Family Roles in Addiction

Substance abuse is a disease that can affect an entire family. When you’re living under the same roof with someone struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you’ll navigate an unpredictable world filled with many uncertainties. You might also have trouble knowing where to turn for help.

Unique family roles can pop up in the event of addiction, which may worsen the situation. To understand how this disease manifests itself, we’ll discuss the family dynamics of addiction below and provide addiction recovery information and resources for you and your loved ones.

Victim or Addict

Family dynamics are affected by at least one victim of addiction. People struggling with substance abuse live in a constant state of chaos, and drugs may become their primary way to cope with emotional issues. Victims display negative behaviors or symptoms that might include:

  • Lack of motivation
  • Confusion
  • Irritability, anxiety or paranoia
  • Rapid or rambling speech
  • Shakes, tremors or slurred speech
  • Dilated pupils
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Bloodshot eyes

The victim might display anger and avoidance behaviors as they find it harder to manage their mood swings. They’ll often show dependent behaviors such as manipulating or lying to supply and sustain their addiction.

Over time, the victim will become the focal point of the family while other members attempt to deal with their behavioral choices and life changes. The victim might isolate themselves or blame other family members for their problems, negatively affecting those around them.

The Scapegoat of the Family

The scapegoat of the family is often the one who gets blamed for the family issues caused by addiction. Most commonly the middle or second oldest child, the scapegoat exhibits deviant behavior and hostility to divert attention from the victim.

The scapegoat will often lash out and voice the family’s collective anger. They’re also more likely to participate in risky behaviors, so parents focus on their punishment rather than deal with the scary and unpredictable world of addiction.

The scapegoat also distracts family members from internal blame and resentment surrounding the victim’s addiction issues. When scapegoats get older, they’ll find it harder to manage their emotions and may display avoidance behaviors by running away or acting out in violence.

The Enabler

The enabler will deny that there was ever a problem in the first place. They’ll downplay the victims’ behavior or life choices to “protect” the rest of the family from the adverse effects of addiction. They’ll convince themselves that substance abuse isn’t a real issue and make light of the situation by excusing their loved one’s behavior and fueling the addiction.

The enabler has difficulty creating boundaries with the family member who suffers from addiction. They’ll let problems go unchecked rather than deal with them straight away. While they may not realize it, the enabler can assist in the self-destruction of the victim by:

  • Treating an adult victim like a child and making excuses for their behavior.
  • Giving them money to pay for necessities rather than allowing them to pay for their own.
  • Ignoring harmful behavior and not addressing how it’s affecting the family.
  • Helping the victim obtain their substance of choice.

This role is often filled by the victim's spouse or even a child of the family. They often believe they’re helping the family or victim when in reality, their reaction creates a more significant issue by making it difficult for everyone to heal.

The Hero of the Family

The hero of the family tends to be controlling and perfectionistic. They achieve many successes to give their family the illusion that all is well. Often seen as over-responsible and self-sufficient, they’ll also attempt to make decisions for the family behind closed doors.

The hero will feel like the leader of their siblings, though, over time, they'll find it challenging to manage the stress and anxiety that comes with this role. The hero might also attempt to overshadow the victim and be the center of attention, derailing recovery efforts.

The hero believes they are the only one who can solve the victim’s problem. They’ll often harbor ill will toward the victim as they attempt to establish themselves as the focal point of the family and solve family drama. The hero harms rather than helps the situation by making it more difficult for the family to work toward recovery.

The Mascot

Often the youngest sibling, the mascot is the comedian of the family. They’ll typically use humor to resolve family tension, which might come from a place of fragility and a desire for approval from those around them. Employing constant humor might also result in their inability to deal with confrontation or express their emotions.

Supplying comic relief helps the mascot shield themselves from the pain associated with negative family dynamics. Fear, sadness and feelings of vulnerability plague this person as they conceal their emotions by cracking jokes and making light of family arguments. While their humor may lighten the mood, the mascot distracts the family from solving deep problems.

Due to their deep-seated issues, mascots tend to self-medicate as a coping mechanism. This can continue into adulthood and perpetuate the addiction cycle.

The Lost Child

Typically the youngest or middle child, the lost child is uninvolved in family relationships. They’ve likely never received the same level of attention as their siblings, which makes them go virtually unnoticed when there’s an addict in the family.

When this child stays lost, they learn their needs don’t matter and hiding becomes a way of life. They’re shy, withdrawn and commonly depressed for most of their childhood as they use invisibility as their defense.

The lost child often grows up feeling inadequate. They’ll blame themselves for the lack of attention they received growing up and believe that something is inherently wrong with them. This makes it challenging for them to form intimate and lasting adult relationships, and they may self-harm or become involved in abusive relationships. Like the mascot, the lost child might also turn to self-medicating as a way to cope.

If You've Noticed These Dynamics Within Your Family, We Are Here To Help

As you’ve learned, addiction significantly affects the victim and those around them. If your family is struggling with the effects of addiction, we’re here to help.

