Outpatient Programs (OP)

If you or one of your loved ones are dealing with addiction, it can be tough to navigate the situation and figure out how to get them the care they need. The goal is to make it so they can become as healthy as possible and return to their everyday life as seamlessly as possible.

If this is something that you’re looking into, you may have started looking into outpatient programs.

What Is An Outpatient Program?

If you’ve been researching this sort of thing for you or a loved one, you’ve likely come across the term – or even done further research into – outpatient programs.

As you may have already figured from the name, outpatient programs are different from inpatient programs. Inpatient programs require the patients receiving treatment to move into a facility. However, alternatively, outpatient programs allow patients to receive treatment while still staying at home and living their normal lives.

Just because they’re working to treat their addiction issues doesn’t mean they have to uproot their lives completely.

Some of them might have specific schedules that force patients to come in at preassigned times for their treatments when it comes to outpatient programs. Still, other programs will allow patients to make appointments and work within their schedules, especially when trying to navigate childcare issues and workplace timings.

One of the reasons outpatient programs are considered so popular when treating addictions is that outpatient programs are highly convenient for the patients and the patients’ loved ones.

Outpatient programs allow people to receive truly beneficial care when curbing their addictions while not having to move away from their homes or quit their jobs and avoid their responsibilities.

Not to mention that, since they can continue to exist in their regular life, no one has to know that they’re treating an addiction, which can help prevent them from feeling stigmatized or othered – as many people feel when they’re put into inpatient programs.

The Difference Between IOP and OP

During your research, another term you may have come across is that of IOP or intensive outpatient programs. Both IOPs and OPs allow the patient to continue in their everyday life without moving into an inpatient facility.

But what is the difference between the two?

As you may have gathered from their titles, the intensive outpatient programs tend to be more . . . well . . . intensive than the standard outpatient programs. This shows up in a few ways, although the differences between IOPs and OPs tend to be pretty minor.

Some of the differences you might find between IOPs and OPs are:

  • IOPs will push patients to have treatment for 3 to 5 days a week and to make sure that each of their treatment sessions is between 4 to 6 hours long. OPs will require patients to have treatment for about half that timeframe each week.
  • Although both IOPs and OPs require the patients to go through group therapy, IOPs will likely have the patient sit through more sessions than in an OP.

What To Expect At An Outpatient Program?

When it comes to outpatient programs, you’ll mainly experience therapy sessions and coaching through mindfulness activities as prompted by dialectical behavioral therapy (a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy meant to help patients focus on the here and now rather than the past).

However, despite these main experiences, there still are three main types of outpatient services that you or your loved ones will have to choose between. These differences largely depend on what the addiction is, where they are in their recovery, and how severe their addiction is.

Day Programs

These programs have some of the best chances of success for the patient regarding outpatient programs. This is because they tend to have much higher levels of care and a more rigid structure to provide the best environment for a patient to heal.

Day programs recommend that clients meet at the facility nearly every day for a few hours to go through counseling, therapy, get their bodies tested to see how they’re reacting to the treatment, and other things that might help the patient on the road to recovery. Then, after doing all these activities, the patient will go home.

The one downside of day programs is that because they are so intensive, it can still be hard to maintain a normal life and a regular job while receiving treatment.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

​​As mentioned, another option for outpatient programs is Intensive Outpatient Programs, or (IOPs). These programs strive to establish curated plans for each patient so that they can see how they’re progressing towards specific indicator goals. Once goals start to be met, the amount of intensity that the program requires from the patient will begin to lessen.

Continuing Care

This is one you may not have encountered yet (named like this, at least). Still, continuing care groups are the ones you might be more familiar with, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

Continuing care groups are the ones that will provide additional support and resources to those patients who are striving to remain on the road to recovery and to commit to staying sober. Being with others in a weekly group setting will help keep them accountable, and these groups also tend to require that each person still meets with a therapist to help them stay on the right track.

Choosing the Right Outpatient Program

When choosing the right outpatient program for you or a loved one, you need to make sure that you’re doing proper research. First, pick a number of them that give you good feelings, and then dig deep until you find more information about their reviews and how other patients feel about them.

You don’t want you or a loved one to end up in a terrible program because you didn’t take the time to research more. So make sure to do your work and ultimately go with the program that seems like it’ll be the most beneficial.

Get Started At North Star Treatment Services

If you are looking into these services for either you or your loved ones, you should consider looking into North Star Treatment.

Here at North Star, we have a well-established and outstanding team to help you or your loved ones to help make sure that they’ll stay on the road to recovery and sobriety.

Keep health and safety at the forefront of your choice, and free yourself of worry when working with us at North Star.