Intensive Outpatient Therapy for Addiction: Does It Work?
Addiction is a multi-faceted disease that requires comprehensive treatment. Residential inpatient rehab is generally the preferred option among drug and alcohol addiction specialists. However, many substance abusers prefer to engage in outpatient treatments, which allow them to sleep in their own homes or continue to attend work or school. Questions arise, though, about how effective intensive outpatient therapy (IOP) is, especially in comparison with inpatient rehabilitation programs.
Intensive Outpatient Addiction Treatment: What Is It?
While medical detox from drugs or alcohol may take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, the addiction recovery process takes far longer and generally lasts months. Even then, former addicts must continually guard against relapse. While medical detox removes the addictive substance from the addict’s body, other therapies are required to help addicts battle the psychological and behavioral aspects of their addiction, which are invariably as strong as the physical addiction.
Intensive outpatient treatments provide recovering addicts with the support they need to ward off relapse, manage the triggers that lead them to drink or use drugs and provide them with strategies for coping with their lives without returning to substance abuse. Outpatient therapy does work, but it may not be right for everyone; some patients may require more extensive inpatient therapy before returning to their lives.
Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Therapy
For addicts with family responsibilities, a job, or school, outpatient therapy may be an ideal solution. Intensive outpatient therapy allows recovering addicts to maintain their commitments while still obtaining the alcohol and/or drug treatment their recovery process demands. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, outpatient models, such as intensive day treatment, can be comparable to residential programs in services and effectiveness, depending on the individual patient’s characteristics and needs. Many people are extremely pleased to engage in an effective addiction treatment plan that allows them to remain connected to the important aspects of their lives like caring for their children or earning an income.
“No one wants to let an addiction get in the way of their life. If you have had a short history of addiction, are at low risk for relapse and can be counted on to attend therapy sessions faithfully, then outpatient treatment might be the ideal path to a new and better life,” says David Dequa, Program Director at Discovery Transitions, a fully licensed IOP located in Los Angeles, California. “Addicts who fit this profile still need professional help, and they will benefit greatly from therapy sessions, but they are able to incorporate our outpatient treatment into the rest of their busy life and schedule. Outpatient rehab provides more freedom than inpatient treatment, but both types of rehab take addicts through a rigorous substance abuse program that teaches them how to live a sober life and avoid relapse.”
Another aspect that many recovering addicts like about intensive outpatient therapy is that they have an easier time keeping their condition a private matter. Not having to explain long absences is important for many people who don’t want to expose their health issues to acquaintances or neighbors.
Are There Drawbacks to Outpatient Addiction Therapies?
There are a few important considerations addicts need to keep in mind before opting for outpatient treatment over inpatient stays in drug rehab. Managing triggers is an essential component of recovery. If an addict cannot manage their triggers while recovering at home, relapse is a serious threat to the recovery process. Triggers might be anything from a difficult familial relationship (i.e. a troubled marriage) to negative emotions like fear or anger.
Therapy is designed to help patients identify and cope with these triggers, but some people may not be at a stage to effectively deal with triggers outside the rehab center. Remaining outside the addiction treatment center also allows the addict access to the addictive substance; if they are not yet ready to battle the temptation to use this substance, outpatient therapies may not be right for them in the early stages of their recovery.
If you or someone you love is battling addiction, intensive outpatient addiction treatment is an excellent solution. While it may not be the right choice for every addict, it might be the perfect option for you or your loved one.
Discovery Transitions in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, California, offers outpatient treatment programs for men and women seeking either to initiate or to continue recovery from alcoholism and/or drug addiction. Discovery Transitions utilizes a variety of treatment programs that allow each client to receive the individualized care they deserve.
The Southern California rehab center offers a range of outpatient drug treatment programs to help drug addicts and alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety. Each client at Discovery Transitions receives customized care to end their dependence on prescription drugs, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and other opiates and/or alcohol to live a clean and sober life.