An In-Depth Look at Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs
According to studies by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 10% of adults in the US deal with drug abuse problems at some point in their lives. Intensive outpatient treatment is a structured program that treats substance abuse and mental health disorders at home.
IOP treatments offer patients the benefits of a specialized treatment plan with the flexibility of living at home. With these treatments, the patient can recover with the support of family and friends.
These treatments offer more care than standard outpatient treatments. They combine several group and individual therapy sessions, family counseling, and multiple techniques to encourage commitment to the treatment plan.
This article will dig into the available IOP treatments and discuss their features. So, let’s dive in.
What is Intensive Outpatient Treatment?
Drug abuse rehab programs are classified into inpatient and outpatient programs. Inpatient treatments are intensive programs for serious drug abuse, mental disorders, and behavioral disorders. However, outpatient programs are less restrictive.
Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) are the most common type of treatment. PHP involves keeping patients at the hospital during the early stages of intervention and recovery. Then the patient is partially discharged to continue their treatment at home.
Key Features of Intensive Outpatient Treatments
Intensive outpatient treatments offer a structured setting that can help patients overcome their mental and drug abuse disorders with a more intensive treatment than regular outpatient treatments. However, therapy is restricted to several hours weekly, so patients can continue their regular affairs while receiving the best treatment possible.
Patients can go to work or school and then participate in a treatment meeting in the morning or at the end of the day. Yet, these part-time programs have proven to be effective while being flexible.
The program transfers patients between several levels of care as they get better. The care level is tailored to the patient’s needs with the support of family and friends. Yet, each program will cover the four objectives of a standard treatment plan. These include identifying the problem, creating goals, defining objectives to reach these goals, and finally, establishing interventions.
Classes, workshops, and meetings are organized throughout the day. Although patients can live their lives outside the treatment facility, they need to adhere to the program’s structure to follow the treatment plan.
Types of Addiction and Mental Health Issues Addressed in Intensive Outpatient Treatment
IOP treatment programs treat different types of drug abuse. They can also help treat depression, eating disorders, and other issues that don’t require around-the-clock supervision.
These treatments don’t require detoxification and can sometimes be combined with inpatient treatments (residential treatment). Different types of dependencies can be treated in an IOP treatment.
Structure and Components of Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs
The structures and components of intensive outpatient treatment programs differ according to the needs of every single patient. These treatment plans are made of the following intervention techniques.
- Group and individual counseling.
- Behavioral therapy treatments are tailored for groups and individuals.
- Continuous monitoring of addictive behavior or unhealthy practices, like monitoring alcohol levels and food intake.
- Educational sessions for family, friends, and support groups.
- Individual-based case management.
- Medical treatments.
- 24/7 crisis management.
Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Treatment
When weighing options between inpatient and outpatient treatments, you should understand what each one offers. Intensive outpatient treatments offer several benefits that make them appealing to many patients and their families.
Flexibility and Accessibility
IOP treatments provide the flexibility of outpatient treatments and traditional ones. Therapists and assisting staff can respond to each patient’s needs and provide them with personalized plans that they can carry at home with the help of friends and family and under the supervision of therapists and doctors.
These treatments can make recovery more accessible to those who don’t want to be hospitalized. They can still go to work and school while receiving the right treatment to help them recover.
Continuity of Care and Support
Care and support are provided through treatments at the facility, group therapy sessions, and family-supported activities. This allows patients to receive support 24/7, whether inside or outside the facility. Moreover, IOPs design special programs to follow up with recovering patients to protect them from the risk of relapse.
Affordability Compared to Other Treatment Options
IOPs are naturally less expensive because the person gets to live at home. It’s one of the reasons why people prefer these plans over other options. This affordability also encourages more patients to seek therapy.
Opportunities for Maintaining Daily Life Responsibilities
Many patients might postpone therapy because they have major responsibilities to take care of. IOPs allow them to go to work, earn money to support their families, finish their studies, take care of elderly family members, and attend to whatever daily tasks they have. At the same time, they receive personalized treatment to recover.
