Recovery is possible. We are open 24/7. 866-797-7962

Medically Reviewed

Is outpatient treatment effective?

- 1 sections

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

Medical Reviewer:

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Outpatient Treatment

Is outpatient treatment effective? People and families seeking substance abuse treatment often have questions about the effectiveness of outpatient treatment. In North Carolina, there are far more options for outpatient treatment than there are for detox and inpatient treatment. This often leaves families either choosing to enroll a loved one at an outpatient facility locally, or having them travel to receive inpatient treatment elsewhere. With the rise in opioid abuse, the state of North Carolina and the city of Charlotte are starved for resources.

The same types of therapies are offered at inpatient and outpatient treatment centers and outpatient facility staff are no less qualified than their inpatient counterparts. So what’s the difference? The primary difference is the number of hours of therapy and individual attention clients receive as part of the program. Intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment usually consists of 3, 3-hour group sessions and at least one hour of individual attention each week. Inpatient programs generally offer 40+ hours of therapy each week as well as attention from medical doctors and/or psychiatrists. Another huge benefit of inpatient treatment is the structure and support available during the hours clients are not participating in therapy. Trained staff monitors patients 24 hours a day, alleviating any concern as to what patients might choose to do when not engaged in therapy. The added free time with outpatient treatment does leave more room for unhealthy decisions, which is why it is generally recommended that people seek inpatient care before transitioning to outpatient.

Outpatient treatment is effective and is a great option for many people. IOP is a great resource for anyone unable to take an extended break from work and family obligations to get help. Outpatient treatment can also serve as a useful resource for anyone that has yet to attempt recovery or that has recently experienced a “slip” in their recovery and is looking for added structure and support from qualified professionals. Outpatient programs are also more cost effective, although choosing the program with the lowest price tag is not always the best way to go about making your selection. Another element to consider is the facility’s ability to handle mental health concerns. When seeking treatment for someone that also struggles with anxiety or depression, it is best to select a program that offers dual-diagnosis treatment.

outpatient drug rehab programs


Which level of care is best for me?

If you or a loved one is in need of treatment, please call our 24/7 admissions line at 888-200-0376. We have qualified professionals available to provide free phone assessments to anyone struggling with drugs or alcohol. They can help to determine which level of care (inpatient, outpatient, or detox) is most appropriate for your situation and will work to get you enrolled in treatment as soon as you’re ready.