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Not all mental health treatment occurs in a hospital or a therapist’s office. Nor are these options always the best. For some patients, an inpatient treatment program offers more care than is necessary. For others, an hour a week with a counselor or therapist is not enough time to address issues and begin a path to wellness.

For an intermediate level of treatment, many patients turn to an intensive outpatient program (IOP), which encourages long-term, successful management of physical, emotional and mental health in a more concentrated setting. Sessions are held multiple days each week, for several hours per day, allowing patients to live at home and resume normal activities during treatment.

IOP settings provide support through group and individual therapies, medication management and mental health education. Throughout the program, and if deemed appropriate, family members and referring physicians receive regular updates on a patient’s progress and treatment, allowing them to provide additional support to aid long-term healing.

Outpatient treatment is tailored to each individual’s needs. As patients improve, frequency of counseling decreases as they transition to traditional outpatient treatment.

When is IOP the right choice?

1. Patients do not exhibit symptoms requiring hospitalization. Patients hospitalized for mental health care are often very ill and at risk of harming themselves or others. In this case, inpatient or residential care offers continuous monitoring of treatment and medication delivery. However, not every behavioral episode is severe enough to warrant hospitalization. Instead, the regular counseling, coping skills and medication management programming available through an IOP may be more appropriate.

2. Patients are ready to transition from inpatient treatment. After hospitalization, some patients are ready to step down from inpatient treatment but are not quite ready to return to a normal routine at home. In these instances, IOP offers a safe transition by encouraging continued care while reintroducing patients to their regular routines.

3. Patients help maintaining treatment programs. After being discharged from inpatient care, some patients need support to maintain their prescribed treatment programs. An IOP encourages patients to continue their care regimen in a safe, comfortable environment surrounded by specialized medical professionals.

4. Patients experience a mental health episode but are not ready for hospitalization. During a mental health episode, an individual may feel their problem is severe enough to seek help but the idea of checking into a hospital is overwhelming or frightening. When immediate and intensive treatment is needed, IOP may be the best solution for a patient to learn coping mechanisms for various stressors, proper medication practices and management of individual diagnoses.

Oceans Healthcare offers intensive outpatient programs for adolescents, adults and seniors and provides treatment tailored to each individual’s diagnosis. Group and individual therapy sessions are held three to four days per week for several hours each day and cover topics such as adjustment difficulties associated with various aging issues, identifying and dealing with depression or anxiety, stress and/or anger management, substance use disorder and grief or bereavement counseling. Oceans facilities accept Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE and most private insurance.

For more information, find an Oceans location near you or fill out this form to have a representative call you.

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