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What to Expect from a Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Program in North Carolina

Addiction is a serious condition that can cause you to experience substance abuse-related health conditions, social isolation, increased mental health issues, and even legal trouble. Because addiction can impact every area of your life, it’s important to seek professional treatment.

Many people who struggle with addiction also have a co-occurring mental health condition. According to the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly 9.2 million adults in the United States have a co-occurring disorder.[1]

Because it is so common to deal with co-occurring disorders, treatment programs often include dual diagnosis services to treat both substance use disorders and mental illnesses. At Next Step Recovery, we have an intensive treatment program called Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment (SACOT). SACOT includes a variety of services intended to help you overcome addiction and learn how to manage your mental health condition.

If you are considering attending a SACOT program in North Carolina, knowing what to expect can help you make your final decision.

What is a Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment  (SACOT) Program?

Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment (SACOT) programs are a form of treatment that can help you overcome your substance abuse and mental health issues simultaneously. When you struggle with co-occurring disorders, both conditions must be treated at the same time to achieve long-term recovery. If only one condition is addressed, the symptoms of the other could cause a relapse.

SACOT programs are intensive outpatient programs, which means patients return home after they attend their treatment sessions. Typically, patients commute to the facility 5 days a week to attend therapy, counseling, and other recovery services included in their individualized treatment plan.

Intensive outpatient programs can provide you with everything you need to achieve long-term sobriety. Studies have found that intensive outpatient programs like SACOT “are as effective as inpatient treatment for most individuals seeking care.”[2]

What to Expect During SACOT in North Carolina

If you are thinking of enrolling in a Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Program in North Carolina, you might be wondering what to expect. These programs include a combination of services to help you recover from mental illness and substance use disorders. With that being said, the services you receive will be completely dependent on your personal needs, ensuring that you only engage in techniques that are beneficial and relevant to you.

In-Depth Evaluations

When you arrive at a SACOT program, you will receive an in-depth initial assessment to determine your needs. This often includes getting information on your family, medical, psychiatric, and substance abuse history. Additionally, you may receive a mental health diagnosis to determine the best course of treatment for your psychiatric illness.

Your initial evaluation will allow the medical team to create an individualized treatment plan. Once you begin treatment, you will periodically receive additional assessments to track your progress and determine if your treatment plan needs to be tweaked to better fit your needs, as recovery is never linear.

Evidence-Based Behavioral Therapy

Part of your individualized treatment plan will include various forms of behavioral therapy. The therapy you engage in will be targeted to treat the specific issues you face, allowing you to address any issues that prevent you from achieving long-term recovery.

Many of these therapies help manage the symptoms of mental health conditions and learn how to overcome addiction and triggers for substance abuse.

Some of the evidence-based behavioral therapies you might participate in include:

12-Step Immersion

One of the most common techniques to help individuals overcome addiction are 12-step programs During SACOT programs in North Carolina, you will have the opportunity to be fully immersed in the 12 steps.

To explain, the 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are used in all 12-Step fellowships to provide individuals with a framework for sober living. The 12 steps help you connect to a higher power of your choosing, which allows you to trust in something greater than yourself to help you recover. People usually work the 12 steps with a therapist or a sponsor and attend 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Holistic Treatment

In addition to behavioral therapy, you have the option to engage in holistic treatment. Holistic treatments include beneficial activities like yoga, meditation, art, music therapy, and more. These activities help you recover mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, providing you with a “whole person” approach to co-occurring disorder treatment.

Aftercare Planning

Substance abuse comprehensive outpatient programs in North Carolina include aftercare planning. Aftercare planning helps you identify the tools and services that will allow you to maintain long-term sobriety outside of a treatment facility.

While outpatient programs like SACOT allow you to use your recovery tools at home and on the weekends outside of a facility, it can still be difficult to adjust to life without structured recovery programs. Aftercare plans give you an outline of everything you should continue doing to ensure that you do not relapse after you have completed treatment.

Aftercare plans may include:

  • Continued attendance at individual and group therapy sessions
  • Recommendations for sober support groups like AA or NA
  • Referrals to sober living housing programs if needed
  • A list of substance abuse triggers and healthy coping mechanisms to use
  • Continued medication management for mental health conditions if needed
  • Alumni support groups to help you connect with a recovery community

Get Connected With a Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Program in North Carolina

If you or a loved one struggle with addiction and a mental health condition, Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment programs in North Carolina can provide you with the tools and support you need to achieve long-term recovery.

To learn more about our reputable SACOT in North Carolina, contact Next Step Recovery today.


  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Co-Occurring Disorders and Other Health Conditions, Retrieved April 2023 from
  2. National Library of Medicine: Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Programs: Assessing the Evidence, Retrieved April 2023 from

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