Residential or Outpatient Care: What’s Best For You?

By The Valor Team
Friday, October 18, 2019 at 12:42 pm in
people in evaluation meeting

The duration and severity of your addiction, your physical and mental health, your living environment, relapse potential, and other factors influence decisions about the most effective treatment option for you. 

While recommendations are typically determined through an in-person diagnostic assessment, here is a general overview of the key considerations.

Residential programs require that patients stay on-site at a treatment facility for a certain period of time. At Valor, we don't prescribe a set number of days for length of stay, as each person is unique. Through education, group therapy, one-to-one counseling, and peer interaction, patients learn about the disease of addiction and the process of recovery in a safe, supportive environment.

In a residential setting, patients are removed from influences in their home, work, and social environment that could impede treatment or jeopardize recovery. They also have 24/7 support and are provided tools to cope with emotions in early recovery.

Generally speaking, a good candidate for outpatient addiction treatment programs will have stable mental and physical health, and have a supportive home and/or work environment. Outpatient programming allows individuals to fully experience treatment and incorporate it into their daily lives while continuing to work and care for their family.

How is the appropriate level of care determined?

An in-person diagnostic assessment by an addiction professional provides the most accurate recommendations for patient placement and care. This assessment process typically draws upon the following criteria set forth by the American Society of Addiction Medicine:

-    Acuity and complexity of addiction, including withdrawal needs
-    Biomedical considerations or complications
-    Emotional and behavioral factors
-    Motivation to change
-    Relapse potential
-    Recovery environment

Because the patient is often unable to provide the full picture of his or her addiction, a good assessment also may include collateral information from professionals and people who have witnessed the patient's addictive behaviors, such as family and friends.

What should you look for to receive effective addiction treatment, residential or outpatient?

Look for treatment programs that specialize in trauma-informed and evidence-based practices, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, dialectical behavioral therapy, counter conditioning, distress-tolerance and mindfulness. Look also for programming that is individualized and flexible enough to meet the patient where he or she is in terms of readiness to change, and that guides the patient through the stages of change. 

How important are continuing care and recovery support?

Research shows that the first 18 months following treatment are critical in building lasting sobriety. Addiction is a chronic health condition, like diabetes, that needs to be managed over one's lifetime. Effective treatment programs equip the patient with a continuing care plan and a relapse prevention plan that take into account the patient's specific issues and challenges, such as chronic pain, medication management, trauma, grief and loss, and co-occurring mental health conditions. 


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