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Why Can’t I Just Do Outpatient Treatment?

Why can’t I just do outpatient treatment? This is a question frequently asked by those who are beginning to discover they have a problem with drugs or alcohol. Often times the thought of entering into a treatment setting is scary. Most people don’t know what to expect and have fear about going to treatment due to stories they have heard or things they have seen on television. In other cases, some people don’t believe that entering an intensive program is what they actually need to get sober.

Determining what is appropriate for the individual can be a difficult decision to make. In order to make this determination, there are a few things that are necessary to consider before making a decision.


The process of doing any type of substance abuse treatment cannot take place if the individual is not motivated to stop drinking or using drugs. This is an absolutely necessary component to overcoming addiction. Asking yourself some honest questions can help you develop a desire to make the commitment.

“How has this impacted my relationships, my physical health and my overall life?”

“Have the people I love been harmed as a result of my addiction?”

“If I continue on like this, what will my life look like in a year from now?”

Asking these questions will help you gain a better perspective on how your addiction is affecting yourself and others.

An Open Mind

With so many television shows about addiction and substance abuse treatment, we may create fixed ideas about drug and alcohol treatment.  It is important to have a  real understanding of the process. The primary focus of substance abuse treatment is to move the person from active addiction to a life of abstinence. During this journey you will learn coping skills, heal from your past, and learn about your addictive behavior.

Professional guidance

Making the decision alone, to enter treatment, can be next to impossible. Call a professional and complete an assessment in order to determine the appropriate course of action. There are several assessment tools that addiction professionals can use to help clearly evaluate a person’s addictive behavior and choose the right treatment for you.

For many people who have developed a dependence on drugs and alcohol attending outpatient is just not quite enough. Taking the step to enter inpatient treatment may be difficult, but it can be the decision that saves your life.

-Joseph Hinds, CATC II


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