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Outpatient vs Intensive Outpatient Programs: What’s Best for Me?

Outpatient vs Intensive Outpatient Programs: What’s Best for Me?

intensive outpatient programs

About 51.5 million American adults or one in five live with some level of mental illness. This includes behavioral, mental, or emotional disorders. The life impact can range from no impairment to severe life-impacting disorders.

Treatment options include inpatient, partial inpatient, outpatient, and intensive outpatient programs. Each level of care is tailored to meet the client’s needs. Keep reading to learn more about outpatient options.

2020’s Impact on America’s Mental Health

The Mental Health Association screened 1.5 million Americans between January and September 2020. They report that over eight in ten people had moderate to severe anxiety symptoms. The same was true for consistent depression since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

Over 178,000 participants reported frequent suicidal thoughts. In September 2020, 37 percent of people said they thought about suicide more than half of almost every day. Isolation and loneliness rated among the top three contributing factors.

Individuals ages 11 to 17 are also affected by the pandemic. Adolescents, especially LGBTQ+, represent a higher than average risk group.

They had higher rates of moderate to severe anxiety and depression. In September 2020, over half of the adolescents reported self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

What to Expect from Outpatient Programs

Some individuals need initial inpatient treatment and then may move to outpatient. Other patient’s needs can be met in outpatient settings. The goal of outpatient care is to teach coping strategies to manage stressors.

Outpatient services may range from short-term counseling to a long-term treatment plan. Care can include individual counseling, group therapy, and/or psychiatric services. Some situations require medical consultations and medication management.

Advantages of outpatient care include lower costs and increased flexibility. This provides the help needed while still working and engaging with friends and family. Participants may attend sessions once or twice a week.

Outpatient therapy patients must have the ability to function without constant support. Often, they continue to live in a stress-inducing environment. Thus, therapy focuses on developing positive coping techniques.

Individuals with addiction disorders may benefit from inpatient and outpatient care. Deciding on the best treatment plan depends on several factors. These include mental health diagnosis, history of relapses, and their desire to change.

At times, the decision focuses on the patient’s safety and wellbeing. If the environment is unhealthy or unsafe, inpatient care may be the best choice. Most inpatient care plans transition to some type of outpatient care to provide ongoing support.

What Do Intensive Outpatient Programs Involve?

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) involve a higher level of care. It’s an intermediary between inpatient and traditional outpatient treatment. Participants often attend sessions three to five times each week.

It’s common for treatment to last about three hours. IOP often involves participation for several months. Intensive outpatient treatment services may include the following components.

Accept Responsibility

Therapists will discuss and encourage you to take responsibility for program participation. If the individual isn’t invested in making a positive change, the program won’t work. Part of the counselor’s role is to help you achieve personal accountability.

Drug Testing

Many mental health disorders include drug and alcohol use as a method for coping. Thus, IOP programs routinely conduct unannounced drug testing.

When you get to your appointment, you’ll be asked to undergo the test. Depending on your situation, you may or may not have to comply.

Individual Therapy

Part of the program plan involves one-on-one counseling. This provides a private time to discuss your thoughts, worries, and feelings.

The therapist helps you identify things that trigger these responses. The next step is to work on finding ways to recognize and respond to these triggers in a healthy way.

Learn About Your Disorder

Learning about your disorder, such as depression, addiction, or anxiety is often helpful. This helps you understand why you feel or behave the way you do.

The counselor will also discuss and model positive social behaviors. This may include role-playing and behavioral reversal to help you practice new strategies.

You’ll receive positive reinforcement and corrective feedback. Sometimes, the therapist may give you “homework”. This gives you time between sessions to think about your feelings and work on behaviors.

Many times, a person’s emotional or physical responses have become habits. The counselor can help you see this. Then you can focus on creating healthier habits.

Interaction with Peers

Most IOP programs include group therapy sessions. This may include other individuals with similar mental health problems. Members share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

A counselor facilitates these meetings to provide guidance and feedback. Many people feel a sense of relief when they learn that they aren’t alone. Positive group interaction provides encouragement and support for achieving your goals.

Transition Steps

Many IOP participants have undergone inpatient treatment. For example, they may have completed a drug addiction program. When leaving this level of care, it’s important to have ongoing support.

When re-entering daily life, many people are met with the stressors that led to their problems. Without a solid support program, it’s easy to fall back into old habits and end up where you started.

IOP programs provide a step-down level of care. After completing IOP, many individuals move to outpatient counseling. This allows them to spend more time in their daily routine, but have routine check-ins.

