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Why Isn't Outpatient Treatment Working For Me?

The addiction healing journey can be a long and complicated process. There are many different options for treatment, with outpatient being the most prevalent. Even so, you may be asking yourself, “Why isn’t outpatient treatment working for me?” If this is the case, there are many other options you can begin to explore.

Outpatient Treatment Statistics

With the ongoing opioid epidemic and higher substance use rates, the need for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment is only becoming greater. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2020 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS), the proportions of clients in treatment for the “major types of care” shifted between 2011 and 2020. These types of care include outpatient, non-hospital residential, and hospital inpatient. Clients in outpatient treatment increased from 90 to 94%, while those in non-hospital residential treatment declined from nine to five percent. Outpatient treatment continues to be the most popular option, but it’s not for everyone.

Success Rates

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to calculate the success rates of outpatient treatment. SUD treatment can be extremely complex with many factors. So, the answer to the question, “Why isn’t outpatient treatment working for me?” really depends on the individual.

According to the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, drug treatment is “not a single entity but a variety of different approaches.” Treatment success is, therefore, not a matter of “all or nothing.” Instead, it should be calculated by degrees of improvement and take the individual’s unique experiences into account.

Relapse Rates

As treatment centers grow in numbers and more people choose the outpatient option, there is a greater chance of relapse, too. Many people will attempt outpatient treatment more than once for a variety of reasons. Again, success really depends on the individual.

If you’re wondering, “Why isn’t outpatient treatment working for me?” you may want to look at a 2011 study in Current Psychiatry Reports. It said “more than two thirds of individuals relapse within weeks to months of initiating treatment.” Studies have also shown that after one year, more than 85% of people will relapse and return to substance use.

Why Isn’t Outpatient Treatment Working for You

If outpatient treatment hasn’t worked for you, it can be for a number of reasons. One reason is simply the fact that addiction recovery can be a long and complicated process.

In the early days of outpatient treatment, it may be difficult to get over that initial “hump.” According to Current Psychiatry Reports, “higher craving levels” during abstinence and in outpatient treatment “are known to predict relapse and return to drug use.

Lack of Daily Structure

People with SUD are generally used to having most of their day revolve around their addiction. In order to find lasting success in recovery, it’s important to break the old habits and replace them with new ones.

Outpatient treatment doesn’t really give you this option. You’re free to go home after seeing a counselor or therapist, attending group therapy, or receiving medication. This can cause you to fall back into old habits instead of having more structure in your day to help you create new ones.


Another reason outpatient treatment may not be working for you is that you’re still affected by triggers. Addiction triggers are a very real part of the recovery process. They’re meant to be approached in a delicate way that will help you recognize them and create a plan to overcome them.

After outpatient treatment, you’re free to go about your daily life. This may include things like triggers from people or settings. Sometimes, your environment can be one of the most difficult triggers. When you’re constantly around the same people or settings, it may be difficult to break the cycle of addiction.

Why Isn’t Outpatient Treatment Working: Alternative Options

If you’re looking to find success in recovery, it may be time to consider alternatives to outpatient treatment. When most people think of alternatives to outpatient treatment, inpatient care in a hospital setting may come to mind. But this can’t be further from the truth. Many treatment centers offer hybrid treatment options, like intensive outpatient care or day/night programs.

You may also want to explore residential treatment, like the program at The Guest House. This can give you the structure and support you need while helping you create new habits and avoid triggers.

Why Isn’t Outpatient Treatment Working: A Unique Approach at The Guest House

At The Guest House, our mission is to help each individual overcome their struggles with addiction in the way that works best for them. Our individualized approach to recovery allows you to find the tools and treatments that are best suited for your unique journey.

The residential treatment program at The Guest House is designed to give you the structure and support you need while allowing you to take a relaxing break from the noise of the outside world. Here, you’ll find our beautiful 52-acre estate, which provides the perfect backdrop to help you unwind, reconnect with yourself, and reap the healing benefits of nature.

Traditional and Holistic Healing: A Unique Blend

Residential treatment at The Guest House doesn’t just give you 24/7, around-the-clock care. Here, you also have the ability to learn new life skills and set strong goals for the beautiful life you envision.

Our goal is to help you heal with both traditional therapies and holistic treatments. This cutting-edge blend helps promote your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. We offer a multitude of activities, therapies, and practices like meditation, yoga, art in healing, equine therapy, and more.

Unfortunately, most outpatient programs do not have the resources to actually help you get to the root cause of the struggles you’re experiencing. At The Guest House, you will find trauma-specific care to help you do just that. This will help you find lasting success in recovery and a renewed sense of purpose in life.

You may be asking yourself, “Why isn’t outpatient treatment working for me?” The reasons can be varied and complex. They may range from lack of support and structure to your unique circumstances requiring you to have a different level of care. At The Guest House, our residential treatment program is an excellent alternative for those who haven’t found success in outpatient settings. Our beautiful 52-acre estate provides the perfect backdrop to help you heal on a mental, physical, and spiritual level. We also offer a unique blend of both traditional and holistic therapies that allow you to heal the root of your addiction and find lasting success. Call us at (855) 483-7800.