When Intensive Outpatient Rehab Program Is the Best Option

intensive care

Substance abuse has reached critical levels in America, with people of all age groups, income brackets, ethnicities and demographics feeling the effects of drug abuse at some point in their lives.

Because this is an issue that has dramatically increased in the past two decades, millennials are particularly aware of the potential damage drug abuse can cause psychologically, physically and emotionally. Nevertheless, this increased awareness among the younger generation also exposes them to greater risk of developing problems with substance abuse themselves.

Finding appropriate treatment options can be challenging, particularly for younger people struggling with drugs, particularly if they are still in formal education. However, there are new forms of treatment available in intensive outpatient programs, also known as IOPs, which offer this generation the best chances of overcoming substance abuse.

What Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)?

Drug addiction is particularly complex because of the damage they do to the brain’s chemical functions. In most cases, sufferers are recommended to attend a residential program but they don’t always offer the best option for someone with substance use disorder.

Intensive outpatient therapy offers a more concentrated treatment than traditional outpatient programs, making it particularly effective for people with more severe forms of the illness.

Individuals are able to choose if they want to enter intensive outpatient treatment after detox or as a primary form of care. Others may use intensive outpatient therapy as aftercare once they’ve completed residential rehab to assist them in the transition from inpatient treatment and into recovery at home.

How Does IOP Treatment Work?

Intensive outpatient programs work in a different way to traditional residential rehab. The main difference is that patients aren’t required to live in the treatment center while they complete a program. IOPs typically enable patients to return home after they’ve attended sessions, which usually last anything from two to four hours each day for around three days per week.

The objective of intensive outpatient therapy is to educate patients with substance use disorder on how they can attain a fulfilling drug-free lifestyle. Intensive outpatient therapy often involves holistic practices such as yoga and meditation as coping mechanisms to protect IOP patients from relapsing, alongside traditional evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT.

Why Are IOPs Good for Millennials?

The younger generation has grown up in the digital age which has brought us all much more flexibility into our lives. Many millennials struggling with substance abuse find the concept of attending residential treatment too restrictive, making them wary of reaching out for help. Although most inpatient treatment centers are entirely focused on patient comfort, many younger people still feel “caged” by the structure of residential rehab.

IOPs are a good fit for millennials as they are able to fit treatment in as and when they need it. There is no loss in the quality of care delivered as an intensive outpatient as the therapies offered generally mirror those used in residential treatment.

One particular aspect of intensive outpatient care that is particularly effective when delivered in a flexible framework is individual, group and family therapy. IOPs allow patients to contact therapists immediately if they urgently need support in real-life situations and this help is extended to their families and friends.

The millennial generation is very socially motivated and because patients are required to cut themselves off from others when they enter residential rehab, they can easily feel isolated. The advantage of IOPs for this generation is that patients are able to remain engaged in their daily lives and the people in them while receiving help to manage cravings and prevent relapse.

Other Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment

Many young people with problems with drugs are concerned about health insurance coverage when it comes to seeking help. Another reason intensive outpatient care is more suited to this generation is the fact that they are generally more flexible in terms of insurance than residential programs. For example, if someone has mild dependence and is at low risk of serious withdrawal, intensive outpatient care can offer them detox services that don’t require around-the-clock supervision.

However, depending on the substances abused and for how long, patients may be required to attend a specialist detox facility before being able to start an intensive outpatient program. In the case of heroin, withdrawal, symptoms can be extremely severe, even life-threatening, and so medical supervision during detox is essential in order to manage them.

Specialized Treatment for Other Issues

There is a strong correlation between addiction and mental illness and it is not uncommon for people to suffer concurrent conditions. These patients are known as dual diagnosis and they require special treatment that addresses both health conditions separately, while at the same time. In nearly all dual diagnosis cases, there is an interplay between addiction and the concurrent mental illness that serves to create a vicious cycle of drug abuse.

Dual-diagnosis intensive outpatient treatment involves standard addiction treatment services in combination with mental health care. Intensive outpatient therapy for dual diagnosis cases works equally well for people who are returning home after rehab or as primary care as it teaches patients coping skills that help them manage cravings as well as symptoms of mental illness.

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