Transformations By The Gulf is a wellness center that provides substance abuse and alcohol addiction recovery services. Our residential and outpatient programs emphasize compassion, honesty and self-accountability through the path to recovery.

We understand the complexity of addiction and design custom recovery plans for each individual to help them achieve a better quality of life. We also provide family therapy to navigate you through the challenges and unpredictability of an addictive household.

To learn more about our services, contact us today.

Can a Rehab Center Report My Addiction as a Crime?

In short, a rehab center can't report your substance use to the police in most cases. Simply admitting to drug use isn't enough for the rehab to call the police, even if you have an existing criminal record. Whether your substance use disorder is current or in the past, a drug treatment center can't call the police if you're simply seeking drug abuse treatment.

Ultimately, jail shouldn't be a concern if you're seeking treatment for a substance use disorder. Rehabilitation facilities are focused on helping you recover from your substance use and taking you through the drug rehabilitation process — they aren't going to call the police to send you to jail for illicit substance use. Their goal is to help you recover and provide you with healthy coping skills to live an enriching, sober life.

While most cases can't be reported to law enforcement, there are a few instances where a rehab center can call the police. Continue reading to learn more about your rights as a patient, why a rehabilitation center might contact law enforcement and more.


Patient Confidentiality: Knowing Your Rights

As a patient at a rehab center, you have rights that protect your private information. You should familiarize yourself with the laws that protect your medical information to ensure you know what's being done with it. When you start treatment, a rehab center employee will give you the center's privacy and confidentiality guidelines to sign. This paperwork outlines your rights as a patient. The staff at the rehab facility must also sign these documents.

Most of the information and protections in these guidelines come from laws established to give patients more rights than they once had. The following are a few of the laws that health care providers must follow.

The Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act of 1996

The Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) was first introduced in 1996 to prevent health care providers from sharing patient information without explicit consent from the patient. The information you share with your physician or any other health care provider must remain private, which is known as doctor-patient confidentiality.

Drug treatment centers fall under "covered entities," which means they're subject to the HIPPA Privacy Rule. Medical staff at the rehab facility can't divulge your medical information to anyone, including law enforcement. The Privacy Rule also allows patients to control how their medical information is used.

Your medical information can only be shared without your consent in specific instances, including:

  • Medical emergencies
  • Suspicion of neglect or abuse
  • Legal warrants or subpoenas
  • Specific research situations

If a medical facility has to disclose your information for any reason, it can only be enough to fulfill the needs of the situation, such as disclosing medications you're taking in the event of a medical emergency. Breaking HIPPA guidelines can result in considerable legal repercussions for the treatment center. If someone in the facility divulges your information with malicious intent, they can face up to 10 years in prison.


The Confidentiality of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Patient Records

This regulation was initially instated in 1975 and revised in 1987. It states that rehab facilities can't directly or indirectly divulge information that would identify you as a current or past patient at said facility. If the facility has your explicit written consent, they would be able to share your information with certain parties — but otherwise, they must keep your information private.

If a police officer enters the facility trying to seek information about your substance use and they don't have a warrant or a subpoena, the rehab facility is not allowed to give them your information. Like HIPPA laws, if a staff member shares your medical information with your consent, the facility will face legal repercussions.

There are a few exceptions to this regulation. If there are court-ordered criminal investigations, warrants or subpoenas, your information can be shared with law enforcement. Your information can also be shared if there is suspected child abuse or neglect, a medical emergency or a program evaluation.

However, in most cases, a rehab facility can't share your information since it's legally part of their job to protect your medical records.


Can I Be Charged in Rehab?

Upon admittance to a drug treatment center for substance use disorder, you won't be charged for using drugs, whether you're seeking treatment for a past or current substance use. However, there are some reasons that a rehab facility might call the police.

If you were arrested in the past for a nonviolent drug offense, you might be able to go to drug court rather than jail. Drug court specifically handles drug cases for adults and juveniles. A drug court can sentence you to court-ordered rehab to reduce relapse and the chances of you committing another crime.

If you fail to show up to court-ordered rehab, the facility can call the police, and it'll be seen as a violation of your sentencing, resulting in harsher punishments.

A rehab facility can also contact law enforcement, or law enforcement can get involved, if:

  • You exhibit destructive or violent behavior.
  • You admit yourself into rehab to avoid an arrest for a criminal act.
  • You have a warrant out for your arrest.

You can also be arrested in rehab if a staff member catches you using or possessing drugs within the facility. The facility staff keeps a careful eye out for substance use. If you're caught with drugs, you can be charged with drug possession. If you're caught with a significant amount of illicit or prescription drugs, you can be charged with possession with intent to sell, which comes with more severe legal repercussions.

If you committed a minor crime before admitting yourself into a treatment facility, law enforcement may wait until you've completed treatment to make an arrest.

If you're looking into treatment for substance use, you can rest assured that you won't be arrested in rehab simply for having a substance use disorder. The priority of treatment facilities is to treat your substance use disorder and any underlying conditions contributing to it, not to have you arrested for illicit drug use.


