Outpatient Drug Treatment

outpatient drug treatment

Recall the first time you experimented with drugs or alcohol! Maybe it was due to peer pressure. Maybe you wanted to look cool. You always thought you were too smart to be “hooked” on drugs. You always believed you could quit having fun with drugs or alcohol whenever you wished. Little did you realize that your life would be taken over by addiction and turned on its head. Your education, career, health, relationships and finances have been battered and your future looks bleak!

The reason you are addicted to drugs or alcohol has everything to do with chemistry and nothing to do with your good intentions or will power. Addiction sets in when constant use of drugs and alcohol rewires the chemical pathways in your brain to sustain the addiction. Before you first used alcohol or drugs, recall that you felt a rush of pleasure when you saw delicious food, indulged in your hobbies, or thought of sex. That is because the brain released a pleasure neuro transmitter called dopamine in response to such stimuli. Drugs or alcohol stimulate the brain to release much larger quantities of dopamine than usual day-to-day activities. Over time your brain gets used to receiving a stimulus from drugs or alcohol to release large quantities of dopamine instead of releasing dopamine in response to daily activities. Now, previously pleasurable daily activities no longer seem pleasurable and stimulus from alcohol or drugs is “needed” to feel normal. This change in the chemical pathways serve to sustain addiction and make it a chronic disease, as the addicted individual now needs drugs or alcohol to just feel normal! That is why alcohol or drug treatment is needed as it is hard to just “give up” abusing substances.

Although dulled by drugs or alcohol, there is a persistent little voice in your head that keeps telling you that your life is spinning out of control and that you need help. However, you are apprehensive about taking that first step – you have to confide to your loved ones about your issue, although they likely know you do; you have to give up your trusted “companion” who has provided an escape as life’s problems came at you; you are afraid of withdrawal, which you know is painful; you are unsure of where to begin alcohol or drug treatment, as it all seems so intimidating.

The old adage holds true: Begin at the beginning! First take your loved ones into confidence and enlist their support. You will be surprised at how supportive they are once they know you are willing to enter alcohol or drug treatment. Second, work with your loved ones to find a facility that provides good addiction treatment. The clinical team should be led by an ASAM certified physician which means the physician is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine. This will ensure that you experience minimal withdrawal symptoms as you go through the alcohol or drug detoxification process. There should also be a psychiatrist on staff to address any mental health issues that surface or re-surface during treatment. The alcohol or drug treatment team should also provide supportive therapy – cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT and Motivational Interviewing, or MI. This will help address psychological issues, and provide coping skills to deal with the loss of a “go to” coping mechanism (drugs or alcohol) and relapse prevention techniques. Treatment should continue after alcohol or drug detox and the longer the length of treatment, the better, as addiction is a chronic disease.

You are also apprehensive about alcohol or drug treatment, as you have seen many of your friends being sent away to inpatient treatment far removed from their living environment – sometimes to another state. While it is true alcohol and drug detoxification, the most acute phase of addiction treatment, was delivered exclusively in an outpatient setting in the past, outpatient detoxification now offers a safer and more effective option. For a few years now, ambulatory, or outpatient detoxification has been licensed for alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines and anesthetics. It delivers better outcomes relative to inpatient detoxification due to better integration with the patient’s home environment. Find out how outpatient drug treatment could make accessing treatment less daunting by scheduling a substance abuse evaluation, if you are looking at options for drug rehabilitation or alcohol rehabilitation in New Jersey.

Like for all other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension or even contagious HIV, treatment is almost always provided on an outpatient basis. Outpatient alcohol and drug treatment allows you to access high-quality treatment while living at home. As treatment integrates your home living environment, the learning that happens in therapy and drug counseling sessions can be applied to the activities that make up your daily routine and tested. The duration of treatment depends on your individual needs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA recommends up to 30 hours a week of programming. In case you experience a crisis at home, outpatient detox treatment providers are reachable 24X7.

Drug Counseling

Group and individual substance abuse counseling is an integral part of rehabilitation. SAMHSA lists various types of therapy to achieve long-term sobriety and may include the following: cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, contingency management, motivational enhancement therapy, group counseling, medication, case management services, lectures and educational programs and, most importantly, family support. Some specialized forms of treatment:

  • Partial Hospitalization Programs: This is suitable for individuals with severe medical conditions or psychological issues. Usually, people enrolled in these programs meet for 3-5 days each week for periods of four hours or more in a hospital or clinic but can go home at night.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs: Patients receive intensive treatment for a minimum of nine hours a week and typically meet 3-5 days a week. The frequency of the sessions decreases as one progresses and achieves milestones in the rehab program. Such programs are suitable for individuals with severe issues, co-occurring or dual disorders, or those who have multiple relapses but do not require round-the-clock supervision.

Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Rehab in NJ

Outpatient alcohol and drug rehab is gaining popularity due to its higher efficacy. The advent of new medications over the past few years that address withdrawal symptoms from drugs and alcohol more effectively has played a major role. The second most important factor, in our view, is that science has proven that addiction is a chronic disease as it causes changes in the brain. These changes take years to revert back to normal and patients cannot be quarantined in an inpatient setting for this long a period of time! They have to learn to live in their home environment through therapy. Other chronic diseases such as diabetes HIV or hypertension hardly ever call for inpatient treatment, let alone being carted off to far off locales.

Inpatient alcohol and drug treatment is based on the belief that addiction is a behavioral problem and the individual involved needs to be isolated from his/her living environment in order to learn modified behaviors. This is akin to incarceration and reduces motivation to seek treatment. Outpatient detoxification, on the other hand, reduces the stigma associated with addiction as it normalizes addiction to a chronic disease. Ambulatory detoxification also increases access to treatment as individuals afflicted by the disease of addiction often find it difficult to “drop” their lives and go away for treatment. This is especially true for homemakers with school going children or individuals with high pressure jobs such as lawyers.

drug rehab in NJ

“Reach NJ” is an initiative launched by Gov. Christie (now getting an overhaul by the Murphy administration with a $5 million budget) to help find facilities that provide treatment for addiction. It is generally preferable to find facilities that are in-network with your health insurance provider as costs to you are likely to be the lowest possible. One such facility is Center for Network Therapy (RecoveryCNT.com) that is in-network with all major private health insurance providers in the North East.

Find a center close to you and avail of addiction treatment tailored to your needs and personal circumstances. Call us now and we can help! CNT has 3 addiction treatment centers in New Jersey.


In-network with:
Anthem BCBS
Beacon Health Options
Emblem BCBS
Empire BCBS
Horizon BCBS (EPO, HMO, PPO)
United Health/Optum/Oxford
Emblem GHI*


* If the QualCare logo is on the
insurance card