Often, people achieve mental health by participating in therapy or support groups long-term.

Are You Looking for the Best Outpatient Program?

The key to successful mental health treatment is finding the right program. At Sober Life Treatment Center San Diego, we’re ready to meet your needs.

Our programs include partial hospital, intensive outpatient, and outpatient programs. We offer drug and alcohol addiction, mental health, and adolescent treatment.

We understand the need for mental health services during today’s ongoing crises. You’ll receive a psychiatric evaluation and medication management as needed. Our programs include individual and group therapy as well as case management.

Contact us today to learn more about our treatment plans and schedule a free consultation.

The Healing Benefits of Attending a Virtual Outpatient Program

The Healing Benefits of Attending a Virtual Outpatient Program

outpatient program

The ongoing pandemic has taken many lives in more ways than one. There are those who unfortunately succumbed to the infection. There are also those who have had to cope with immeasurable feelings of loneliness, loss, anxiety, and more.

In fact, the last year saw an increase in deaths by overdose.

If you or someone you know is living with a substance abuse disorder, it is completely understandable why this would be a particularly difficult time for you. However, do remember that even during these trying times, you can reach out. You can access a virtual outpatient program, if not a regular one.

This article outlines why anyone dealing with a substance abuse disorder should consider signing up for one.

Let’s start off by learning what a virtual outpatient program actually is.

What Makes Virtual Outpatient Programs Different?

A typical virtual outpatient program gives you access to mental health professionals. This happens via an online platform. You get personalized care online, at a schedule that’s convenient to you.

Generally, you would have to sign up through a reliable rehabilitation center and set up a plan that works specifically for you. These programs can be incredibly effective in treating patients who require consistent care and individualized attention.

These programs come with the same benefits as a normal outpatient program. The singular difference is the medium through which they are conducted. Additionally, there is a certain flexibility that comes with virtual programs.

Accessibility and Convenience

One of the major obstacles that prevent individuals from seeking out treatment is the lack of accessibility. For some, the disruption it causes to their regular way of life is also a factor.

However, virtual outpatient programs are easily accessible to anyone who needs them. All you need is a stable internet connection, a quiet room, a microphone, and a camera.

Additionally, there is also a certain element of convenience and flexibility that comes with online programs. For one, most virtual outpatient programs allow you to customize your schedule. This means you can choose the dates and hours that are convenient for you.

Simultaneously, you also have the freedom to pursue a fairly normal lifestyle on other days within the comfort of your own home. This is especially beneficial for anyone who finds it hard to adapt to new places and new people.

You do not have to uproot yourself from your current lifestyle. Rather you can seek to include therapy as a regular part of your routine and make progress a part of your day.

Virtual Contact in the Time of Social Distancing

Many of us find ourselves feeling lonely and vulnerable during this time of social distancing and physical space. Not everyone has friends or loved ones to lean on during these trying times. This can be especially difficult for someone who also lives with a substance abuse disorder.

You get a regular dose of virtual contact with other individuals who are perhaps experiencing similar struggles. This can be a great way to get some human contact for those who do not otherwise have access to it.

At the same time, the consistent care and support from counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other qualified mental health professionals can serve as an excellent support system for anyone who is finding it hard to be consistent or motivated during recovery.

An Inexpensive Treatment Option

You would be in the comfort of your own home. Hence, your hours of contact are significantly lower than they would be in a regular outpatient program, you can expect a much lower cost with VOPs.

If you are someone who has always found the treatment to be unaffordable and inaccessible, know that virtual outpatient programs are far cheaper.

However, do not mistake this for a more ineffective method of treatment. Both types of outpatient programs have their unique perks. The processes and principles followed are generally similar.

With the right rehabilitation center, you will definitely get quality treatment via an online platform.

Make Progress at Your Own Pace

Not everyone likes physical contact. Some of us, and often younger patients, prefer virtual interactions to physical ones. This can especially be true (although not necessarily so) of those also living with social phobias and anxieties.

Virtual outpatient programs allow you to make progress at your own pace. You do not have to worry about the pressures of being restricted to a specific space or time frame.

Your space is your own, your timings are customized and you can take your time to make slow, but steady progress throughout. Simultaneously you have the freedom to pursue your own interests outside of therapy.

For some, the stigma surrounding those in recovery can also weigh in as a factor that prevents accessing treatment. These programs allow you to seek treatment discreetly.

Take the First Step to Recovery

A virtual outpatient program allows you to get consistent and personalized care while in the comfort of your own home. Not only are these programs more flexible, with more room for personalization, but they are also relatively inexpensive. They are more accessible, convenient, and for some people, even more, effective than regular programs.

If you or someone you know is living with a substance abuse disorder, know that you can always reach out to receive the kind of compassionate care you deserve.

At Sober Life Recovery Solutions we offer virtual outpatient programs that you can customize to your specific mental health needs and your schedule. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our services or set up a consultation with our qualified mental health professionals.

How to Repair and Rebuild Broken Relationships After Addiction

How to Repair and Rebuild Broken Relationships After Addiction

broken relationships

Did you know that only 10 percent of people living with addiction get the treatment they need for recovery?

This is unfortunate because addiction can in fact be treated, and those with substance use disorders have made incredible progress in rehabilitation programs. No matter how things seem like now, there is a way to move beyond your addiction, address your broken relationships, and come out the other side a little bit stronger and wiser than you were before.

While addiction recovery is all about mending the relationship you have with yourself, there comes a time when you will want to make amends with those around you.

This article addresses some of the most important things you need to keep in mind while doing the latter.

Let’s get started.

1. Patience Is Key

The desire to fix things overnight is a very human one. However, giving things time to fix themselves will serve you a lot better in the long term.

Be patient with your friends and loved ones, and be patient with yourself. There is no rush to the finish line. Getting sober takes time, and so does fixing relationships.

Some people will have a hard time accepting or understanding that you’ve changed. While this can be frustrating, know that it is only through time that you will be able to rebuild their trust for you again.

2. Honest Communication

There is nothing more important in a relationship than honest, open, and transparent communication. If you want to fix broken relationships it is important that you express your thoughts, actions, and intentions in a manner that is direct and honest.

Take your time to iron out your thoughts, be honest with yourself about your role in the relationship, and ask yourself if you have it in you to do your part this time.

It is also important to figure out what you are comfortable disclosing and what you aren’t. While honesty is important, it is not necessary for you to divulge details that you would be uncomfortable sharing. Simply be honest about what you are willing to disclose and what you aren’t.

Work on your social skills, take accountability for your actions in the past, talk about how you feel today and how far you’ve come, and be open about what you would like in the future. However, do be sure to take your time to listen to the other person with an open mind, and hear what they have to say.

3. Take the First Step Towards Making Amends

We all make mistakes sometimes. The true test of a relationship is our ability to make amends, seek out forgiveness and handle conflict effectively.

No one is at their best when they are going through a difficult time. However, during the course of your recovery, when you have made sufficient progress, you can begin to take the first steps towards making amends with your loved ones.

Reach out to them, offer a sincere apology, and express your desire to make things right. While everyone may not respond to this well, or even at all, know that you are doing your part.

4. Acceptance and Expectations

Know that if you do not feel up to rebuilding the relationship, you do not have to. Sometimes, simply making amends is enough to move beyond the ill will, find some sense of civility and then, simply move on.

Of course, do be sure to set the right boundaries with those who may not be as understanding as others. Not every broken relationship is worth fixing.

Not everyone will want or accept you back into their lives. Learning to accept that this is a decision that they’ve made will help you find your peace.

5. Initiating Contact

It might seem daunting to talk to loved ones you’ve hurt in the past. Do they want to hear from you, after the last time? Will they be understanding and empathic towards what you have to say?

The key here is to focus not on what their reactions will be, but on your actions. If you truly believe that there is a relationship worth fixing, and you are sincere in your attempt to fix it, that is all that should matter.

It is quite likely that they are too afraid or unsure whether you want to hear from them as well. Take the first step, reach out, start a conversation and let them know that you do care.

6. Living in the Moment

Your past actions do not have to define who you are today. Mistakes, arguments, and conflict are an inevitable part of all relationships. Getting treatment was a step in the right direction, and now you are well on your way towards recovery.

Now that you’ve taken active steps towards fixing your ways of the past, and making amends with the people that matter, it is time to move forward and experience the moment.

Fixing Broken Relationships: Take it One Day at a Time

Broken relationships take time to rebuild. However, with open and honest communication, patience, initiative, sincerity, and a genuine effort, you will be able to restore what was once lost. That being said, it is important to manage your expectations and learn to accept situations for what they are.

Do be sure to be gentle with yourself during the process and forgive yourself first.

If you or someone you know is living with a substance use disorder, know that you are not alone, and help is always available to you.

At Sober Life Treatment Center, we offer a variety of programs designed to help anyone living with a substance use disorder get back on track. Get in touch with us to learn more about our services or talk to a qualified mental health professional today!

Living Clean! 7 Awesome Reasons for Getting Sober

Living Clean! 7 Awesome Reasons for Getting Sober

getting sober

With an estimated 15 million Americans suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder, having an unhealthy relationship with drinking can feel very normalized. Binge-drinking is more common than ever, and alcohol is seen as the social gateway to being confident and feeling good about yourself.

It doesn’t have to be this way though.

It’s very possible to be a fulfilled, engaging person without using alcohol as a social or emotional crutch. If you’ve been thinking about getting sober, it might just be the best decision you ever made.

The pros of being sober outweigh those of drinking, and these sobriety benefits can prove it.

1. No More Hangovers

The worst part of drinking usually comes the next morning.

People suffer from hangovers in varying degrees of severity. Some people feel a little rough but can go about their day with no major issues; others are confined to their bed for the next twenty-four hours, wishing they’d never indulged in the first place.

One thing’s for sure, though. After a night of binging, everyone feels the aftermath one way or another.

Waking up in the morning when you haven’t had any alcohol the night before feels refreshing and relieving. There’s no sickness, and no concern about any texts you sent the night before in a drunken haze.

You have a clear mind, ready to go about your day unburdened by headaches, nausea, and anxiety. What could be better?

2. You’ll Save Money

One of the best reasons to get sober is the financial benefit. The average American household spends $565 on alcohol every year, with many spending far more.

Imagine what you could do with that money if it wasn’t spent on alcohol?

Drinking is not a cheap hobby. Drinking in bars is more expensive than drinking at home but either way, the dollars are going to quickly rack up.

If you need some motivation to live a sober life, calculating how much you’ve spent on alcohol over the past year might just be the reality check you need. It’s almost guaranteed to be more than you might think.

3. You’ll Be More Present

The issue with drinking is that it takes you out of the moment. Although you might feel like it makes you more engaging in a social situation, it actually does the exact opposite and takes you away from the night.

Even if you have the best night ever, the memories will be hazy, and you may have conversations you don’t remember at all.

Talking to someone who’s drunk can feel like they’re not sincere, or not truly paying attention. Value the time of your loved ones by being in the moment as much as possible.

4. It’s Safer

One of the true downsides of alcohol is that it impairs your judgment — badly. You may find yourself doing things you would never expect of your sober self, such as getting into a fight with a friend or jumping behind the wheel of a car you can’t safely operate.

Even if you consider yourself a responsible drinker, everyone has those nights where they do something unexpected that they later regret.

So why be sober? It’s just safer in general. You won’t have to worry about making impaired judgment calls, because nothing will be impairing you.

5. You Won’t Get Distracted From Your Goals

Alcohol can truly mess with your concentration when it comes to your career or your hobbies. Projects can get put aside in favor of going out for a night of drinking, or get delayed because your hangover simply isn’t allowing you to be productive.

It can even get you in trouble at work, especially if you have to call out.

By giving up alcohol entirely, you can focus on what really matters. Get ahead at work, get that project done you’ve always wanted to complete.

Guaranteed, the sense of fulfillment will be more than the liquor could ever give you.

6. You Can Look Out For Your Friends

When you’re asking yourself, “Why get sober?”, other people shouldn’t be top of the list. Ultimately, everyone is their own responsibility and you should worry about yourself before focusing on anyone else.

However, once you’re comfortable with being sober, being able to look out for your friends is an undeniable advantage. In a group, if everyone is drunk, no one is there to make sure everyone gets home safely or make good judgment calls.

By being someone who is sober — and happy being so — you can look out for your friends should something go wrong.

7. Your Physical Health Will Improve

It’s undeniable that it’s a huge health risk to drink. Alcohol can lead to many physical problems, including:

  • Alcohol poisoning
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Weakened immune system

There’s also the issue of the mental health problems it can cause. Alcohol is a depressant, so for those who suffer from anxiety and depression, it can worsen those issues.

Leaving it alone entirely and getting sober means that your health will dramatically improve, and you’ll be at far less risk for a lot of issues.

Getting Sober May Be the Best Choice You Ever Make

Getting sober may not be easy. Many people exist in a friend group that could make things difficult, because there’s peer pressure to drink. Some people believe they can’t be confident in a social situation without it, or that they need it to be happy.

It’s not true. There’s help available if you need it, and you can do this. You’ll feel all the better for it when you’re living your best sober life, with a clear mind and more disposable income than you’re used to!

For recovery solutions to suit your needs, contact us today and we can help.

Time to Clear Your Mind: 11 Free Things to Do in San Diego

Time to Clear Your Mind: 11 Free Things to Do in San Diego

free things to do in san diego

If we were to ask which area of the country has the most small farms, what would you guess? The answer is San Diego County. San Diego is the largest producer of avocados in the country.

It also happens to be one of the greatest places in the country to spend a weekend, especially if you’re recently sober.

San Diego is a beautiful city and a thrifty one as well. There are a lot of free things to do in San Diego, which is great if money is an issue.

What are some of the best free attractions in San Diego? We’ll talk about that in this article.

1. Beaches

It’s almost an unwritten rule that if you’re ever in California, you have to see at least one beach. California has over 3,000 miles of shoreline, so you should have no problems finding a beach.

While you’re more than welcome to swim, surf, or relax on the beach, they’re far from the only things to do. You’ll likely find other activities as well, such as horseshoe games, volleyball courts, snack bars, and many others. They’re also a great place to relax and live in the moment.

Some beaches even stay open late into the night, so a romantic date on the beach is a possibility. After all, you can’t beat the moonlight over the ocean. It’s one of the best places to see in San Diego, though it’d never occur to most of us.

2. Embarcadero

If you’re looking for free things to do in San Diego, look no further than the Embarcadero.

The Embarcadero is a particular stretch of San Diego’s coastline that houses some of the greatest attractions in the city. For instance, there’s a maritime museum where you can learn about the history of sailing vessels.

There’s also the Midway Museum, the longest-serving aircraft carrier in American history. It’s also one of the most famous. It served in the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and several others. If you’re a fan of history, the Midway Museum is one of the best things to do in San Diego.

If naval history isn’t your thing, there are many other things to do on the Embarcadero. There are playgrounds for children to play on, as well as Seaport Village.

Seaport village is a miniature town inside the Embarcadero that offers several awesome restaurants and stores. We should probably mention that things get a little murky when talking about free attractions and the Embarcadero.

The Embarcadero is free, as are the playgrounds and similar attractions. However, the shops and museums will most likely charge you money.

3. Oldtown

If you’re the type who’s traveled a lot, you’ve likely seen a few different ‘Oldtowns.’ China has the Forbidden City. New Orleans has the French Quarter.

San Diego has an oldtown of its own. It’s simply known as Oldtown, and it offers many forms of entertainment.

It’s home to shops, theaters, restaurants, and many other things. One unique thing about Oldtown is that it was originally owned by Mexico, along with the rest of California and a few other states.

Oldtown hasn’t forgotten those roots and is a great place to find Mexican food and culture. A great example of that is the Mission San Diego de Alcala, which is the oldest mission in California.

That’s just the beginning. There’s also a free museum, a collection of carriages, a blacksmith, a schoolhouse, and a few other historic buildings. It’s a great place to go if you want to step out of your comfort zone.

4. Balboa Park

Another area of San Diego to explore is Balboa Park, and no, it has nothing to do with the Rocky franchise. What it does have is the San Diego Zoo. If you only spend money on one thing on your trip to San Diego, make it the San Diego Zoo.

The San Diego Zoo is the largest in the world and is home to over 300 species of animals, many of them endangered in the wild. It’s one of the most fun things to do in San Diego.

If you’re not interested in the zoo or have finished seeing it, there are also 17 other museums in Balboa Park. Add to this several gardens, theaters, and other attractions, and you have an amazing place to see in San Diego.

Some museums are often free if you happen to live in San Diego. However, this only happens on Tuesday.

5. Children’s Pool

We’ve already mentioned beaches in this article, but there’s one in particular that you should explore while you’re in San Diego. It’s called the Children’s Pool. It was originally founded for children, but anybody can get in now.

What’s so special about this beach? The answer is seals. This beach in La Jolla is known for frequent seal sightings, and it’s a huge tourist attraction as a result.

You should be cautious, though. Seals can be dangerous, so it’s best not to get too close to them.

Even when they’re not dangerous, they can come out of seemingly nowhere. It’s a very unsettling feeling to suddenly be surrounded by seals.

While tourists love the seals, many locals want to get rid of them. Others believe that San Diego has enough beaches, so why not let the seals have one of them.

Free Things to do in San Diego

Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t have the money to take lavish vacations. The good news is that we don’t have to. There are plenty of free things to do in San Diego.

We’ve talked about a few of them in this article, but San Diego is a big city, and we couldn’t possibly cover everything. It may be best to do more research on this spectacular city.

If you want more information and advice on addiction and how to finally get and stay sober, please visit our site. Feel free to learn more about us and see if our services are right for you.