Supporting Your Loved One During Relapse

A relapse is when someone with a substance use disorder stops maintaining their sobriety after recovery. Some people believe that relapse is a sign that someone will fall back into drug abuse, but you can prevent further damage by catching a relapse early.

If your loved one is going through a relapse, you can do things to support them during this time. Below, we'll guide you through some of the common causes of relapse, how to support your loved one and when you should consider seeking professional help.

Why Did My Loved One Relapse?

Relapse is a common occurrence in someone struggling with and recovering from addiction. About 40%-60% of people who have substance use disorders experience relapse as part of their recovery process. A relapse does not mean that addiction treatment has failed. If your family member has experienced a relapse, there are many reasons this can happen.

People who have struggled with addiction have triggers, which are situations or instances that spur a craving, inducing an urge to use a substance. While addiction treatment and professional help can provide your loved ones with healthy coping skills to overcome these urges, a relapse indicates that a change needs to be made to their treatment plan.

Some common triggers include:

  • Withdrawal symptoms: Physical and psychological withdrawal from a substance can be uncomfortable, and your loved one might relapse to prevent these feelings.
  • Mental health: Some people who have a mental health disorder also have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Your loved one might be trying to cope with their mental health symptoms by using substances, and if their mental health condition is left untreated, it can cause a relapse.
  • Peer pressure: Many people use substances in groups with their peers. If someone has just gone through treatment for their addiction and continues to hang around others who continue to use substances, they feel pressured or compelled by their cravings to relapse.
  • Environments: Certain environments encourage substance use, such as bars, clubs or parties. Simply being in these environments can be enough to trigger a relapse.
  • Uncomfortable feelings: Some people might experience boredom, isolation or loneliness after they go through treatment, especially if they don't have a robust support network. Your loved one might relapse to avoid these feelings.

What NOT to Do When Someone You Love Relapses

If your loved one goes through a relapse, you'll want to give them all the support you can offer. However, there are certain things you shouldn't do:

  • Don't get upset or lose hope: Relapse is often a standard part of the addiction recovery process. It's more than possible to recover from a relapse and reach sobriety again. If you show negative emotions, it can make your loved one feel unsupported and prevent them from seeking the treatment they need.
  • Don't assign blame or get angry: Blaming your loved one for their relapse and getting mad at them for it will only make the situation worse, and they may feel discouraged from seeking treatment. Instead, you should try to react calmly and offer support.
  • Don't make excuses: On the other side, you shouldn't make excuses for your loved one's relapse. Recognizing that there is an issue can help you encourage your loved one to seek help.
  • Don't push: You should encourage your loved one to seek treatment, but don't push them too hard. It can make them resistant to treatment, and ultimately, it should be their decision to seek treatment and make plans for their recovery.
  • Don't dismiss the problem: Relapse can sometimes seem like a one-time thing from people standing on the outside. However, it's essential not to ignore your loved one's behaviors. Avoid enabling them to relapse again or allowing them to become codependent.

By stopping yourself from taking part in these behaviors, you can instead offer support and care to your loved one during their recovery process.

9 Things You Should Do for Someone Who's Relapsing

Your loved one will need plenty of encouragement and support during their recovery process. If a loved one in your life is going through a relapse, you can take steps to help make their recovery process smoother. Here's what to do when your loved one relapses:

1. Remain Positive

Keeping a positive mindset will help your loved one feel supported during this challenging time. Know that relapse is a normal part of the recovery process, and achieving sobriety again is possible.

2. Offer Your Support

A support network is vital for the recovery process. If your loved one can rely on you for support during this time, they'll feel more motivated to seek treatment after a relapse.

3. Educate Yourself

You can support your loved one by educating yourself on the signs of relapse so you can spot the symptoms sooner, offer your support and help them seek therapy before the relapse becomes severe.



4. Find Professional Treatment

If your loved one is going through a relapse, finding a professional treatment center for them can help take some of the burdens off their shoulders. Having a treatment plan set up can help streamline the process once they decide to pursue treatment.

5. Encourage Support Groups

Support or therapy groups can be an excellent way for your loved one to connect with other individuals with the same experiences. They're also a perfect tool for holding someone accountable and preventing relapse.

6. Identify Triggers

If you can identify your loved one's triggers, you can prevent them from being exposed or help them through the situation. If bars trigger their drinking, you help them find another location to spend time at, such as a coffee shop.

7. Enjoy Sober Activities Together

Someone who went through addiction might need to find new activities for occupying their newfound free time. You can enjoy enriching activities, such as hiking, yoga and meditation. These hobbies are great for physical and mental health and can create a healthy outlet for loved ones recovering from addiction.

8. Set a Healthy Example

One of the best ways you can help a loved one going through relapse is to establish a healthy standard for them. Take care of yourself during this time and participate in healthy activities so your loved one can look at your behavior as an example.

