Outpatient rehab programs can range in intensity, from day treatment programs offering 20 hours or more of service per week to aftercare programs.

If you’re looking for mental health care or drug and alcohol rehab in the Denver, CO, area, it is important to assess your options to find the best fit for you. While people often imagine inpatient rehab when they think of getting addiction treatment, outpatient drug and alcohol rehab is also a suitable option for many. Learn how outpatient treatment works and how to find a high-quality, Colorado-based outpatient treatment program. 

What Is Outpatient Rehab?

The term “outpatient rehab” is an umbrella term used to describe any treatment program that is provided in a community setting and allows individuals to continue living at home. This is in contrast to inpatient care, in which patients live onsite at a treatment facility while undergoing rehab.

Outpatient rehab programs can be offered in a variety of settings, including doctors’ offices, clinics, specialty addiction treatment centers or hospitals. 

Benefits of Outpatient Rehab

There are several benefits associated with outpatient rehab or mental health care:

  • The ability to live at home and continue caring for family while in rehab
  • Flexibility in scheduling, so you can continue to work 
  • Reduced costs when compared to inpatient treatment 
  • Access to licensed addiction professionals, including physicians, counselors, social workers and nurses
  • Access to a variety of supportive recovery resources within the community 

How Does Outpatient Rehab Work?

People who are in outpatient rehab will report to an office, clinic, or other treatment center for regular appointments. They may meet with an individual therapist, in addition to attending group counseling sessions. Some people in outpatient care also see a psychiatrist or other physician for medication management, and they may attend peer support groups like AA to keep them on track with their sobriety.

After attending appointments, those in outpatient care are free to go about their daily lives, which may include going to work, attending school or caring for children. There is often flexibility in scheduling appointments, so you can arrange your treatment at times that work for your schedule. 

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

When looking for a Colorado rehab program, people often wonder whether they should choose an inpatient or an outpatient program. The best program will depend on each patient’s individual needs. An inpatient program requires patients to live onsite at the treatment facility while undergoing rehab. While in an inpatient program, people live in a structured environment with a full-time schedule that supports recovery, including regular individual and group therapy sessions, medical appointments, recreational therapies and amenities.

While those in outpatient rehab also receive individual and group therapy, medical support and recovery resources, they are able to remain at home while in treatment. This makes outpatient care suitable for those who must continue to work and care for children, or who have a stable living environment that can benefit their recovery. 

However, because patients spend significant amounts of time outside the substance-free environment of the facility, outpatient rehab puts more accountability on the patient to navigate the day-to-day triggers in their normal lives. Because of this, it generally suits those with mild to moderate substance use or mental health disorders or those who have already graduated from higher, more intensive levels of care. 

On the other hand, inpatient care may be necessary for those who have a severe addiction, mental illness or an unstable living environment. Many people are faced with numerous triggers in their normal lives and would benefit from being removed from their home environment until they are more stable in recovery. 

Outpatient Rehab Treatment Options

Outpatient rehab is a general term that refers to any treatment program that occurs in the community, as opposed to in a treatment facility that requires patients to live onsite. Within the realm of outpatient addiction treatment, there are numerous levels of care available. 

Day Treatment

Day treatment programs are the highest level of outpatient care. Day treatment offers at least 20 hours of service per week in a specialized facility or a hospital. Patients report to the treatment facility for a structured program, which may occur in four-hour blocks every day of the week, and then return home at night. 

Patients in day treatment receive a variety of services, including individual and group counseling, medication management, occupational therapy, educational groups and medical services. Day treatment programs are qualified to provide intensive clinical services, and they can offer psychiatric treatment in addition to medical services like laboratory testing. 

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are a step down from day treatment. They provide at least nine hours of service per week in a structured environment and include a combination of individual and group counseling and medication services. 

Individuals participating in an IOP pay may attend treatment in three-hour blocks, three days per week, for example. While outpatient programs are structured and do require a considerable time commitment, appointments can often be scheduled during evenings and weekends so that patients can continue to tend to other commitments, like school and work. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is any rehab program that combines counseling with medications that reduce symptoms associated with craving and withdrawal or discourage drug use. MAT is most commonly associated with opioid addiction treatment, but there are also medications available to treat alcohol addiction. 

When used to treat individuals recovering from opioid addiction, MAT has been found to keep people in treatment, reduce illegal drug use and decrease the risk of drug-related death. Because of these benefits, many outpatient programs, including Denver Mental Health and Counseling, incorporate MAT into their service offerings. 