Components of Effective Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs
The effectiveness of IOPs depends on the efficiency of using the following components to design and implement a treatment plan.
EBT or evidence-based practice, also known as EBP, is any therapy that has shown to be effective in peer-reviewed experiments. The purpose of these therapies is to increase accountability and effectiveness of treatment plans.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Through talking and discussions, CBT can help you overcome several emotional and psychological problems by changing how you think about them. Therapists sit with patients to analyze their thoughts and actions. So, for example, in the case of an eating disorder, the main focus would be on how the patient practices self-evaluation based on their weight or looks.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This type of talking therapy is based on CBT, but it’s tailored for those who deal with intense emotions. It’s considered an evolving medical treatment that focuses on accepting situations, emotional regulations, and increasing distress tolerance.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
This is a goal-oriented guided communication style that targets building trust between two people. In this case, its primary purpose is to help the patient accept and trust their therapist.
Contingency Management (CM)
This behavior therapy involves rewarding patients who show evidence of positive behavior. It enforces a positive attitude and encourages people to commit to their treatment plans.
Group and Individual Counseling
Professionals and specialists arrange group sessions where patients share their feelings, struggles, and success stories. These sessions can positively impact those who struggle with substance abuse and eating disorders, as they can relate to others and feel understood.
At the same time, recovering patients attend one-to-one meetings that are individually tailored and adjusted to cater to their needs. During these meetings, patients discuss their recovery journey with the therapists, ask questions, and share their experiences. The sessions are confidential, as patients know they can trust their designated therapists.
Family Therapy and Support
The primary purpose of IOPs is to offer patients a rehabilitation opportunity without removing them from their comfortable environment. Family therapy can help their supportive family and friends deal with recovery challenges. Moreover, these sessions educate families about what patients are going through and how to help them.
Medication Management and Monitoring
The withdrawal symptoms of various substances can cause many physical and emotional symptoms. So, doctors will prescribe various medications to help recovering patients during their journey.
These medications will also help those who are battling eating disorders. In addition to relieving the annoying symptoms, these medications can also protect patience from the dangers of relapse.
Relapse Prevention and Aftercare Planning
This treatment helps patients get back to their lives after recovery. As soon as they’re discharged from the programs, specialists follow up with them to ensure they stay sober and healthy.
Who is a Good Candidate for Intensive Outpatient Treatment?
Although IOPs constantly provide patients with a real opportunity to beat their addictions, they’re not for everyone. So medical specialists consider several factors before recommending this treatment plan for their patients.
Assessing Individual Needs and Suitability
One of the benefits of Intensive Outpatient treatments is to offer patients an individualized and tailored recovery program to help them get better. So, there are a few factors that therapists and specialists will study before recommending this program.
- Patients have a strong support system at home.
- These people know they need help but don’t suffer from a severe issue.
- The patient is a parent of young children and can’t be absent for extended periods.
- They’re taking care of an elderly or disabled family member.
- This patient commits to school or work.
- They’re looking for an affordable treatment plan.
- They’ve already gone through intensive treatment but need support to prevent relapse.
Factors to Consider When Determining Candidacy
In addition to the previous factors that represent your personalized needs, the doctor should feel you’re a good candidate for this treatment. Here are some points to consider.
Severity of Addiction
People who suffer from severe addictions aren’t good candidates for IOPs. They might benefit from these treatments later, but at the beginning of their battle, they need close monitoring and follow-up, which can only be possible with inpatient treatments.
Co-occurring Mental Health Conditions
Co-occurring mental health conditions, co-occurring disorders, and other chronic health issues will be difficult to manage at home. Partial hospitalization might not offer these patients the best recovery opportunity, as they should be closely monitored.
Support Systems and Living Environment
The lack of a support system can negatively impact recovering patients. If the patient is living in a stressful environment, it might be why they suffer from substance abuse or an eating disorder. Then, it’s probably best to remove them from this living situation.