9. Open a Line of Communication

You should discuss your feelings with your loved one to show that you care and that you're empathic about their situation. Be careful not to blame them, but let them know how this affects you and that you're here for them if they need support. Knowing how you feel can encourage your loved one to seek treatment for their relapse.

When to Get Professional Help

You can look out for certain signs that might indicate that professional help and treatment are necessary. These signs include:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Disinterest in hobbies or passions
  • Hostility when asked about substance use
  • Denial when confronted by friends and family
  • Absences or poor performance at work or school
  • Lack of self-care, such as bad hygiene
  • The appearance of mental health symptoms after treatment
  • Staying out at bars or parties

While not all of these signs can indicate a relapse, it's essential to be aware of these signs and talk with your loved one and a professional to determine if further treatment is necessary.

Treat Relapse at Transformations By The Gulf

If someone you love has struggled with addiction in the past, there's a chance they might relapse, but there's no need to worry. Relapse is a normal part of recovery for many people, and it's possible to overcome relapse, even if it happened after rehab.

At Transformations By The Gulf, we help our patients free themselves from addiction with the structure and skills they need to transform their life. If a loved one is struggling with an addiction or you're worried about a relapse, contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs in Florida.

intensive outpatient therapy

How Intensive Outpatient Therapy Helps Patients Cope With Depression

17.3 million people in the United States are affected by major depressive disorder. If you're one of them, you know how bad the bad days can truly be.

If you're dealing with depression surrounding your sobriety, you know how bad days can turn into devastating days.

You should reach out for help even if everything seems like it's okay. One of the best resources out there is intensive outpatient therapy. Keep reading to learn about this amazing treatment.

Intensive Outpatient Therapy: The Basics

Intensive outpatient therapy is less structured than an inpatient mental hospital. However, it's still more structured than traditional therapy.

This kind of therapy typically meets three to five times a week for three to four hours a day. Many participants work or go to school full-time while they're in therapy.

Intensive outpatient therapy is also great for those who have just left an inpatient treatment center. This kind of therapy can help individuals transition back into the real world. This is useful for them as they navigate their symptoms and situations again.

This is a great way for people to continue recovery while working their ways into old patterns and old situations. It is also a safer way of doing this for people who struggle with suicidal ideations.

Intensive outpatient therapy also typically also offered in group settings. This means that you will be surrounded by people who are going through what you're going through. These people are also trying to navigate the world with you.

Having people to bounce ideas off of it great for those who may feel alone in the cloud of depression. Their situations may also help with learning coping mechanisms and living strategies.

This group will become a community of people to build off of. Having a counselor tell you who to approach situations may be nice, but having others who understand your situation offer you advice is better.

Intensive Outpatient Therapy: The Goals

There are different forms of intensive outpatient therapy. Different forms help people with different conditions.

There are intensive outpatient therapy programs for people with anxiety, people with depression, and people who struggle with substance abuse. Some groups are even catered to certain ages and genders.

There is bound to be a program that you'll succeed in. With all of these forms, there is bound to be a group that can meet your personal goals.

Intensive outpatient therapy is made to help you build a successful foundation for mental health skills. Furthermore, it is made to help those individuals face any triggers or other stressors that they may face as they experience life.

More specific goals will shift with the purposes of the program that an individual joins. However, the main goal of trying to help the individual navigate life stays the same throughout all of the programs.

For example, there are programs that are designed to help people with substance abuse disorders. There are made to assist individuals in identifying triggers and maintaining sobriety in the presence of those triggers.

There are other goals involved in these intensive outpatient therapy programs as well. You will learn problem-solving skills, coping skills, and self-awareness. These skills will help you maintain sobriety.

Intensive Outpatient Therapy: The Difference

You may be wondering why some people choose intensive outpatient therapy over inpatient alternatives.

The most commonly reported reason is that outpatient therapy allows the patient to be present in the world while getting therapy. Inpatient therapy does not allow the patient to be present in the world while getting help.

The advantage of the outside exposure is that the patients can ask real-world questions and transition into the hardships rather than being shielded from them. The transition into the real-world is better for those people who may experience triggers throughout their lives.

However, inpatient therapy does use physical separation. Someone in an inpatient facility will not have access to any of their triggers.

You will have access to alcohol and drugs in the real world. Outpatient therapy will give you the resources you need to feel confident about your sobriety. Even though you do have access to substances, you will understand how to cope.

People who are employed, in school, or have families have more trouble completing inpatient treatments. This is because of the time commitment. Outpatient therapy allows its patient to balance life while still receiving the help that they need.

Intensive Outpatient Therapy: The Patients

Outpatient therapy is not for every patient. Intensive outpatient therapy is not for every patient.

Inpatient therapy may be best if you have severe depression and cannot thrive in the real world yet. You may want to consider outpatient therapy after you've had a stay in an inpatient therapy program.

There are levels of addiction treatment for those who experience substance abuse disorders. These different levels represent the severity of their substance abuse disorder. It also shows what treatment each level of severity may benefit from.

Level 0.5: This is the earliest stage of addiction treatment in which early intervention services work the best.

Level 1: This is where outpatient services may be needed. These patients are still able to benefit from outpatient therapies.

Level 2: These patients benefit the most from intensive outpatient programs. They could also see improvement with partial hospitalization programs.

Level 3: These patients may want to take part in residential treatment services or inpatient treatment services.

Level 4: This is the highest level of addiction treatment. Medically managed intensive inpatient treatment services may be best for patients at this level.

Intensive Outpatient Therapy: Our Services

Here at Transformations by the Gulf, we offer intensive outpatient therapy programs. Our program occurs three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 AM to 12 PM. Our participants typically take part in our services for 8 to 16 weeks, depending on their individual needs.

Our services are accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer a 3:1 client-to-counselor ratio so that your treatment is more individualized.

If you're interested in intensive outpatient therapy, feel free to contact us for more information. We'd love to talk to you about how we can help with your specific situation.

Transformations By The Gulf Response to the Coronavirus

A Message to Our Customers on Coronavirus

At Transformations by the Gulf, we remain committed to our community throughout the COVID-10 outbreak. Keeping you informed with available news and information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a top priority.


  • Daily sanitization of all hard surfaces
  • Admissions department screening potential clients prior to entering facility
  • Proper gloves and masks are worn in the facility
  • Increased sanitization throughout common areas

The safety and health of our patients, staff, and community are of the utmost importance.

intensive outpatient program

6 Tips to Help You Adjust to Your New Life After an Intensive Outpatient Program

Adjusting to life after an intensive outpatient program can be both overwhelming and exhausting to think about. It can also be terrifying for a recovering addict because completing the program isn't the end of your recovery journey.

While some walk out of the rehab doors excited and looking forward to the future, others may be terrified about relapsing once treatment has ended. Most programs that are centered around substance abuse treatment only last for a couple of months.

With the help of counselors, patients within the program learn to process life without the haze of drugs and alcohol. The program will also teach them coping tools so that they are able to handle future decisions without turning to drugs and alcohol.

Here we are going to provide you with information that will help make your transition from treatment back into the real world less intimidating.

Have a Post-Treatment Plan

If you are returning home or making your way to a sober living house, you will need to have a plan once you get there. Once you are nearing the end of your outpatient program, the counselor should be working closely with you to develop a plan to help you maintain your sobriety.

The plan will include treatment outside of the program that will help an addict continue to move forward rather than backward. A treatment plan will insist that a recovering addict has a healthy support system.

This system will be made of family, friends, and health care professionals that are reliable and will help them maintain their sobriety one day at a time. The plan will also illustrate ways to continue living a healthy lifestyle.

Things such as exercising daily, spending time meditating or writing in a journal, and perhaps perfecting a new hobby will help you stay focused on maintaining your sobriety. For some former users, the treatment plan includes medications that will help to curve cravings.

Counseling may be apart of a post-treatment plan because not every single life crisis can be worked out in 3 months. Recovering addicts must continue to meet with someone that helps them to process their feelings and thoughts regularly.

Lastly, the treatment plan will outline how the addict will need to manage situations that could cause them to be triggered to use.

Find a Support Group

After rehabilitation programs, most recovering addicts will attend support group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These 12-step programs, and at each step of the program, the addict works on a different phase of the healing process with a sponsor.

It may sound incredible to finally have to stop going to meetings after a rehab program. Still, it is recommended that you join a support group such as the ones listed above. This is because, in these programs, you will be around other addicts and can speak freely without the feeling of being judged.

It takes the stress off your shoulders that you may feel if you were attempting to share your feelings with your family or friends. Plus, your sponsor will be able to point out any backsliding you may be doing that family and friends can't easily spot.

Make Better Friends

It can be comfortable to sleep back into the same old circles with the same old friends, but after rehab, when you're adjusting to life again, you should make new sober friends. Your friends will help you steer clear of things that may trigger you and tempt you to use it again.

Some addictions began because people were peer pressured by their friends to start using. Therefore a recovering addict should eliminate that negative peer pressure. If you are upfront with your new friends about your past struggles, they can help you maintain your new lifestyle.

Continue to Work on Your Mental Health

Mental health plays a large part in addiction, and some addicts have underlying psychological issues. Life after alcohol rehab can leave a recovering addict with anxiety and stress about the things that they will soon face. The important thing is to focus on establishing a positive new routine.

This routine could mean starting the day with positive affirmations and meditations throughout the day. It can also mean maintaining your new exercise regiment.

Working on your mental health means doing your best to steer clear of focusing and obsessing about all of the negative thoughts that are swirling around in your head. It is crucial to find a way to silence the noise in your head and remind yourself that you can do this.

If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed and overcome with negativity, it is never to early to seek a therapist.

Intensive Outpatient Program: Volunteer

A significant focus of the recovery process is sharing your story with other recovering addicts. In that way, you are helping one another. Your past struggles and traumas may be beneficial and help another addict relate to you and the things you've gone through.

