How Can Outpatient Rehab Help Prevent Relapse?

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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates for people with addiction fall somewhere between 40-60%.[1] Relapse does not mean a patient has failed nor does it mean a person cannot get sober. Instead, relapse is an indication that a person’s treatment plan needs to be altered, improved, or changed in some way.

One of the best ways to prevent relapse is to follow an individually-tailored treatment program that addresses the underlying causes of addiction, healthy coping skills, and relapse prevention. Outpatient rehab programs in New Jersey can accomplish these tasks and more. Here are 4 ways outpatient rehab helps prevent relapse.

Outpatient Rehab Centers Facilitate Relapse Prevention Therapy

The first way outpatient rehab can help prevent relapse is by providing relapse prevention therapy. Relapse prevention therapy may also be known as relapse prevention (RP) or mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP). Relapse prevention therapy is a cognitive behavioral therapy approach where:

  1. Clinicians help patients identify situations where there is a high risk for relapse
  2. Patients become increasingly aware of their surroundings, emotions, thoughts, and behavior patterns
  3. Patients work closely with their clinicians to develop cognitive and behavioral strategies to address and cope with high-risk situations
  4. Clinicians help patients find alternative ways of thinking about both substance abuse and abstinence so they have a more positive view of sobriety

This four-step process helps patients develop skills to prevent relapse as well as increased confidence to deal with difficult situations in their sobriety. Patients also work with their clinician to develop a relapse prevention plan consisting of 12-Step meetings, sober support, individual counseling, sober living, and more.[2]

While inpatient rehab helps patients uncover their underlying conditions and heal from the effects of addiction, outpatient rehab places a heavy focus on relapse prevention.

Outpatient Groups Promote Fellowship and Sober Support

Addiction is a disease that often makes people isolate themselves from their loved ones. Recovery, on the other hand, is all about connection–connection with oneself, one’s spirituality, and others in sobriety. However, finding other sober people and building relationships with them can be difficult. Although local 12-Step meetings are a great place to find fellowship and sober support, outpatient rehab is too.

Outpatient rehab consists of both group and individual therapy, but most hours are spent in groups. During these group sessions, patients get familiar with other members of the group, provide feedback to the group, and divulge their innermost struggles. These experiences can bring like-minded people together. Patients may find they are able to find fellowship and peer support in their outpatient group which can help prevent relapse.

Medication Management and Check-Ins Promote Accountability

In early recovery, some patients are unable to rely on their own judgment and self-discipline. Instead, they need some sort of guidance to help them make the right choices and remain on the path of sobriety. Two additional ways outpatient rehab helps prevent relapse are through medication management and regular check-ins.

Many people who go to rehab for addiction are placed on temporary or long-term medication. They may take mental health medications or addiction treatment medications like Suboxone. These medications, however, are only effective when taken as prescribed, and medication compliance isn’t always easy for people who struggle with addiction.[3] Medication management allows patients who are on medication to have regular doctors visits to discuss their medication compliance. This can help prevent medication diversion as well as relapse.

On a similar note, patients are expected to be present at each therapy session. If someone doesn’t show up, they will begin getting calls and texts from their clinician or other group members. This kind of accountability can help individuals stay on the right track and continue attending therapy sessions.

Outpatient Helps Ease The Transition Out of Inpatient

Leaving inpatient rehab isn’t always easy. People can encounter unexpected challenges or triggering people, places, and things. It often takes time to adjust to living at home versus living in a safe and supportive residential treatment environment. Fortunately, outpatient rehab programs in New Jersey help ease the transition out of inpatient rehab.

Outpatient is a step-down from inpatient in terms of levels of care. While patients don’t have around-the-clock supervision, they do have access to supportive care and mental health resources when they need them the most. By easing the transition and providing continued support, outpatient rehab can help prevent relapse.

Find an Outpatient Rehab in New Jersey Today

Here at New Jersey Addiction Interventions, we recognize the importance of individualized and comprehensive care. While residential treatment is valuable, a full continuum of care involving outpatient rehab can help reinforce recovery-based skills and prevent relapse. That’s why we help you find treatment, develop an aftercare plan, and get started with relapse prevention.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, we’re standing by to help. Call now to get started.



Medically Reviewed: July 28, 2021

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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