When considering getting help for alcohol or substance abuse or dependency problems, many people are under the misconception that inpatient care, where one goes away to get help, is better than outpatient care. In reality, outpatient treatment is actually the preferred treatment of choice, for a variety of reasons. What is essential is to receive a comprehensive evaluation of the problem, and the multiple issues and components that one is dealing with.
Outpatient care is preferred for a variety of reasons:
- Recovery takes place in the community where one lives. Regardless of the length, quality, or reputation of a residential treatment, eventually one needs to return home. At that time, one must confront the stressors of day-to-day living, and must begin to develop a 12 Step and community support system. By getting treatment in an outpatient setting, these issues are addressed from the beginning, and one has the advantage of getting sober and recovering in the same community in which they live. From day one, their 12 Step and recovery community is developed and will continue to be consistent.
- In outpatient care, one is able to remain on the job, at school, and with the family. Life can continue smoothly, and be an advantage to recovery.
- When treatment is close to home, there is much greater opportunity for family involvement, which is a very important component of treatment. The convenience of a treatment center in the community where one lives and works makes it more accessible and more likely to be utilized. In addition, the family can develop close ties to community support systems and 12 Step meetings, which are key to recovery.
- Continued access to an established community of care is a priority. If one has physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, clergy who are working on co-existing issues, such continuity of care can be established, and not be broken by having to leave the area for an extended period of time.
- Outpatient care is significantly more affordable than residential. The cost of a residential program can be ten times greater than outpatient treatment, with residential care often costing as much as $50-60,000 per month. The program at Thelma McMillen is a fraction of the cost, and is covered by most insurance plans.
For these reasons, outpatient treatment for alcohol and drug abuse problems is recognized as the Preferred treatment, and not a lesser alternative.