Outpatient rehab for students

outpatient rehab for students

What Is Outpatient Rehab for Substance Abuse?

Outpatient rehab centers offer treatment options that allow you to remain living at home while receiving treatment. Typically, an outpatient treatment plan includes involvement at a treatment center at designated times that fit in your schedule. This time can range from a few hours a week to several hours a day, depending on your needs and addiction severity.

Outpatient Care Offers a Wide Range of:

  • Counseling
  • Medication
  • Drug testing
  • Case management
  • 12-step programs

This type of treatment program is often best for people with family or work commitments that prevent them from partaking in full-time inpatient treatment. This treatment works best when there is a supportive home environment and when the addiction is less severe.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab

A common question is, “what is the difference in inpatient vs. outpatient rehab?” The main differences in inpatient vs. outpatient programs are the time commitment, the intensity of treatment, and supervision level. Inpatient care requires living at an addiction treatment center for a duration of time. Inpatient care is often best for addressing more severe addictions that require around the clock medical care and supervision.

However, suppose the addiction is less severe, and the individual has commitments at home or work they cannot leave behind. In that case, outpatient care can be a great alternative and effective option.

Why Might a College Student Choose Outpatient Addiction Treatment?

When a student decides to go to college, it’s a big commitment that they may not want to abandon. Problems with addiction can negatively affect a student’s life in many ways, which is why proper treatment is so crucial. Outpatient treatment can be a good way for students to recover from addiction without disrupting their education.

Outpatient rehab centers can offer students a flexible treatment plan that can work around their studies. This flexibility can be very beneficial, especially if students need to keep scholarships or financial aid to continue their education. Lastly, there is a stigma associated with addiction.

It can feel like there’s a lot of social pressure for students at a young age and admitting that they have a problem can be difficult. Outpatient treatment can help bridge that gap and give students a more manageable option than completely disrupting their lives and plans while receiving treatment.

What Should a College Student Expect in Outpatient Rehab?

Outpatient treatment requires going to a treatment center at designated times throughout the week. The majority of the treatment plan consists of individual and group therapy. Therapy plays a vital role in treatment. It helps the individual develop coping mechanisms and work on any other underlying issues that may be causing the addiction to occur. Medications may also be prescribed to help prevent relapse or ease withdrawal symptoms.1

How do Treatment Centers Help Get Your Education Back on Track After Rehab?

Addiction problems can be very disrupting to a student’s life and education. Treatment centers want to help you create a plan for maintaining sobriety and achieving success in other areas of your life, such as school. As part of your treatment program, you will set goals for your education and help create a plan to achieve your academic goals. If you had to leave school due to addiction, a treatment center would provide the resources and a plan to help you get back in school.

Therapy at the treatment center can also help you develop skills such as time management, self-efficacy, and coping mechanisms that help you deal with everyday life stresses without drugs or alcohol. Lastly, a treatment program will help you build a reliable support system. This support system can help you connect with family, friends, and resources at your school to be there for you after treatment.

Why do College Students Abuse Drugs and Alcohol?

Unfortunately, part of the college experience is some of the social pressures that come with it. One of those social pressures is the use of drugs and alcohol at parties. While a student may see this as harmless fun, recreational drug use can lead to addiction over time. Students may also experience stress or pressure with schoolwork.

This pressure can lead to things like:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feeling burnt out

This ongoing stress leads some students to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with what they’re feeling, as substances can misleadingly feel like an escape from problems. However, an addiction develops, it can lead to many other adverse effects on life and education. This risk is why students receiving proper drug and alcohol treatment for addiction is so important. There are resources available, and everyone deserves to get the help they need.

What are the Most Commonly Abused Drugs by College Students?


One of the most commonly abused drugs by students is alcohol, mostly due to its high availability at parties and other social gatherings. It’s common for students to want to hang out and have a few drinks. However, over time recreational use and alcohol abuse can lead to addiction, and alcohol treatment will be necessary.2


Marijuana is another typical party and recreational drug used by college students, and its use has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. While you can’t build a physical dependence on marijuana, psychological dependence on the feeling of being high can develop. This dependence can lead to an increase in drug use and many other problems that come with that.


Adderall is used by college students who want to stay up late studying or working on assignments they procrastinated on. While this can seem beneficial to the student at the moment, Adderall has very addictive properties and can result in addiction over time. Adderall addiction can be severe and proper treatment will be necessary.


Xanax is a sedative that is sometimes used at college parties and dangerously abused with alcohol. This combination of Xanax and alcohol can be hazardous and lead to many negative consequences. Xanax also does have very addictive properties, and dependence will form over time.


Outpatient treatment can be beneficial for students in many ways. Outpatient rehab can help students recover from addiction, get back on track with their studies, and learn to manage the daily stresses of life without using drugs or alcohol. There are resources available, and students should be made aware of this. If you or someone you know is struggling and you’re unsure what the first step in receiving treatment; contact SAMHSA’s national helpline 1-800-662-4357 to receive free information about resources available in your area.3


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