What is Outpatient Care for Addiction?
Long-term sobriety relies on you remaining committed to making changes to your lifestyle, acquiring new coping skills and remaining engaged with medical professionals. We offer 24 month medical treatment to help you stay committed and adapt to any issues that may arise. Long term medical treatment has shown higher sobriety success rates than short term rehabs.
Why is Outpatient Care for Addiction Important?
Outpatient medical care for addiction is a relatively new concept. Traditionally, addiction treatment was only provided on a residential basis, and people who completed the programs had no support after treatment. Studies revealed that the many patients who complete residential treatment returned to drug and alcohol use within the following year. Additionally, medical treatment with buprenorphine has been shown to significantly improve safety by decreasing overdose risk. Outpatient services were introduced to help recovering addicts transition back into society without losing the support they received during their residential treatment. As a result, we are seeing a steady increase in those who maintain long-term sobriety after their residential programs.
It has become clear in the medical field that opioid addiction must be treated as a chronic disease, much like diabetes, lung disease or heart disease. Programs that do not include long term follow up have decreased success when compared to long term medical treatment with a trained physician after discharge. This would mirror the results of a patient being hospitalized for lung or heart disease, having no medical follow-up after inpatient treatment. True success in any chronic disease treatment is found in the outpatient realm between a doctor and their patient. The best of all is when a patient never gets sick enough to even need inpatient hospitalization.
Many people still maintain an adequate level of functioning in their job, parenting and other relationships. They an have more success without the disruption of attending an 30-90 day inpatient program. These people can start seeing immediate return to normal functioning in their job and parenting through a medical at home treatment program. Outpatient, long term programs have much higher success, much higher confidentiality (i.e. your boss and associates don’t need to know) and much higher convenience than attending an inpatient program. Patients that are no longer able to function in their job or parenting effectively, can benefit greatly from the structure, treatments and education of an inpatient program before transitioning to our two year outpatient program. Clearly, when a patient is sick enough, they need an inpatient program to save their lives and stabilize them. If we determine that you have need, we will help you choose a top quality inpatient program
What Does Outpatient Care for Addiction Involve?
Using the chronic disease model, we begin with a global psychological evaluation followed by medical evaluation with our nurse practitioner. Then we make a plan using the optimal ratio of in person and telehealth visits customized to the needs of each patient. We adapt the medication dosage to every patient during each phase of their treatment. This includes daily follow up visits (a mix of in person and telehealth) during the initial three weeks. We then slowly decrease the visit frequency down to once per week by nine months (with additional visits as needed) into the program and continue this throughout 24 months. Again, most of these visits can be telehealth to be more convenient for your work and family lifestyle. We offer unlimited visits during the 24 months. Most patients will have periods of increased triggers, cravings, re-use of opioids, depression or other short term crises. During these times we will increase visit frequency to make sure you receive the help you need.
Regular therapy visits are a mandatory part of our program. We don’t employ therapists because there are so many excellent therapists already in the community. We have an experienced addiction psychologist who will perform an in depth evaluation of your addiction history, your mental health needs and potential triggers and traumas that will affect your recovery success. They will give you a summary and help you understand the psychological evaluation and how we can help you better. We will help you find a great therapist. Alternatively, you can choose to attend our virtual group therapy sessions to satisfy this requirement. We also offer virtual group therapy sessions for your family or other support people helping you with your recovery.
We also require that patients participate in an addiction support group (such as a 12 step Narcotics Anonymous). We will help you find a group.
Lastly, all of your health is important and we want you to have a relationship with a primary care physician. It is required that you have an annual exam with a primary care physician when you start the program or within the last 12 months and during each year of the program.
How Do I Know If I Need Outpatient Care for Addiction?
All patients need long term outpatient care to have maximum sobriety success and the best health outcome. Office based outpatient care is ideal for patients whose lives are being negatively affected by their opioid use but who are still functioning well enough to maintain their job or parenting functions or normal social appearance. They also should have a circle of friends, family or support people that do not abuse drugs or alcohol. Some patients need the structure and focused treatments of an inpatient program first, before they are ready for the long term, outpatient medical treatment. We can help you make this decision. Reach out to our experienced staff and ask them. If needed, we will refer you to our trusted inpatient programs in the community. After you finish the inpatient program, we will take over care and be with you every step of the way for the next two years.