When your program is complete finding a place where you can volunteer and continue giving back to others. It will make you not only feel good to help others, but it will also keep you busy and help ward off thoughts of using.

Know the Signs of Relapse

Within the first year of sobriety, more than 85% of recovering addicts will relapse and begin using drugs and alcohol again. This doesn't mean that your outpatient program wasn't effective. It just means that adjusting to life is hard, and you may not have seen all of the signs.

Before treatment ends, you will discuss your triggers and things that make you vulnerable to using again. After treatment, you must continue to be on the lookout for triggers that may cause you to relapse.

Triggers can come from anything, and once you allow it to grow in your mind, it is easy to relapse.

You've Got This

Whether you are fresh out of an intensive outpatient program or have been out of your program for a while, we can all use some support. It is crucial that you use these tips above to maintain your sobriety.

If you want more tips and information on maintaining sobriety and continuing the steps of rehabilitation, check out our blog.

intensive outpatient

What Exactly is an Intensive Outpatient Program? An Informative Guide

The latest statistics show that 23.5 million Americans struggle with an addiction to alcohol or drugs.

Of these individuals, it's hard to say how many will break their addictions. There is one thing you can know, though. It is easier to break an addiction if you seek help.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction right now, there is help, and there is hope.

One of the options you can choose for treatment is an intensive outpatient program (IOP). IOP programs are not only useful for helping people break addictions, but they offer a lot of other benefits too.

If you are interested in learning more about IOP programs, here is a detailed guide that will help you understand more about these types of programs.

The Basic Characteristics of Intensive Outpatient Programs

There is not just one treatment option available for treating addiction. Instead, there are many types, and one is called intensive outpatient. An intensive outpatient program has unique characteristics that set it apart from other treatment plans.

One trait of an IOP is that you live at home while completing the program. This quality makes this form of treatment different from inpatient programs. An inpatient plan requires you to stay at a facility for weeks or months.

Living at a facility during your treatment plan isn't the most convenient option for many people.

With an IOP, you get the convenience of living at home. During this time, you can continue working, spending time with your family, and doing all your regular daily tasks and routines.

For an IOP to work effectively for you, you'll need to make sure your home life is stable, healthy, and safe for you during this time.

Another type of treatment you can select is a traditional outpatient plan. The difference between this type of plan and an intensive plan is the amount of time you must devote to the program. An intensive program will be more time-consuming.

The Time Frame of an IOP

An intensive outpatient program is a commitment. Most programs generally require attending treatment three to four times every week for around eight to sixteen weeks. Each session lasts approximately three hours.

While this may seem like a significant commitment, it can be well worth the time you spend there. Developing an addiction might be easy to do, but breaking one takes time and effort.

Some people find that completing an inpatient program first is beneficial. IOPs do not provide detoxification services.

If you need to detox first, you will benefit by enrolling in a program that helps with that. If you already detoxed, IOP is a smart choice.

What the Sessions Involve

Each session with an IOP involves several different things. Here are some of the activities that take place during these sessions:

1. Individual Therapy

Part of the time you spend in the program will involve one-on-one counseling. Individual counseling helps you specifically address the issues you are dealing with.

It can help you learn why you chose this path in life, how to break free from it, and how to develop the best methods for avoiding relapses in the future.

2. Group Therapy

You will also spend time completing group work. Everyone working through the program will participate in these sessions, and you will have people in all different stages.

Group work helps you find assurance that you're not alone. You can hear stories from other addicts, and you can learn the methods they are using to stay sober.

You'll also be encouraged to talk about your story during these meetings. Opening up and discussing your struggles is an effective way to help you face the truth and work towards a new life.

3. Educational Activities

You will also learn a lot about addiction, the way it develops, and the effects it has on your brain. Learning and understanding how addiction works is a crucial element in recovery.

You may have homework assignments to complete before your next meetings, and you should always complete these projects if required.

What You Will Learn

Not only will you learn the things mentioned already, but you'll learn a lot more, too. One critical factor you'll learn during this time is triggers. You'll discover what your triggers are and healthy ways to respond to them.

They will also teach you the importance of attending meetings for your addiction. Attending NA or AA meetings can be helpful for you right now and in the future, and they will encourage you to participate in these meetings.

Additionally, you'll learn what to avoid in the future. A lot of addiction centers focus on helping addicts learn the importance of making the necessary changes for recovery.

The Goals of an IOP

The goal of any treatment program is to help addicts break their addictions and learn how to stay clean and sober afterward, and this is true for IOPs, too.

The other goal of an IOP is to find a support system to lean on for help. When you commit to a program and complete it, you are always welcome to come back.

The group of people you meet will be your support system, and you'll need people to encourage and support you in the future.

The third goal is to provide a safe environment for you during this time. Treatment centers know how hard it is to decide to break an addiction. Because of this, they offer help in a non-judgmental environment for everyone who enrolls.

