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8 Problems with Outpatient Rehab Centers & Why You Should Consider Residential Treatment

Getting the essential level of care to achieve long-term recovery is important and it means more than simply gaining abstinence when one has a substance dependency. Although your primary focus may be on ending or significantly reducing substance abuse, the associated problems also must be addressed in order to help you maintain abstinence and avert relapse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Because drug abuse and addiction have so many dimensions and disrupt so many aspects of an individual’s life, treatment is not simple.”

Outpatient rehab centers share many similarities with residential treatment programs, but, in reality, they are often limited in their resource capacities to provide adequate treatment services to those with a severe dependency or complex needs. With a level of structure and intensity that allows the person a modality of freedom in their daily routines verses around-the-clock care, the following, are 8 problems with outpatient rehab centers and why you should consider residential treatment.

1.) Managing Detox

Safety, comfort, and a properly managed detox can set the stage for ongoing participations in treatment. People who feel inadequately helped during their detox are more likely to terminate the process prematurely. For those with severe dependencies or compromised health, adequate support services, which may include medical detox, are more suitably provided in a residential treatment program where 24 hour care and monitoring can help to alleviate withdrawal distresses and complications promoting treatment retention and optimizing success rates.

2.) Low Level Intensity

outpatient rehab limitations

The limitations of outpatient rehab can increase the risk of relapse.

It’s fair to say that while most outpatient rehab centers are indicated for those who have mild to moderate substance abuse problems, they are able to broaden access and availability to millions of substance abusers regardless of their problem severities. Try as they might, however, many individuals may not be adequately treated with a low intensity treatment format of an outpatient rehab center and they, then, become part of the “revolving door” culture that leads to multiple treatment episodes and/or worsening conditions.

3.) Limited Medical Personnel

Addressing medical concerns in conjunction with substance abuse treatment practices increases the likelihood of a successful outcome, but, most outpatient rehab centers are limited in the medical personnel that they employ within the facility. Residential treatments provide an added advantage in these areas with 24 hour support and access to qualified medical personnel who can work closely with you and others to improve your overall health and recovery chances.

4.) Limited Psychiatric Services

Like medical services, in an outpatient rehab, there may be any number of barriers to getting access to much needed psychiatric services with gatekeepers who can create the barriers either through lack of knowledge or limited outreach resources, time, or costs. Substance abuse and mental health problems can cause or exacerbate each other and the best way to treat them is simultaneously with determination and focus more attainable in a residential treatment.

5.) Doesn’t Offer 24 Hour Support

One of the biggest problems with outpatient rehab centers is their lack of 24 hour support whether it is for counseling, medical, or psychiatric services. These programs can be frustratingly insufficient when immediate crisis interventions or responses are necessary to avert a relapse or other serious consequence. It may not be enough to get help through an outpatient rehab center where you are left to your own devices each time you leave the facility.

6.) Changing Mindsets

Millions of people get caught up in a level of substance dependence that goes against their character and sense of control over their lives.Often, it’s their problems that become the defining persona that they and others relate to and they become unable to separate their loss of identity and control over their ability to make healthy and positive changes. Hope, when you feel like a personal failure, does not come easily and changing these negative mindsets takes considerable guidance, focus, and time. For those with a history of relapse and prior treatment episodes, a residential treatment should be considered to maximize the motivational influences that lead to beneficial changes.

Choosing Between Inpatient Rehab Centers vs. Outpatient Rehab Centers

7.) Special Services May Be Limited

Psychosocial interventions or special services for homelessness, domestic violence, abuse, vocational, legal, family, or other social instabilities can enhance recovery motivations and promote treatment retention, but, may not be adequately provided through many outpatient rehab centers. According to the NIDA, “Matching treatment settings, interventions, and services to an individual’s particular problems and needs is critical to his or her ultimate success in returning to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and society.”

8.) Travel and Costs

Getting back and forth to counseling sessions and scheduled meetings or obtaining services outside of the outpatient rehab center where you may have co-payments to other providers can be costly and quite burdensome. These issues can significantly reduce willingness and motivations to comply with treatment plans especially if you have limited resources and a non-encouraging environment at home. Residential treatment can help to alleviate these stressful circumstances allowing your focus to be applied where it belongs; on your recovery.

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