How Long Is Outpatient Rehab?

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Outpatient rehab offers many advantages. It’s more cost-effective, allows people to meet their everyday obligations, and enables them to access family support throughout the recovery process. Many people considering this form of addiction treatment have questions like “How long is outpatient drug rehab” or “How long is outpatient rehab for alcohol.” This guide addresses these issues and shows you what to expect from different forms of outpatient rehab.

Outpatient Rehab Timeline

The duration and specifics of outpatient rehab can differ widely from person to person, influenced by factors such as:

  • Type of outpatient program
  • Overall health status
  • Severity of addiction
  • Physical dependence
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders

Despite these variations, most outpatient programs follow a similar series of structured processes.

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Initial evaluation: day 1

A comprehensive assessment conducted by a mental health or substance abuse professional gets the recovery process started at outpatient rehab. The initial evaluation, which usually lasts for a few hours, is used to determine the appropriate level of care. For those who need more structure and support than a standard outpatient program provides, options include IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) and PHPs (partial hospitalization programs) – more on these programs below.

Engaging with treatment: weeks 1 to 6

Following the assessment, the individual begins the recommended outpatient treatment program. This stage involves participation in individual, group, and family therapy sessions over 4 to 6 weeks. Some people also engage with MAT (medication-assisted treatment), holistic therapies, and care for co-occurring mental health disorders. This initial phase of outpatient rehab helps people adjust to sober living, understand the nature of their addiction, and identify any additional challenges to recovery.

Focused recovery and skills building: weeks 7 to 10

The next phase of outpatient rehab widens the focus to include stress management, relapse prevention, and the development of coping techniques and life skills. During at least 4 weeks of therapy and education, people can learn valuable strategies to maintain abstinence after rehab. Family therapy may begin at this point, helping to build a supportive home environment for the person’s return from rehab.

Aftercare planning: ongoing

The final phase of outpatient rehab involves the creation of a robust aftercare plan. This may include assistance with childcare, housing, transportation, job training, educational opportunities, and community support groups. Some people also engage with ongoing therapy.

All areas of the outpatient rehab timeline can be personalized. Effective rehab should focus on addressing the physical and psychological aspects of addiction fully rather than attempting to rush the process.

How Long is Intensive Outpatient Rehab?

Intensive outpatient rehab usually lasts for 12 weeks. As with traditional outpatient programs, though, the duration can be adjusted depending on individual needs and progress.

The structure of an IOP is designed to provide a more concentrated level of care than standard outpatient programs, while still enabling individuals to fulfill their personal and professional commitments.

Standard outpatient programs are the most flexible form of treatment, designed for those who are stepping down from a more intensive level of care, or for those with mild addictions who do not require more time-intensive treatment. People engaging with this type of outpatient program usually attend therapy sessions for a few hours each week. This level of care is generally suitable for those with strong support systems and stable home environments who need guidance and support to initiate recovery.

Intensive outpatient rehab demands a greater time commitment, usually requiring participants to engage in treatment activities for several hours each day on several weekdays. Most IOPs deliver 12 to 15 hours of therapy weekly over 12 weeks.

What Is Outpatient Rehab Like?

All outpatient rehab varies depending on the substance of abuse, and personal variables. Here’s what you can expect from the process in general:

  • Freedom and flexibility: Unlike inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab allows people to live at home and continue with their daily lives, from working to spending time with loved ones. Not only does outpatient rehab afford more flexibility than residential treatment, but individuals can integrate their recovery into their daily routines. This streamlines the transition to ongoing abstinence and allows for real-world practice of recovery skills.
  • Peer support network: Outpatient rehab provides people with the opportunity to build a supportive network of peers grappling with similar issues. Group therapy sessions offer a sense of shared purpose and community, which can be incredibly uplifting.
  • Diverse therapeutic activities: Outpatient rehab programs often incorporate therapeutic activities and holistic treatments that can be enjoyable and healing. These activities offer ways to explore new hobbies, relieve stress, and connect with others, from music sessions to art therapy to exercise classes and group outings.
  • Learning and growth: Rehab is not only about discontinuing substance use and remaining abstinence from drugs or alcohol. It’s a time to learn about yourself, develop coping skills, and set the foundation for a fulfilling sober life. Educational sessions on health and wellness, as well as the nature of addiction, empower people with knowledge for the recovery journey ahead.
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Get Premier Outpatient Rehab at Ohio Recovery Centers

Now you know how long is outpatient rehab, shortcut your search by reaching out to Ohio Recovery Centers.

We specialize in the intensive outpatient treatment of addictions and mental health conditions at our rehab center in Cincinnati, OH. This enables anyone who needs help recalibrating their life from substance abuse to engage with evidence-based treatment while fulfilling their daily commitments.

Although addictions are aggravating and incurable, substance use disorders respond favorably to treatment with a blend of behavioral interventions, counseling, and possibly medications. The unique presentation of all addictions is reflected in the personalized and targeted treatment plans offered at Ohio Recovery Centers. Due to the relapsing nature of addiction, all outpatient treatment plans include a robust aftercare component.

Call 877-679-2132 today and begin your recovery right away with outpatient rehab at Ohio Recovery Centers.

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn