Anyone who is concerned about a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol will want to learn about the many benefits of participating in an Intensive Outpatient Program. Understanding the basics of IOP care can make the difference in convincing a loved one that they need treatment, and that it’s feasible for them to actually participate in treatment.
The Benefits of an Intensive Outpatient Program: Lower Costs
It will cost more to stay at a residential facility than to participate in an IOP. Residential treatment programs include room and board and maintain a full-time staff that is available 24 hours a day.
Because IOP participants are not sleeping overnight or relying on the facility for all their meals and other needs, treatment costs are significantly lower. Fewer resources are used in IOP care than in residential treatment programs.
Able to Continue Living at Home
The stability and comfort of living at home can be a major motivation for individuals to participate in an IOP instead of joining a residential facility. Individuals with addiction can still feel they are part of their community as they continue going to school or work.
For individuals who are the head of the household, IOP makes it possible to continue supporting the family with the fewest number of interruptions.
They can continue to work and perform the various tasks of daily living. For example, they are still able to run errands, drop kids off at school and pick them up before shopping for groceries. This can help ground individuals as they continue with their treatment program. They also have an opportunity to implement what they are learning in treatment to their daily routines.
Maintain a Presence at Work or School
For some individuals, it may not be feasible or appropriate to take time off from work or to leave school during the middle of a semester.
IOP care is ideal in such cases because clients don’t have to worry about losing income or having to repeat coursework. Being able to continue going to work or school on a regular basis can help individuals remain stable as they focus on their recovery efforts.
They will also have the peace of mind that comes from knowing they can still provide for their families or improve their education as they address their substance abuse issues.
Many individuals prefer to go through an IOP because it lets them take advantage of the support structure waiting for them at home. They have friends and family who care about them and want to help them succeed.
Participating in IOP care also gives people the opportunity to maintain ties with their religious organizations and other groups that provide them with encouragement, friendship, love, and support, which can result in enormous benefits to those in recovery.
Why IOP Is Important: Recognizing the Dangers of Substance Abuse
Illegal use of drugs has been growing in the United States. Approximately 23.9 million Americans ages 12 and up (9.2 percent of the U.S. population) have used illegal drugs or abused prescription drugs such as tranquilizers, stimulants and pain medications in the last month, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Unfortunately, there is a “treatment gap” in this country for individuals who abuse substances. While an estimated 23.1 million people require treatment for drug or alcohol-related problems (about 8.9 percent of the total population), only about 2.5 million, or 1 percent of the total population, have arranged for treatment at a facility, notes NIDA.
One key method for reducing this gap is to get the word out about the types of treatment available for individuals who are ready to recover, as well as to inform the people who are close to them and want to help them in their journey to recovery.
There are many dangers associated with substance abuse, making it crucial for individuals with addiction to recognize they need help and seek out treatment.
Individuals who are abusing drugs may:
Lose their jobs
Separate from their family
Wind up in jail
It should be noted that military veterans are at a heightened risk for addiction, with approximately 21 percent of veterans in substance abuse treatment being homeless, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA.
Overdose and Self Harm
The threat of overdosing on drugs is a constant possibility, with patients potentially becoming injured or dying. In fact, the leading cause of injury death is drug overdoses, noted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reported that 105 people die from a drug overdose every day in the United States and that an additional 6,748 go to emergency departments each day for abuse or misuse of drugs.
In one year, drug abuse and misuse resulted in approximately 2.5 million visits to the emergency room, and pharmaceutical abuse was attributed to more than 1.4 million of these incidents, the CDC reported.
The statistics for women are especially troublesome. “Every 3 minutes, a woman goes to the emergency department for prescription painkiller misuse or abuse,” noted the CDC. “Women between the ages of 25 and 54 are most likely to go to the emergency department because of prescription painkiller misuse or abuse.”
Of particular concern for individuals involved in drug abuse is the issue of self-harm. One out of 11 people using illicit drugs during the past year has had serious thoughts of suicide, according to SAMHSA.
These sobering statistics regarding the dangers of substance abuse highlight the importance that individuals with addictions seek recovery. Concerned coworkers, neighbors, friends, and family will want to gather as much information as they can to help support their case when they offer support to an individual who needs to seek treatment.
Options for Treatment
When an individual with addiction has made the decision to seek treatment, it’s important to consider what options are available.
Family members, friends, and coworkers might think that the next step will always be to check in to an inpatient facility, assuming immediate hospitalization and rapid detoxification is required. However, other treatment options are available.
For many people, Intensive Outpatient Program care can be more suitable than participating in an inpatient program. It’s important to recognize that outpatient care may not be suitable for individuals who have a chronic history of drug abuse and who need a higher level of supervision. A qualified medical professional will need to make such an assessment.
Intensive Outpatient Program or IOP care is designed to let individuals continue living at home instead of checking in to an inpatient program. After a staff assessment and a thorough evaluation, clients typically will attend an IOP facility on a regular basis, such as three times per week, to participate in group therapy or individual therapy.
