Patients in outpatient alcohol rehab can expect to complete a thorough assessment of their alcohol use and participate in individual and group counseling.

Article at a Glance:

Outpatient alcohol rehab is suitable for patients who have a supportive living environment and are stable enough to live at home while undergoing treatment.

Patients in outpatient alcohol rehab typically participate in individual and group counseling. Some programs may also provide medications.

Completing an outpatient alcohol rehab program requires a thorough assessment and a willingness to learn and set boundaries.

The Benefits of Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

When choosing an alcohol treatment program, some people opt for an inpatient setting because it allows them to live in a more controlled environment. However, others prefer outpatient alcohol rehab, which lets them live at home and continue to work and care for their family.

Outpatient care allows you to recover from alcohol addiction without having to “press pause” on your life like you would for inpatient treatment. It also tends to be more affordable, as there are no costs associated with staying in a facility and paying for food, housing and other amenities. However, it’s important to understand that outpatient care may not be effective for people in certain circumstances.

Who Is Outpatient Alcohol Rehab For?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) recommends outpatient rehab for people whose addictions are less severe. Patients in outpatient rehab should have a supportive home environment, and they should be stable enough to continue living at home and participating in life within the community.

Outpatient alcohol rehab typically involves individual and group counseling that teaches patients how to cope with stressors without turning to alcohol use. People with more severe addictions will likely require inpatient care before they can successfully participate in outpatient rehab.

Outpatient alcohol rehab is not appropriate for patients who live in an environment that makes recovery difficult. For example, if you are living with a partner who also abuses alcohol but is not ready to stop, outpatient care is probably not suitable. In addition, if you have significant medical or mental health needs and do not yet have the skills to avoid relapse while living at home, it may be more appropriate to begin recovery in an inpatient setting.

When Should Someone Consider Outpatient Alcohol Rehab?

Some people may drink moderately or only on special occasions, which does not constitute an alcohol addiction. Others may find that they are unable to stop drinking, even when it causes serious consequences in their lives. When a person loses control over drinking and begins to show signs of an alcohol use disorder — the clinical term for alcohol addiction or alcoholism — it is time to consider outpatient alcohol rehab.

Alcohol use disorder symptoms include:

  • Continuing to drink, even when it causes or worsens a health problem
  • Drinking despite problems in relationships or difficulty fulfilling duties at work or home
  • Drinking in dangerous situations, such as driving while under the influence of alcohol
  • Drinking larger quantities of alcohol than intended
  • Giving up other activities in favor of alcohol use

Types of Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Programs

There are several types of alcohol rehab programs available, and each can vary in the services they provide. For instance, some programs may involve individual counseling services, while others may focus on group interventions. Many programs offer a combination of individual and group counseling.

Some rehab programs may provide medications as part of alcoholism treatment. Medications like naltrexone, acamprosate and disulfiram can help people to stop drinking (See: Medication-Assisted Treatment). Outpatient alcohol rehab may offer medications in combination with counseling.

Mutual support groups are another form of outpatient alcohol rehab. In many cases, mutual support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are free to attend.

At-Home Detox vs. Medically Assisted Detox

Another thing to consider is the detox process; some people choose to detox at home, while others participate in a medically assisted detox program, also called medical detox. When people stop drinking after developing an alcohol addiction, they are likely to experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like tremors, headache and upset stomach. In cases of severe alcohol withdrawal, a person may experience hallucinations or a potentially fatal condition called delirium tremens.

Patients who experience mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms can often complete detox at home. Conversely, those who experience more severe symptoms like seizures or delirium tremens should be treated in a medically assisted detox program. This helps them avoid life-threatening consequences related to alcohol withdrawal.

Medical detox provides around-the-clock observation and support from medical professionals. Doctors working in an alcohol detox facility will often prescribe benzodiazepines to treat severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes, a patient may begin with a medical detox and then transition to outpatient alcohol rehab when they become medically stable.

4 Things To Expect From Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

There is no one-size-fits-all way to recover from alcohol addiction. Each person’s addiction and needs are different, so treatment plans, program intensity and time frames can vary widely.

Though each treatment plan is different, there are certain things that can be expected when participating in an outpatient rehabilitation program. The following sections will give you an idea of what to prepare for when entering outpatient treatment.

1. Be ready for an intake assessment.

Prepare to be asked many personal questions about your alcohol use. For example, you may be asked about how often you drink or how recently you had your last drink. It may feel uncomfortable to be asked such things by a complete stranger, but your answers help ensure you’re placed in a program that best fits your needs. In addition, you will likely have to undergo a physical exam and drug testing.

