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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Benefits of Virtual IOP in Addiction Treatment

In the last ten years, we’ve seen a massive shift in our world towards the virtual. In this last year alone, this process was accelerated, and our lives have turned online in more ways than any of us might have imagined. Out of necessity, technology has become the platform where we work, play, learn, exercise, and socialize.

Technology for Recovery

As our solution for safety during this pandemic, for many, technology has risen to become our sole source of entertainment, only means of connecting with others that live outside our home, and for those in recovery, it has become our lifeline. 

In the past, treatment was limited by what could be accomplished within the four walls of the program, whether you had to drive across town or fly across the country to access its specialized care.

Today, there exist many creative ways to receive the support that you need, no matter where you are on the recovery journey

Virtual IOP

Where online 12-step and alternative meetings have been increasing in popularity over the years, and traditional outpatient therapy has been moving in a similar direction, the most apparent newcomer on the virtual scene is Intensive Outpatient (IOP) treatment offered online.

Intensive outpatient treatment exists on the continuum of addiction treatment services as the middle ground between live-in residential treatment and traditional once or twice-weekly outpatient therapy. Typically this means anywhere from 9-12 hours of “programming” a week, including group, individual, and family sessions. 

3 Benefits of Virtual Intensive Outpatient Treatment

There are many benefits to providing treatment in this format, and with the added ability to access services online, (and insurance providers agreeing to cover services) it has never been easier to get the help that you need. 

Some important things to consider:

  1. IOP Gives You the Structure You Need

In addiction treatment, IOP works best for those who have successfully completed a higher level of care and are transitioning back to their family environment, or for those who require more structure than what traditional outpatient can provide. 

Although it may sound idyllic to graduate from a residential or PHP program and move directly to once or twice-weekly sessions, it’s important to be realistic about the support and structure that you may actually need at this vulnerable stage in your recovery. 

While you may have been able to be successful in higher levels of treatment, it’s important to consider the supports you had in place to make that possible, and the isolated nature of a live-in program, away from many of your specific triggers. 

Returning to your family and community environment comes with many challenges, however, they can be successfully navigated when you have the right support system set up. 

  1. IOP is Flexible and Accessible

Even in-person IOP is praised for its ability to offer flexibility for those who need to continue to meet the demands of work, school, or other responsibilities. Similarly, virtual IOP follows in the same suit. 

With programming offered at convenient hours, and without having to travel across town, while in an IOP program, you are still able to maintain everyday routines and responsibilities that support your recovery in the long term. 

  1. IOP Offers Real-World Opportunities to Practice Skills

One of the greatest benefits of intensive outpatient treatment (in contrast with residential treatment) are the real-world opportunities to apply the skills learned in the program and to have timely feedback from clinicians. 

The best example of this is when you feel especially triggered one evening after a fight with a family member. Working with your therapist, or within your group, you can have the opportunity to process what happened during the argument, how you were able to manage your urges, and how you might choose to respond differently in the future. 

Having this chance to talk through what happened with others in your recovery community soon after it occurs is important so that these experiences can be used for growth rather than contribute towards a relapse. Establishing this sort of practice is especially important when considering your long-term recovery needs, and the initial process of building a solid foundation.

Virtual IOP at The Haven

As the world progresses, it is important to have treatment options that are also reflective of those changes. Virtual IOP represents an important step in continuing to make treatment available despite the global challenges we face. 

The Haven is committed to continuing to provide treatment that meets your changing needs, whether that’s working, going to school, or adjusting to the new family structure required for homeschooling the kids. Speak with one of our admissions representatives to learn more about if IOP is the next right step for you!