The goals of IOP are based on the premise that everyone has the capability to get better with the assistance of an addiction treatment center.
Individuals who have made the decision to seek treatment may find it more beneficial to live at home and continue with work, school, and other activities instead of living at an inpatient facility. They would prefer to remain in daily contact with their family and friends and have the ability to continue with their daily activities in the community.
IOP care facilities typically offer day and evening programs. Sessions may be lengthy at first, with individuals spending several hours each day at the facility as many as four or five times per week. As the program continues, individuals will often reduce their participation in phases.
Program duration is variable, but individuals can expect IOP care to last for at least a month or two, depending on the facility’s offered programs and the particular needs of the client. Options for aftercare will ensure that individuals will continue on their path to recovery when they are no longer participating in IOP care.
Activities in IOP Care
Individuals will have an opportunity to participate in a variety of activities as they go through the treatment process in IOP care.
At the heart of the IOP care experience is group therapy, in which the clients at a facility gather to discuss their issues in the presence of an addiction counselor. Individuals will learn how to maintain a healthier lifestyle without abusing substances. They have a safe and supportive environment to discuss their issues.
Of particular importance is making honest self-disclosures to the group. People suffering from addiction should share insights about their motivations to use drugs and about the circumstances under which they began abusing substances. It’s part of the process of becoming more self-aware, which is essential for recovery.
What’s more, by participating in group therapy sessions, individuals will see that they are not alone with their addiction and can benefit from hearing about the experiences of their peers.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT focuses on helping individuals develop new ways of thinking to help them refrain from engaging in negative activities, such as abusing drugs.
With CBT, individuals gain a better understanding of how their emotions and thoughts play a role in their choices to engage in dangerous behaviors. They can learn to better manage negative emotions and divert their energies to more appropriate and life-sustaining activities.
Clients often find it useful to initially go through individual therapy so they can focus more attention on their particular situation and needs.
The counselor is able to devote all of his or her attention to a single person, which allows for more in-depth discussions and individualized care. After resolving obstacles and barriers to recovery in individual therapy, the client can spend more time in group sessions.
Clients typically have opportunities to take workshops to support their efforts to remain sober long-term. They’ll attend lectures that help them gain a better understanding of addiction.
Of particular importance are workshops in which individuals with addiction learn how to prevent relapses. They will discover the benefits of learning new coping skills, which will help them whenever they run into old negative patterns or if they are ever tempted to use substances in the future.
In the safe environment of a treatment facility, individuals can practice what they will say and do whenever they are confronted with the temptation to relapse. For example, they can politely (or firmly) refuse offers of substances.
It’s prudent to learn how to avoid getting into situations where drugs or alcohol are being used, such as by avoiding going to parties and other social events and refraining from spending time with people who are still abusing drugs or who sell drugs.
In a workshop, counselors explain to individuals how to come up with replace old behaviors or activities to prevent relapse.
It’s important to develop good coping skills when entering recovery, and the experts running the IOP will ensure that the individual will learn these techniques during their participation in the program.
Other workshops are designed to help individuals get in touch with their emotions. Art therapy exercises and other creative activities are powerful methods to help individuals gain a better understanding of themselves and what role addiction has played in their lives.
Some programs offer experiential therapy and recreational therapy as part of the recovery process, with individuals going on nature hikes, doing yoga or other exercises, and performing community service.
Another benefit of IOP is the emphasis on setting goals to establish a new life of sobriety. As individuals take a good look at themselves and the life they’ve been leading, they determine what steps they will need to take to keep them safe and healthy post-treatment.
Thinking about their goals is one thing. The IOP counselors and staff have experience in helping individuals come up with a set of goals so they will feel more empowered.
Writing down goals and coming up with a plan to meet them will provide a measure of accountability for people suffering from addiction.
Part of establishing accountability in the recovery process is the use of periodic drug testing. Individuals undergoing IOP care will know that they may be tested randomly at a moment’s notice, and this can be a powerful motivation to avoid using substances.
In many cases, family members will have an opportunity to get involved in IOP, usually by visiting the facility to lend moral support and by participating in group therapy sessions. Family involvement can play a huge role in helping an individual recover from substance abuse.
When family members see the progress an individual is making during recovery, it can go a long way toward improving their morale during a difficult situation. The person going through treatment in an IOP will benefit by the encouragement offered by close family members who come to visit. Transitioning out of an Intensive Outpatient Program What happens when the IOP
The staff at the facility offering IOP care will be constantly assessing each individual as he or she progresses through the treatment program. They have the experience and knowledge to help determine when it is appropriate to begin scaling back on therapeutic activities.
As participants become more confident in their recovery, they gradually reduce the amount of participation in IOP activities, such as by attending fewer group therapy sessions or arranging to take fewer individual counseling sessions.
They will also learn about joining a 12-step program, if they haven’t already begun one during the IOP. They can also find out about getting assistance on an as-needed basis from a spiritual counselor.
Individuals will benefit from aftercare by learning tools to remain focused on their recovery when they complete the IOP program. They will have the confidence, skills, and knowledge to remain sober on their own.