Help Is Only a Phone Call Away

You can find many types of treatment options for breaking addictions, but an intensive outpatient program might be the best choice for you.

To learn more about these programs and other forms of addiction treatment, call us today or visit our website for more information.


PHP or IOP: Which of These Rehab Programs Is Right for Me?

About 46% of Americans have a friend or family member with a current or past addiction. Without proper treatment, you might not find the resources you need to fight your own addiction.

Have you started researching rehabilitation options? You might want to consider the differences between IOP and PHP during your search. However, you'll need to determine which is the right choice, given the situation.

Keep reading to discover the difference between IOP vs PHP.

With this guide, you can make an informed decision before choosing the treatment program that's right for you. Then, you can kick your addiction and get back to living a happy, healthy life. Get started with this guide.

What is PHP?

Let's start with the question you're likely asking: what does PHP stand for?

PHP stands for "Partial Hospitalization Program." This is a more comprehensive approach to outpatient treatment.

With this type of treatment, the patient doesn't spend nights at the facility. Instead, this is considered a full-time outpatient addiction treatment program. The program runs five days a week, six to eight hours each day.

There are a few reasons you might want to consider a PHP program. For starters, PHP patients are free to leave at the end of the day. You can choose to either return home or to a sober living community.

If you live a busy life or live at home with family, a PHP is an ideal choice.

A PHP is also ideal if you are sober and in recovery but recently relapsed. The program can help provide follow-up care and supportive treatment so you can maintain your sobriety.

Some patients who recently graduated from a longer stay in a residential facility might choose a PHP as well. A PHP can provide these patients with continued reinforcement and structure. In time, you can grow more capable of maintaining your sobriety on your own.

Patients in a PHP aren't institutionalized. It's best for patients who aren't considered a risk of causing any imminent risk of harm to themselves or others.

The decision to place a patient in a PHP depends on:

  • The doctor and treatment staff's discretion
  • The severity of the patient's illness
  • Patient history
  • Environment
  • The patient's support system

You can speak with your doctor to determine if a PHP is right for you.

What Happens?

While you're in a PHO, you'll take part in therapy sessions. Qualified professionals will also monitor your progress and stability each day. At night, you'll head home.

While you're not at the facility, you can establish suitable support networks to ensure your safety.

A partial hospitalization program will give you access to a range of therapies. This often includes one-on-one sessions, as well as group sessions. You might also benefit from family counseling as well.

Group sessions aren't always within the facility. In some cases, you might enjoy recreational activities together. These can include hiking, day trips, or even equine therapy.

Make sure to explore the facility's services before choosing one that suits your needs.

PHP treatment is sometimes more demanding than IOP. The intensity of this treatment is sometimes similar to residential recovery programs.

A PHP can make you feel safer in your transition as you try to maintain a routine again. During your treatment, you'll become exposed to opportunities that could cause you to develop old habits. While the process for a PHP takes longer, it can help you avoid the temptations that could cause a relapse.

A PHP is ideal if you need detoxification services as well. If you require medication and a hands-on approach from staff, a PHP can help you track and control your changes.

The exact care you'll receive often depends on your individual needs. You can speak with someone at the facility to develop a treatment plan that suits your treatment needs.

What is IOP?

IOP stands for "Intensive Outpatient Program." While similar to a PHP, an IOP offers more flexibility.

An IOP is designed to offer a structured model of care to help patients overcome their substance abuse. The level of care depends on the patient's individual case.

An IOP will consider your home life and work life. Then, you'll receive a high level of outpatient care to ensure you maintain sobriety.

There are different ways a facility might choose to manage your IOP. For example, you might structure a schedule that allows you to continue working and attend therapy sessions after work. In other cases, you might schedule a session during the weekend as well.

Once the patients have maintained their sobriety for a few months, the facility will help you tackle deeper-rooted issues associated with your addiction.

Unlike a PHP, an IOP isn't daily. Instead, you can schedule your sessions to take place during the days and times that best work for you. This will allow you to schedule your treatment alongside other commitments.

An IOP program is usually scheduled for 10 to 15 hours each week. You can break this time up into various sessions.

The length of the program will vary depending on the patient's individual needs.

Sometimes, a patient will leave a PHP and transition to an IOP instead. An IOP is ideal for PHP patients who aren't ready to leave therapy completely.

What Happens?

As with a PHP, you'll take part in group and one-on-one sessions during your time in an IOP. You'll also explore a different range of therapies depending on your treatment needs. These group therapies can keep you from feeling isolated throughout your recovery.

An IOP can take longer than inpatient treatment for you to complete. It also requires you to remain honest with yourself about your medical and psychological needs.

If you're exposed to situations that could cause you to turn toward substance abuse, an IOP isn't the ideal option for you.

In 2017, about 20.7 million people ages 12 and older needed substance use treatment. However, only 4 million people ages 12 and up received treatment. Receiving the treatment you need could make all the difference in helping you maintain your sobriety.

