Outpatient Services for Alcoholism

outpatient treatment for alcoholicsWhen you think about alcohol detox and rehabilitation, images of traditional inpatient care may come to mind. Many people associate alcohol rehab with hospital programs or residential recovery centers. They worry that treatment will require a long-term separation from family, work and other commitments. In fact, outpatient treatment can be just as effective as inpatient alcohol rehab in the right circumstances. After a complete evaluation of your history — including your past and recent alcohol use, co-occurring conditions and health status — a professional addiction counselor can help you decide which level of treatment is right for you.

Who Can Benefit from Outpatient Care?

According to American Family Physician, outpatient services for alcoholism are becoming increasingly common, and this form of treatment is safe for alcoholics who are not in danger of severe withdrawal symptoms. Outpatient care allows the client to continue to live at home while attending counseling sessions, therapy groups and community programs. If medication is required to manage cravings and prevent relapse, clients can receive many of the same prescription drugs that would be prescribed at an inpatient facility.

How do you know if outpatient care is right for you? If you are in the early stages of withdrawal and you do not have any co-existing health conditions that might put you in danger (such as pregnancy, heart problems or serious mental illness), outpatient care could be a safe and effective alternative to inpatient services. Other factors to consider include:

  • Your prior history of alcohol rehab
  • Your motivation to attend outpatient treatment sessions
  • The substance abuse triggers in your daily environment
  • Your personal and family commitments
  • Your medical insurance coverage

Outpatient treatment is generally more affordable than inpatient care, and services can be just as intensive. Talk with an admissions coordinator at a comprehensive treatment center to find out which type of care is recommended.

Outpatient Programs for Alcoholism

From the detoxification phase through rehab and aftercare, most of the same services that are available on an inpatient basis are also available for outpatients. Detox can be managed on an outpatient basis through intensive therapy, group counseling and medical supervision. Medications and supplements may be prescribed to address the side effects of withdrawal, such as anxiety, nausea and vitamin deficiencies. Once you’ve been through the detox process, you may be prescribed medications to help curb your cravings, such as naltrexone (ReVia or Vivitrol), or acamprosate (Campral).

At an outpatient program, you’ll learn new coping skills to help you deal with the triggers and emotions that underlie your drinking. Through private sessions with a therapist and group sessions with other alcoholics, you’ll learn how to lead a healthy, sober life. Counseling services for spouses and other family members are also part of a successful recovery plan. Outpatient care allows you to stay close to your loved ones while you receive treatment for the devastating disease of alcoholism.

In Memphis, The Oaks at La Paloma’s intensive outpatient program begins with a comprehensive assessment of your needs. Your individualized treatment plan will include many of our integrated services, including process and family groups, individual therapy, alternative therapies and treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders. Our recovery model draws from evidence-based strategies like Motivational Interviewing and 12-Step principles. Call us to learn more about our outpatient services for alcoholism — our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to talk with you about your options.


By Krystan Anderson, LPC-MHSP
Director, The Oaks at Foundation Memphis