Previous Treatment Experiences
People who have gone through several treatment experiences might not be eligible for IOPs. They might be at a higher risk of relapse, so inpatient treatment would provide more benefits.
How to Choose the Right Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program
Intensive outpatient treatment programs are increasing in popularity. As a result, finding the right one can be challenging.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Program
There might be several facilities that offer a suitable treatment program. Here are some factors to consider before picking a treatment facility and its IOP.
Location and Accessibility
Since you’ll spend a significant time at the facility, you should pick one close to where you live. It’ll also make it easier for your family and friends as they have to attend family support sessions.
Program Duration and Intensity
Not all programs are created equal, so the program’s durability and intensity will differ from one facility to another.
Specialized Services and Treatment Approaches
There are various approaches to treating addictions, eating disorders, and mental health issues. So, you should study various approaches and services and choose the most suitable one.
Cost and Insurance Coverage
You might not be able to afford all treatment options. So, you should pick one covered by your insurance and suitable for your financial obligations.
Researching and Comparing Different Programs
You should contact your therapist and discuss all treatment options available. Study the available options and compare the services and programs offered to pick the right one for you.
Seeking Guidance From Healthcare Professionals and Support Groups
Contacting support groups and healthcare professionals will help you learn more about the available treatments in your area.
Transitioning to and from Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Intensive outpatient treatments represent a stage in your recovery journey. During this journey, you might have to transition in and out of an IOP until you completely recover.
Moving From Residential or Inpatient Treatment to Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Deciding to receive treatment for an addiction or eating disorder is only the beginning. Sometimes, you’ll have to transition between an inpatient and intensive outpatient treatment.
After passing through the first treatment plan, patients can be partially discharged if they can receive support at home.
Transitioning From Intensive Outpatient Treatment to Standard Outpatient Care
Intensive outpatient treatment sessions take more time than the sessions offered at a standard one. So, patients can move to standard outpatient care when they get better.
Incorporating Aftercare Planning and Long-Term Support
Studies show that 40% to 60% of addicts will experience a relapse at least once. Aftercare planning and long-term support through recurring sessions and family support sessions will keep patients on the right track.
Measuring the Effectiveness of Intensive Outpatient Treatment
IOPs are effective at treating various addiction and mental health issues. Several tools measure the effectiveness of these programs.
Research Findings on Intensive Outpatient Treatment Outcomes
Studies show that the average success rate of IOPs is between 50% and 75%. These results differ from one disorder to another. For example, patients who struggle with alcohol abuse achieve better results with inpatient treatments.
Key Indicators of Program Success
Intensive outpatient services represent the second level after early intervention services and standard outpatient services. Success indicators include relapse rates after being discharged.
Although these rates can be as high as 59% a week after being discharged from inpatient treatment for opiate abusers, they’re significantly lower in intensive outpatient treatments.
In the second case, these patients continue to receive treatments at their homes. Other indicators include the recurrence of mental and physical symptoms.
The Importance of Continuous Program Evaluation and Improvement
Recovery is an ongoing journey, and receiving treatment is only the beginning. After leaving the supportive environment at the treatment facility, patients should receive continuous support and monitoring to help them stay sober and committed to a healthy lifestyle.
The continuous evaluation of a treatment program will help highlight all the weak points, so patients can receive the best treatment possible.
An intensive outpatient treatment program provides patients who suffer from mental health issues, mental disorders, and substance abuse issues with an opportunity to recover. Instead of spending all their time at a treatment facility, patients can spend time with their families. They can carry out their daily tasks and responsibilities through a tailored program that includes individual and group therapy, medical supervision, and family support.
It’s possible to lead a normal life as a battling addict, and you can fully recover to lead a healthy lifestyle. With a continuous commitment to your support program, you’ll enjoy a happy life. Yet, there’s always an opportunity for ongoing research and development of various treatment options to successfully treat more patients.