Veteran Outpatient Rehab for Addiction Treatment
If you served in the military and need treatment for a substance use disorder, veteran outpatient rehab provides the help you need. Inpatient, or residential, programs require you to live at a facility. But outpatient (OP) rehab enables you to receive treatment while living at home. Essentially, in an OP program, you attend daytime therapies on a part-time basis. Then, you can use your free time outside of this schedule to continue working, attending school, or fulfilling your family responsibilities.
Veteran outpatient rehab best suits clients who need substance abuse treatment for moderate or light drug or alcohol addiction. It works very well for those who cannot attend or who do not need a more intensive level of care. OP rehab is also a great step-down treatment option for those leaving residential or inpatient programs. It is important to talk to a doctor about your history with drugs or alcohol to receive their recommendation regarding the best level of care.
What Is Outpatient Rehab?
There are many reasons why veterans turn to alcohol or drugs, eventually developing a substance use disorder. For many, substance abuse starts as self-medication for combat trauma or by prescription for chronic physical pain. Others participate in the drinking culture common to military bases, where it is very easy to find alcohol inside the gates and in the civilian community just beyond. A substance abuse problem develops for some because of the many lifestyle changes associated with re-entering civilian life.
Regardless of the reason why drinking or drug use began, about 1.5 million U.S. veterans suffer a substance use disorder each year. Astoundingly, substance use disorders in veterans increased from 3.7% among Vietnam vets to 12.7% in today’s veterans..
With so many veterans needing rehab treatment, it is critical that programs exist to suit their lifestyles. For many people leaving the military and those already settled back into civilian life, maintaining a job is very important. Most also have responsibilities at home and for their families. For busy individuals with light to moderate substance abuse problems, a veteran outpatient rehab provides a treatment opportunity that does not require a hospital stay. Clients attending OP rehab continue living at home and can pursue other daily responsibilities while getting the help they need and without taking extended leave.
Outpatient rehab generally provides group therapy sessions and other therapies designed for recovery. These therapies sometimes include trauma therapy sessions with a licensed psychologist. Being in OP rehab means being able to start recovery without disrupting your life. Some programs involve multi-day participation for up to nine hours each week. Others focus most of the care on weekends or weekday evenings to work around busy schedules.
Outpatient rehab is best suited for individuals not suffering suicidal thoughts or dual diagnosis conditions requiring medication best administered in a 24-hour program. Outpatient programs are also best for clients with supportive family environments and a safe home free of alcohol or drugs. OP works well for follow-up treatment after graduation from an inpatient or residential program too.
How Veteran Outpatient Rehab Works
Veteran outpatient rehab usually takes place in a rehab facility or other healthcare setting. Clients attend therapy sessions, 12-step meetings, life skills coaching, and addiction education programs according to a weekly schedule. These therapies and programs are usually in a group setting among peers seeking recovery. At the end of each day’s scheduled program, clients leave the facility for home or to fulfill their personal work or school needs.
Of course, rehab programs vary widely. For this reason, the inclusions and requirements of outpatient programs can also vary. This makes it very important that each veteran reviews the program specifics before enrollment. For example, many veterans need an outpatient rehab that provides mental health treatment for conditions like PTSD, depression, and anxiety.
Three Types of Outpatient Rehab Programs
There are three main types of outpatient rehab for substance use disorders. These programs include outpatient treatment, intensive outpatient programs, and partial hospitalization.
Standard outpatient treatment typically involves meeting at a rehab facility or other healthcare setting once to twice weekly. Most OP programs provide about nine to 12 hours of treatment each week whether during the daytime, in the evenings, or on weekends.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
For IOP rehab, veterans attend treatment for between nine and 20 hours per week. IOP provides many of the same therapies offered in residential programs, which include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Medication management
Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
PHP treatment typically takes place three to five days each week for four to six hours at a time. Some PHPs also incorporate weekly overnight stays at a rehab facility, such as for weekends. Like IOP treatment, PHP often involves individual, group, and family therapies along with medication management.
Regardless of which level of care you choose, veteran outpatient rehab is built on a foundation of support. These programs provide therapeutic support and peer support to learn about your addiction, achieve sobriety, and grow in your recovery. They also help you learn how to build your own support system at home and within your community to maintain your healthier lifestyle free of alcohol or drugs.
Who Needs Veteran OP Rehab?
