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ASAM Level 2.1: Intensive Outpatient Services

A businesswoman leaves her home in the morning with a cup of coffee in her hand.
One of the benefits of intensive outpatient care is that it allows you to continue working while seeking treatment.


Addiction is defined as a loss of control over one’s drinking or drug use.

But within that definition, circumstances can be vastly different. Imagine a 25-year-old woman who starts taking painkillers after a dental procedure and—three weeks later—finds it difficult to stop. Now imagine that same woman five years later using heroin.

Obviously, the care she’d require at the start of her addiction journey would be different than the care she would require after years of using painkillers and heroin.

That’s where the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) levels of care come into play.

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ASAM Levels of Care

A collaboration began in the 1980s to establish one national set of guidelines for care in the treatment of addiction. The goal was to be able to provide individualized treatment to each person facing addiction.

The result is the ASAM Criteria, which consists of five broad levels of care, with 0.5 (early intervention) being the least intense and 4 (medically managed intensive inpatient services) being the most.

Today, we’re going to talk about level 2.1

ASAM Level 2.1

ASAM Level 2.1 is considered to be intensive outpatient services.

This level of care involves being treated for more than nine hours a week, usually before or after work and on weekends.

Addiction is not typically as simple as it may look to outsiders. Often, there is a co-occurring condition like depression or an anxiety disorder that makes someone more vulnerable to addiction. This level of care is capable of meeting the complex needs that many people bring to recovery.

One of the major benefits of this level of care is that it’s less expensive than inpatient care—and it also allows you to continue working or attending college while you get help.

Lastly, this kind of treatment differs from inpatient treatment in that it allows you to actually practice the new skills you’re learning as you go along.

If you find yourself struggling during the day, for example, you’ll have the opportunity to return to treatment that night and talk things over with your therapist or counselor.

Addiction Recovery at The Raleigh House

Rehab isn’t just about learning how to stay away from drugs or alcohol. It’s about learning how to live—and be happy, challenged and fulfilled—without drugs or alcohol. At The Raleigh House, based in Denver, we offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment to help you accomplish your goals. Not sure what’s right for you? Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the treatment programs at The Raleigh House.


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