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Outpatient rehab centers may provide treatment for co-occurring disorders, which is sometimes called dual diagnosis treatment. A person is said to have a co-occurring disorder when they live with both an addiction and a mental health condition. Co-occurring disorders are common: about half of people with a mental health condition will experience an addiction at some point in their lives. 

Treatment centers that are qualified to treat co-occurring disorders are able to evaluate and treat both addiction and mental health simultaneously. Dual diagnosis programs offer therapies that are effective for both mental health and substance use disorders, and they employ staff who are knowledgeable and experienced in treating both conditions. 

How Long Does Outpatient Rehab Last?

The length of time you spend in outpatient rehab will depend on your unique needs and circumstances. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction treatment generally needs to last at least three months to be effective.

Longer durations of treatment usually make it more likely that a person will be able to stop drug use long-term, so it is helpful to choose a program that is at least three months long. Some people may require a longer treatment program to be successful. Your treatment team will monitor your progress and work with you to decide an appropriate time to end your outpatient care. 

How Much Does Outpatient Rehab Cost?

The cost of outpatient rehab depends on the type of program you choose and what’s involved. For instance, traditional outpatient care is less expensive than intensive outpatient care, which may be less expensive than a day program. Outpatient programs that involve twice-per-week appointments with a therapist will understandably cost less than someone who spends 20+ hours per week in day treatment and meets with a team of psychologists, counselors and doctors. 

Research does provide a general idea of what you might expect to pay for outpatient care. For example, a 2020 study found that at the start of treatment, individuals in intensive outpatient care for opiate addiction had an average monthly cost of $3,148 per person. These costs may decrease over time as treatment intensity is reduced. 

Is Outpatient Rehab Covered By Insurance?

Many insurance programs do offer some coverage for outpatient addiction or mental health services, so your out-of-pocket costs may be less than the figure noted above. The amount you are required to pay in copays and other fees will vary based on your specific insurance. Your insurance provider can offer you detailed information about what services are covered under your plan and what you can expect to pay for outpatient rehab. Our intake team can also verify your insurance coverage with you. 

The Affordable Care Act requires that Medicaid plans and those offered on state health insurance exchanges cover substance abuse treatment as an essential benefit. If private health insurance providers cover addiction services, they are not allowed to charge more for these services than they do for regular medical services. These laws mean that your insurance, more likely than not, can offset some of the costs of outpatient rehab. 

Outpatient Rehab at Denver Mental Health and Counseling 

If you’re looking for Denver-area outpatient addiction or mental health treatment, it is important to choose an accredited program that employs qualified behavioral health professionals. 

Denver Mental Health and Counseling by The Recovery Village offers traditional outpatient and intensive outpatient rehab to the Colorado community. As an outpatient-only facility, we specialize in providing quality outpatient care, including dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders and medication-assisted treatment, when applicable. 

Like all treatment centers through The Recovery Village, our program is accredited by The Joint Commission. Our team of licensed and credentialed professionals includes physicians, counselors, social workers and nurses who are dedicated to compassionate, evidence-based care.

Ready to Get Started?

If you’re ready to begin outpatient rehab, Denver Mental Health and Counseling is here to help. Located in Highlands Ranch, we are convenient to Denver and surrounding locations like Boulder, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. Contact us today to get more information about our outpatient programming and start the road to lifelong recovery.

Editor – Melissa Carmona
Melissa Carmona puts years of writing and editing experience to work helping people understand substance abuse, addiction and mental health disorders. Read more
Medically Reviewed By – Jenni Jacobsen, LSW
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker through the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. She has seven years of experience working in the social work field, working with clients with addiction-related and mental health diagnoses. Read more

Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program. “Overview of Substance Use Disorder (SUD)[…]ivery System Reforms.” Medicaid.gov, April 2017. Accessed March 25, 2022.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).” January 10, 2022. Accessed March 25, 2022.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Comorbidity: Substance Use Disorders and[…] Illnesses DrugFacts.” August 1, 2018. Accessed March 25, 2022.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: […] (Third Edition).” September 18, 2020. Accessed March 25, 2022.

Abraham, Amanda J., et al. “The Affordable Care Act Transformation o[…] Disorder Treatment.” American Journal of Public Health, January 2017. Accessed March 25, 2022.

Larochelle, Marc R., et al. “Relative Cost Differences of Initial Tre[…]Opioid Use Disorder.” Medical Care, October 2020. Accessed March 25, 2022.

Medical Disclaimer

Denver Mental Health Counseling by 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.