If you or a loved one are looking for alcohol treatment, you may be wondering, “how long is outpatient rehab for alcohol?”

The duration of outpatient rehab for alcohol depends on several factors, including the type of rehab program and the severity of an individual’s addiction. Some people may be on the path to sobriety in as little as 3 weeks. For others, it may take several months.

Read on to learn how long outpatient rehab for alcohol is for the different types of recovery programs.


A group therapy session with five people sitting in a circle, clapping and smiling, illustrating how long is outpatient rehab for alcohol


Understanding Outpatient Rehab Programs for Alcohol Addiction

There are two main types of programs for outpatient addiction treatment: intensive outpatient treatment programs and partial hospitalization programs. Depending on their level of addiction and available time commitment, different people may be better suited to one outpatient treatment program over the other.

Types of Outpatient Rehab Programs

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

In our intensive outpatient program, clients attend group therapy sessions for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. Individual and family therapy, as well as psychoeducational sessions, are also part of this program.

After completing IOP, clients participate in recovery assignments and prepare to reenter the workforce. Some clients may also choose to attend classes at the local community college or volunteer.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

Clients enrolled in a partial hospitalization program receive outpatient care beyond what’s typically provided in an IOP. During treatment, clients maintain freedom and flexibility, aiding their transition back to their normal lives outside of rehab.

After completing an IOP, some former clients take advantage of the PHP’s continued support to help them ease back into their regular daily routine. In our general outpatient rehab program, clients attend ongoing therapy sessions with a reduced time commitment.

Duration of Outpatient Treatment for Alcohol

How long someone needs to remain in rehab for alcohol depends on the specifics of their addiction as well as their physiology. The length of stay in rehab also depends on the type of rehab program you’re attending.

Factors Influencing Duration

  • The severity of your addiction plays a significant role in how long you’ll need to remain in a rehab program. The greater your dependence on alcohol, the longer you’ll typically need to stay in rehab to be on your way to recovery and escaping the cycle of alcohol addiction.
  • Every person responds differently to different treatment options. Additionally, an individual’s desire to achieve sobriety impacts how quickly they’ll progress during their rehab program.
  • When other mental health disorders exist alongside addiction, additional precautions must be taken so as not to exacerbate those symptoms. Treating alcohol addiction while also ensuring the effects of preexisting conditions such as anxiety or depression aren’t increased requires additional planning and a meticulous approach, which often results in a longer time to recovery.


A counselor talking one-on-one with a patient in a private setting, emphasizing individualized care and support in outpatient alcohol rehab.


Typical Timeframes

The average duration for an intensive outpatient program is between 4 and 6 weeks, although many clients may need to stay for up to 60 days.

PHPs usually have a shorter timeframe than IOPs — 3 to 4 weeks is typical. Standard outpatient rehab programs typically have a longer duration than the average IOP and PHP. While the time to recovery varies between individuals, it’s not unusual for those participating in standard outpatient addiction treatment programs to receive alcohol rehab services for 90 days or longer.

What to Expect During Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

Knowing what to expect during your stay at rehab can help you mentally prepare for the road to recovery. For whichever program our clients are enrolled in, we require that they remain on-site during the program’s sober living portion for attending treatment. This improves individual accountability and provides consistent monitoring of clients’ progress. At a high level, our outpatient rehab programs consist of four main components.

Assessment and Personalized Treatment Plans

Upon entering one of our outpatient treatment programs, you’ll initially meet with a medical professional who completes an initial assessment of your addiction.

After the assessment, we’ll create a treatment plan outlining your recovery goals and how you’ll achieve them by attending therapy sessions, meetings and other activities.

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling form the foundation of our outpatient care plans. Depending on which program you’re in, you’ll likely spend a few hours each day in different types of therapy.

In individual therapy sessions, you’ll meet with a counselor to discuss your addiction and behavioral triggers, while group therapy brings in other clients who are also working toward their sobriety.

Knowing the impact addiction can have on loved ones, our outpatient treatment programs also include family therapy. In addition to exploring how a family’s dynamic relates to an individual’s cycle of abuse, it helps build a foundation for a future support network.

Flexibility and Autonomy

We don’t impose the wide-ranging restrictions found at many other alcohol treatment facilities in North Carolina. Patients have access to their phones, computers and cars during our rehab programs.

Additionally, we reduce our structured programming on the weekends to allow clients more time to relax and socialize with other clients. The increased independence our clients receive is combined with exceptional outpatient care to aid in their recovery.

Continuous Support

We offer additional programs to aid clients on their path to recovery and assist in relapse prevention. Our general outpatient program includes one hour of therapy three days a week and attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Once clients have completed their outpatient treatment program, they’ll undergo an exit assessment with their therapist. The assessment includes goals and recommendations for maintaining sobriety. We suggest most clients continue to attend therapy and meetings.


Close-up of a support group session with people sitting in a circle, engaged in discussion, representing outpatient rehab.


Begin the Path Toward Sobriety at Changing Tides

When you’re ready to seek treatment and restore your mental health, the medical professionals at our seaside community are waiting to assist you on your recovery journey. Contact Changing Tides for outpatient alcohol treatment by calling us at 252-715-3905 today.


Ready to Get Started?

Our caring and compassionate staff can guide you all the way through the admissions process.