change addictive behaviors. A combination of internal and external factors often influences it.

Internal factors contributing to motivation include personal values, self-efficacy, and the desire for a better quality of life. 

External factors may include:

  • Support from family and friends
  • Encouragement from healthcare professionals
  • The availability of resources and treatment options

Research shows that people who are highly motivated and committed to their recovery have better treatment outcomes. They are more likely to actively engage in therapy, adhere to treatment plans, and make the necessary lifestyle changes that support their recovery.

Insurance Coverage for Outpatient Rehab in North Carolina

You may be able to get health insurance coverage for outpatient treatment programs in North Carolina. Rehab facilities may accept private health insurance, like Blue Cross Blue Shield, or public insurance like Medicaid.

The amount of coverage you will receive can be affected by your insurance provider, health plan, deductible, and other individual factors.

Before choosing an outpatient program, talk to your insurance company to learn about your coverage details, such as any copayments, deductibles, or coverage limitations.

Otter House Wellness outpatient programs are in-network with a range of insurance providers, including:

  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • Geha
  • Magellan
  • Medcost
  • Meritain Health
  • UnitedHealthcare

People who do not have health insurance may still be able to access evidence-based care for addiction in North Carolina via financial resources. 

What to Look for in Outpatient Treatment Providers in North Carolina

Knowing which recovery center to select for your treatment program can be a tough decision.

Look for signs of high-quality providers to ensure you receive the best care possible that will help you achieve your recovery goals.

Here are some of the top features to look for that signify quality care:

  • Facility accreditation and certification, such as through third-party accrediting organizations like the Joint Commission and CARF
  • High ratings from past clients and their family members who attended the facility’s program and saw positive outcomes
  • Payment options to help you access the care you need, regardless of your circumstances
  • Evidence-based treatment offerings, which give the greatest chance of seeing lasting results in recovery

Otter House Wellness offers highly rated, research-backed outpatient care in a home environment for people seeking freedom from alcohol and drug abuse or mental health issues.

Find Elevated Outpatient Addiction Treatment in North Carolina

Outpatient programs offer treatment options that meet you wherever you are in your recovery journey. 

Whether you’re just beginning, need a step-down in care, or intend to participate in treatment for years to come to remain dedicated to your sobriety, Otter House Wellness can help.

Our custom-designed outpatient rehab programs can help you curb drug or alcohol cravings, address the thoughts and behaviors that led to substance abuse, and develop the skills that will keep you in recovery.

Learn more about how our outpatient care facility and addiction treatment experts can help by reaching out to us today.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Helpful Links

  About Us


 Partial Hospitalization Program

  Intensive Outpatient Program

Frequently Asked Questions

At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint occaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa qui officia.

Are outpatient rehab programs as effective as inpatient programs?

How effective a recovery program will be depends on the person participating in the program, their receptiveness to care, the quality of the program and facility, and the person’s needs.

People with severe, long-term addictions may need residential care and/or detox before they can fully benefit from outpatient treatment

However, people who are highly motivated and have a strong support system but also have a severe SUD may still see positive outcomes with outpatient treatment.

What is the time commitment for an outpatient addiction program?

The timeline for outpatient treatment depends on the type of treatment you choose. A PHP may last several weeks and 4-6 hours per day. An IOP may also last several weeks, but only last 1-3 hours per day.

Outpatient services vary by the service and the goals you hope to achieve.

Can you recover from addiction with only outpatient treatment?

Yes, recovery from addiction is possible with solely outpatient programs. However, treatment outcomes are highly dependent on the individual, including their motivation to recover.

Find out more about outpatient rehab programs and how they lend to recovery and can help you obtain a higher quality of life when you contact Otter House Wellness.


we work with most insurance companies

Insurance coverage will vary across plans, fill out our insurance verification form and we'll provide you with all the details.

Check Your Coverage