Solving Addictions

Americans are dying every day from an overdose after misusing opioids. Addiction to these medications that are prescribed to relieve pain is a serious national crisis. Public health, as well as the economic and social welfare of people, is seriously affected. Fortunately, facilities offer an Altoona intensive outpatient program for patients struggling with opioid addiction.

Treatment in a safe, private and clinically supported environment can increase their chances of overcoming addiction before addiction overcomes their life.

Intensive outpatient treatment, or IOP, is a specialized recovery program that provides an intense level of care in a structured environment. The care received is more than a standard outpatient program, yet still accommodates a person’s home and work life responsibilities.

Treatment Goals for an IOP Program

IOP is not a live-in treatment program. However, patients are still required to make a major time commitment. Most programs offer meetings three days a week. Patients can stay at a facility for up to four hours or longer each day. Typically, days and hours are scheduled around school and work schedules.

A major focus during these times is on preventing relapse, but there are other goals patients work toward achieving. Treatment plans may vary, but most goals may include:

  • Addressing underlying issues that led to substance abuse
  • Identifying psychological problems
  • Implementing lifestyle changes
  • Making new and positive behavioral decisions
  • Learning coping strategies to avoid using again
  • Teaching new skills for solving problems
  • Introducing discipline and structure
  • Achieving and maintaining abstinence from drugs

Most IOP programs will also help patients develop a positive support network outside the clinic. Having and participating in community-based support systems can help patients grow stronger in their sobriety.

What to Expect During Treatment

During an IOP treatment program, patients are usually paired with a team of detox and rehabilitation specialists. A doctor, counselor, licensed psychologist and chemical dependency technician make up most teams. Daily meetings are filled with programming such as therapy in group and individual settings, educational lessons and psychotherapy.

Since intensive outpatient settings allow patients to attend treatment and continue living at home, they can implement recovery skills in real-time. They are able to process their experiences in a safe environment while establishing a substance-free life.

Primary services for IOP include:

  • Assessment and detox
  • sychotherap
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Educational sessions

A clinical assessment is necessary to first determine if a person is suitable for IOP. The person is counseled on the different treatment options that may fit their needs best. If it is determined that the person will benefit from medically supervised detox treatment, they will get referrals to suitable services if detox is not offered at the facility.

Psychotherapy sessions are also part of IOP. Individual counseling sessions help the person address immediate problems. Often, these issues are due to substance abuse. One-on-one counseling also addresses how to achieve and maintain abstinence.

The licensed counselor reviews treatment and coping techniques while encouraging the person to talk about issues they could not express during group therapy.

During group therapy, participants are encouraged to share personal experiences that can foster behavioral and emotional changes. Some intensive outpatient programs have community-based support meetings such as the widely known 12-step program.

Research supports involving family members in rehab treatment to improve chances of success. Family members also need counseling and information that teaches them to support their loved one in recovery.

Another important part of treating substance abuse often includes medication management and pharmacotherapy. Medications used as part of IOP target specific substance abuse disorders.

In educational sessions, patients examine, without judgment, ways in which their emotions, behaviors and thoughts contribute to or detract from a life of recovery. They receive information and instructions on topics relevant to their situation. They are provided with a better understanding of drug addiction and relapse prevention techniques.

The goal is to help recovering addicts understand root causes of their addiction and learn how to become part of a sober nation.

Finally, supportive services help patients with employment, legal and/or social challenges that could work against their progress. For example, some IOP programs address barriers to employment. These programs may also connect patients with services to overcome legal issues if they were arrested for drug use.

Continued Support after Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Typically, patients progressing successfully through the program will need less intense professional support. They will begin attending shorter sessions on fewer days each week. Known as the “step down” part of rehab, this phase occurs gradually and in line with recovering opioid users gaining better skills to continue a life free from addiction.

Before being fully released, most programs develop an aftercare plan to continue providing supportive care for a sober life.

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