Veteran outpatient rehab works best for individuals suffering from a moderate to light substance use disorder. This use can include one or more substances, such as:
- Opioids and opiates
- Sedatives, anxiolytics, and hypnotics
- Amphetamines, cocaine, or other stimulants
Residential or inpatient rehab is better suited for individuals with moderate to extreme addictions and complex co-occurring conditions.
Signs and Symptoms of a Substance Use Disorder
If you or a veteran you love frequently use or overuse any of the above substances, outpatient rehab provides help for recovery. But it is sometimes difficult to know whether you or your loved one has an actual substance use problem. A healthcare provider can diagnose the condition and provide recommendations for treatment, such as within an outpatient rehab program.
Some of the most common signs of a substance use disorder are physical, psychological, and behavioral. These signs include:
- Weight, mood, personality, and physical appearance changes
- Bloodshot or dilated eyes
- Appetite and sleeping pattern changes
- Impaired movement or slurred speech
- Increased energy, restlessness, agitation, or anger
- Paranoia, anxiety, or fearfulness
- Secretive and suspicious behaviors
- Lost interest in favorite activities
- Inability to control their substance use
- Relationship, family, and social problems
- Risk-taking behaviors like unprotected sex or driving under the influence
- Unexplained financial, work, or school problems
- Giving substance use priority over other responsibilities and relationships
- Increased tolerance and need for the substance
- Continuing to use the substance despite negative consequences
If you recognize some of these symptoms in yourself or a family member, it is time to seek help for a potential substance use disorder. Your doctor or another licensed healthcare provider can provide a clear diagnosis of the condition along with treatment recommendations. A licensed veteran outpatient rehab program can also provide a diagnosis through addiction evaluation to determine your suitability for OP rehab treatment.
Will Veteran Outpatient Rehab Help Me Through Withdrawal?
One of the most common questions from veterans seeking outpatient rehab treatment is whether the OP program provides help for withdrawal. Most veteran outpatient rehab programs provide referrals to associated detox centers offering withdrawal support for vets. Some OP rehabs have detox programs under their own umbrella of services, too. Whichever is the case, a quality OP rehab fully understands the importance of detox toward achieving recovery. They are eager to help you or your loved one safely and comfortably get through the process of withdrawal.
Detox happens at a specialized facility where you or your loved one will be monitored 24/7 so that you are safe and as comfortable as possible. You will almost always have to stay overnight for detox, but once the detox process is complete, you can return home and attend outpatient rehab as per your schedule set up with your service provider. Detox typically lasts three to 10 or 14 days, depending on the substance used and the severity of the symptoms.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
The support of a licensed detox program is critical because of the variety of symptoms one can suffer during withdrawal. Although each individual experiences this process differently, some of the most common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Severe mood changes
- Depression and anxiety
- Physical aches and pains
- Cravings for your substance
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
Withdrawal from some substances can lead to life-threatening symptoms, based upon an individual’s health condition and other factors. Some of these symptoms include delirium tremens, seizures, suicidal thoughts, and rapid heartbeat.
The withdrawal timeline is different according to each individual’s physical makeup, history of substance abuse, substances used, and other factors. Even height, weight, metabolic rate, age, and co-occurring mental health conditions can affect withdrawal.
For most people, short-term withdrawal symptoms resolve within several days or up to two weeks. But some experience protracted withdrawal symptoms and even long-term health problems related to their substance use. Therapies provided in veteran outpatient rehab teach coping skills for common protracted symptoms like anxiety, depression, and drug cravings. If you experience long-term health problems, co-occurring mental health conditions, or other conditions requiring medical treatment, your outpatient program can refer you to specialists.
Withdrawal is never easy. For this reason, it is usually best to go through this process in a state-licensed detox program. They provide support, medications, nutrition, and therapies designed to help you overcome the worst symptoms of withdrawal to emerge into sobriety. All of this support takes place in a comfortable, yet secure, setting to prevent relapse and the potential for accidental overdose.
How Do I Find the Right Veteran Outpatient Rehab for Me?
If you or your loved one need veteran-focused treatment for a substance use disorder, VeteranRehab.org can help. We offer an array of veteran outpatient rehab programs designed to meet your unique needs. You can also find residential rehabs, inpatient programs, intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs, and detox centers providing rehab treatment for former military members.