2. Prepare to talk about your emotions and underlying psychological conditions.

An important part of rehabilitation involves working to get to the root cause of an addiction. Often, those who struggle with addiction have co-occurring mental health concerns like depression and anxiety. In order to treat addiction, a person must also confront and treat their emotions and mental state.

Discussing such personal topics may be difficult and uncomfortable at first. With time, however, it will become more normal. It may even open your eyes to why you developed an alcohol addiction in the first place.

3. Be willing to learn.

Many rehabs are educational and provide scientific information on addiction and its causes. In outpatient rehab, you will likely learn about the disease of addiction and the factors that put you at risk of alcohol abuse. Self-examination isn’t always easy, but it is a necessary part of recovery.

4. Know that you’ll need to have boundaries.

For some, it can be harder to stay sober when taking part in an outpatient treatment program. This is because there is less supervision and more freedom, which can mean more room for relapse. It is important to examine your situation and your state of mind in order to decide if outpatient rehab is the right choice for you.

Outpatient Programming at The Recovery Village

If outpatient alcohol rehab sounds like it might be the best choice for you, The Recovery Village is here to help. We have rehab centers located in various states around the country, and we also offer teletherapy services so you can complete outpatient alcohol rehab from home. Contact us today to learn more about an outpatient program that can work well for your needs.

Visit the following websites to learn about The Recovery Village’s network of rehabilitation facilities. Call today for admissions. Each center is ready to help people learn how to cope with their Ambien addiction and uncover the root causes for their substance use disorder.

  • Orlando Recovery Center: A premier rehabilitation facility in Orlando, Florida that helps individuals recover from addiction and substance use disorders. The center also offers the opportunity to treat co-occurring disorders.
  • The Recovery Village Columbus: Located in Ohio, this facility provides inpatient, outpatient and aftercare treatment for people looking to begin detox. The center provides individualized plans to help patients through recovery while addressing their unique co-occurring disorders or any setbacks that may happen during recovery.
  • The Recovery Village Palmer Lake: In Colorado, this facility offers inpatient, outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment for individuals looking to kick-start their journey to recovery.
  • The Recovery Village Ridgefield: Located right in southern Washington, this facility provides patients with outpatient and aftercare programs. Just 20 minutes outside of Portland, this facility assists individuals who are ready to begin treatment.
  • The Recovery Village: In Umatilla, Florida, this is a rehabilitation facility that provides resources for individuals seeking drug and alcohol treatment. There are inpatient, outpatient, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization treatment programs available for those suffering from Ambien addiction.
  • IAFF Center of Excellence: Specializes in assisting firefighters who struggle with behavioral health problems and addiction. Members can enter the recovery process sooner so they can return back to work as quickly as possible. Inpatient, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs are all available at this facility, where patients can address their Ambien addiction in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Denver Mental Health & Counseling: Denver Mental Health and Counseling by The Recovery Village is a physician-led outpatient center specializing in evidence-based addiction and mental health treatments, offering services such as TMS, IOP, and personalized care for both ongoing and new patients, dedicated to fostering long-term recovery and overall well-being.
  • The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health: The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health is a premier physician-led treatment center in South Florida, offering a comprehensive spectrum of services from medical detox to outpatient programs for alcohol, drug, and co-occurring mental health conditions, with a commitment to rejuvenating lives, families, and communities, and facilitating same-day admissions.
  • The Recovery Village Atlanta: Located in Roswell just outside downtown Atlanta, is a 62-bed physician-led treatment facility offering a comprehensive range of services, from medical detox to outpatient care, specializing in alcohol, drug, and co-occurring mental health conditions, dedicated to transforming lives, families, and communities throughout Georgia.
  • The Recovery Village Kansas City: The Recovery Village Kansas City, an 80-bed facility in Raytown just 10 miles from downtown, offers a comprehensive range of evidence-based treatments for addiction and mental health conditions, overseen by physician leaders, and is dedicated to revitalizing lives, families, and communities throughout the Midwest.
  • The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper Health: The Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper, situated just 20 minutes from Philadelphia, is a leading rehab facility in South Jersey providing comprehensive, evidence-based addiction and mental health treatments, ranging from medical detox to teletherapy, with a dedicated team committed to guiding adults on their path to lifelong recovery.
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Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Jenni Jacobsen, LSW
Dr. Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker through the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. She has over seven years working in the social work field, working with clients with addiction-related and mental health diagnoses. Read more

Medication Innovation Accelerator Program. “Overview of Substance Use Disorder (SUD)[…]very System Reforms.” April 2017. Accessed September 4, 2021.

Muncie, Herbert Jr.; et al. “Outpatient Management of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome.” American Family Physician, 2013. Accessed September 3, 2021.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder.” April 2021. Accessed September 4, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.