Improving Intensive Outpatient Drug Rehab
It is clear that intensive outpatient drug rehab is an attractive option for clinicians and patients alike. For example, intensive outpatient drug rehab costs roughly half of traditional inpatient treatment and allows patients with financial limitations to obtain a longer course of treatment. Studies routinely show that drug addiction treatment is most effective when spread out over a longer period of time. At the beginning of any program patients must invest a disproportionate number of treatment hours into learning new behaviors, participating in group therapy and working on their relapse prevention strategies; patients attending traditional treatment programs many not have enough time to master these new skills before they need to return to the outside world. In intensive outpatient drug rehab, however, patients can continue to meet familial and work obligations while they are going through the recovery process.
Further, addiction professionals have found that the nature of intensive outpatient therapy (IOT) provides an opportunity for bonding among patients and increased opportunities to practice new behaviors and coping mechanisms in the outside world. Those who are in treatment have the opportunity to gauge their progress in utilizing relapse prevention techniques while there is still a support system in place to catch them if they fall. Further, addiction professionals are better able to help the patient create a strong social support system and can also intervene in problematic family relationships. Although IOT does not offer traditional rehab-style housing within the treatment facility, many programs will provide access to apartments or other private housing.
We know that intensive outpatient treatment works – success has been documented by empirical evidence. However, in order to ensure that this treatment model is embraced by patients, families and insurers, it is vital that all intensive outpatient programs acknowledge a few core principles.
Continuum of care continues to be the most cost-effective way to treat drug addiction. Continuum of care allows patients to receive the level of care they need, even as they transition through the cycle of recovery. True continuum of care calls for addiction treatment for as long as patient needs it.
It is also important to use a multidisciplinary approach when assessing and treating people who are addicted to drugs, as they typically have other, co-occurring, issues. Input and direction from expert mental health professionals across many fields is often essential for positive outcomes; a single patient many require multiple treatment modalities or techniques as they continue on the path to recovery.
Intensive outpatient drug rehab is most successful when specialists are willing to cross-train in different areas to ensure that treatment continues, even if a staff member is absent. Further, it is essential that professionals in the same program share similar treatment and recovery philosophies and keep up on the latest education and research.
When faced with a patient who has multiple mental illnesses, traditional drug rehabs would often treat the addiction and, once completed, refer the patient to a different professional. However, research has shown that it is important for each patient to receive integrated treatment for all existing and anticipated addiction and psychiatric problems. Therefore, case management is an essential part of any intensive outpatient drug rehab, especially when ensuring continuum of care and treatment integration.
IOT practitioners must always remember that each of her patients is different and no single care plan can be the most effective for all patients. Instead, patient treatment plans must be individualized, taking into account unique treatment goals, personality and case history. When drafting care plans for patients, addiction professionals must strive to use treatment interventions that have been proven effective in patients with similar characteristics.