Utilizing an Outpatient Treatment Program While Pursing Higher Education

There are many reasons someone may choose to pursue higher education. For example, as data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows, “As workers’ attainment rises, their unemployment rates decrease and earnings increase.” In other words, education often leads to higher wages and better career advancement opportunities. Despite this, there is no question that mental health conditions, like substance use disorder (SUD), can interfere with an individual’s ability to effectively pursue higher education. Fortunately, outpatient treatment options provide the flexibility and accountability that individuals require to heal from mental health conditions while pursuing higher education.

At 12 South Recovery, we offer several outpatient treatment programs, including general outpatient, intensive outpatient (IOP), and partial hospitalization programs (PHP). Although these programs are often used as a step down in the continuum of care for substance abuse treatment, they can be uniquely valuable for those who are unable to put other responsibilities on hold for treatment. Moreover, our outpatient treatment options can be individualized to fit the unique needs and goals of every client we serve.

What Is Outpatient Treatment?

Treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders generally falls into two categories: inpatient and outpatient. Simply put, inpatient treatment requires that clients reside at the treatment facility for the duration of their care. Outpatient treatment enables clients to live at home while they participate in treatment at a facility throughout the week.

A client’s living arrangement during treatment is not the only factor that separates inpatient from outpatient treatment. In addition, inpatient treatment is generally more structured and intensive compared to outpatient treatment. The three most common types of outpatient programs are as follows:

General outpatient programs: The most flexible type of outpatient treatment program, general outpatient programs provide clients with the peer and professional support they need to address addiction and/or other mental health issues. While they receive care, they can tend to other responsibilities throughout the week.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP): At 12 South Recovery, those enrolled in our IOP will participate in both individual therapy and group therapy sessions Monday through Friday from nine a.m. to 12 p.m. Treatment is more intensive than general outpatient but less intensive than a PHP.

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP): PHP is the most intensive form of outpatient treatment, requiring six hours of on-site programming Monday through Saturday. Due to the intensive nature of a PHP, it most closely resembles treatment received in inpatient treatment, yet it still offers flexibility for those with other responsibilities.

To summarize, both individual therapy and group therapy are important elements of any outpatient treatment program. Additionally, at 12 South Recovery, all outpatient treatment programs include case management services, one-on-one support, and individualized treatment. These services are catered to a client’s unique mental health needs and goals for recovery.

Pursuing Higher Education With a Substance Use or Mental Health Disorder

Living with substance use or mental health disorders can present great challenges when it comes to pursuing higher education. Regardless of which issue an individual is struggling with – depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or addiction, for example – they are likely experiencing intense symptoms that may interfere with their ability to:

  • Concentrate on important tasks
  • Retain information
  • Complete work on time
  • Keep up with the interpersonal and peer relationships necessary for thriving in school
  • Sleep well throughout the night
  • Stay optimistic

Furthermore, attempting to pursue higher education alongside mental health disorders or substance abuse problems can cause worsening symptoms. Moreover, the stress of higher education and added responsibilities may trigger self-medicating tendencies.

Pursuing education without addressing issues with mental health or addiction can create a destructive cycle. Outpatient treatment can provide individuals with the professional support and guidance they need to continue their education while healing from various mental health conditions.

The Value of Participating in Outpatient Treatment While Pursuing Higher Education

Participating in outpatient treatment while pursuing higher education enables clients to actively implement the skills that they are learning in treatment into their student-oriented routines. Outpatient treatment provides flexible treatment options to ensure that clients can participate in treatment in a way that fits their schedules.

Said another way, pursuing higher education while participating in outpatient treatment can encourage clients to discover more profound meaning and purpose for their newfound healing and recovery. Treatment teams can connect individuals with others seeking to learn more about themselves and the world around them as they heal from their mental health condition.

Without treatment, an individual with a mental health disorder may feel ill-equipped to navigate the added stressors of higher education. Fortunately, outpatient treatment programs ensure that individuals do not feel held back by their condition or symptoms. Rather, individuals can feel confident in their ability to thrive in an educational environment while being supported by a group of caring professionals and peers.

Many individuals who want to advance their education and careers consider pursuing higher education. However, for those with mental health or substance use disorders (SUDs), higher education may seem unreachable. If you or a loved one would like to pursue higher education but feel held back by an addiction or mental health condition, consider participating in a flexible, individualized outpatient treatment program. At 12 South Recovery, we offer intensive outpatient (IOP), partial hospitalization (PHP), and general outpatient programs for those who need to tend to important responsibilities as they receive treatment. Please allow us to create a schedule that fits your unique needs and goals for recovery. Learn more by calling us today at (888) 830-8374.

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