PHP or IOP: Which Rehab Program is the Right Fit?

IOP vs PHP; which is the right choice for you? The rehabilitation program you choose depends on your distinct needs. Making the right choice can help you maintain your sobriety and live a happier, healthier life.

Ready to receive the help you need? Get started today to receive high-quality care.

intensive outpatient program

How Long Does an Intensive Outpatient Program Last?

Does it ever feel like your drug or alcohol addiction is a life sentence? Are you looking for an affordable treatment option that doesn't require losing time from work?

There are more than 20 million Americans with substance abuse issues, but only a small fraction seek care. You might want to detox, but you may not be able to drop everything to attend a 90-day inpatient program.

If you're ready to seek treatment for your addiction, this article's for you. We'll give you the inside scoop on what to expect from an IOP or intensive outpatient program.

Outpatient vs. Inpatient Treatment

No matter how long you've had a drug or alcohol addiction, you've got treatment options. The first step toward recovery is to meet with an intake counselor. They will run your insurance, give you a physical and a drug test, and evaluate your mental health.

The intake counselor will also run your insurance and help you decide whether you need an inpatient or an outpatient program. Here are a few key differences:

  • Time Commitment. Most inpatient programs last at least one month, sometimes going as long as six months to a year. Do you have that kind of time? If you want to keep your job while you recover, intensive outpatient treatment might be the best choice. Most outpatient programs meet three times per week for eight to 16 weeks.
  • Therapy Options. Depending upon the severity of your addiction, you may meet with support staff every day for the first few months. IOP treatment options can include group therapy, individual therapy, and family therapy. Your counseling schedule will be customized to your needs so that you're not losing time with your children or family.
  • Support Networks. Do you have any family or friends that you can talk to about your recovery? Are your work colleagues rooting you on? IOP therapy works best when you have people to talk to in addition to your therapist. Outpatient and inpatient programs may require you to attend AA meetings or keep a personal journal.
  • Success Rate. The relapse rate for drug and alcohol addiction hovers between 40 and 60 percent. It's not an encouraging figure, but customized intensive outpatient therapy can help make you a success story instead of a statistic. If you relapse, your IOP therapy network will help you detox and get recommitted to your recovery.

Are You Ready for IOP Treatment?

How can you tell if you're ready for recovery? Is getting clean as easy as making up your mind to change?

If you can check off three or more items on this list, you're probably ready to seek treatment for your addiction.

  1. You've had severe financial problems due to your addiction.
  2. You've lost time from work or been fired from several jobs.
  3. Your family has staged an intervention and you think that they may be right.
  4. You have a mental health diagnosis and are ready to take medication.
  5. You sincerely believe that you can get clean and stay clean.

If you have been using drugs or alcohol for many years, you may need to start with medically-assisted detox. You would enter a hospital facility for three days to one week and take FDA-approved medications like Suboxone and Vivitrol.

The good thing about medically-assisted detox is that it takes you safely past withdrawal symptoms like hallucinations and dangerously high blood pressure. Stopping "cold turkey" isn't a good idea if you're a long-time user.

You could end up having seizures or even a heart attack.

Does Intensive Therapy Really Work?

After you detox, you'll have access to a wide range of therapeutic support. Even if therapy isn't your cup of tea, you should still give it a try.

Group therapy can help you feel less isolated, even if it's a little bit intimidating. You're not required to share your recovery journey, but you might want to step out of your comfort zone.

You might find that your story is inspirational to one of your fellow group members.

One-on-one therapy can be helpful, but you have to trust your therapist. They may want you to discuss personal things like your finances and relationships. They're not just trying to pry: they're trying to address taboo topics so that you can discover lasting solutions to your problems.

Look for intensive outpatient programs that offer holistic therapeutic options. You may find that going to the gym helps you maintain your peace of mind. That's not traditional "talk therapy" but it's effective.

Other holistic therapy options could include:

  • yoga and deep breathing
  • acupuncture
  • sports massage
  • meditation
  • volunteering in your community

The good news is that while recovery is a challenge, there are several ways to help it along.

Do You Need an Inpatient Program?

As you progress along your healing journey, your team may recommend that you participate in an inpatient recovery program.

You would receive therapy, medication, and supervision by a team of experts. Where outpatient therapy goes up to four months, inpatient programs typically end after 90 days.

If you have a dual diagnosis or are struggling with homelessness, an inpatient program could help you manage your mental illness and find housing.

You can always transition into one of our outpatient programs after you've completed your inpatient stay.

Find an Intensive Outpatient Program Near You

If you think that you're ready to change your life, you need to take the next step. Call or email your local addiction recovery center and make an appointment to meet in person.

We are committed to providing you with compassionate care that meets your needs. We can help you talk to your family or to your supervisor at work, and we're more than happy to help you make travel plans.

If you would like to talk to us, please call us at any time. We have a helpline that's open 24/7, even on holidays. We are Golden Seal Approved and have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

We look forward to meeting with you and helping you develop a long-term recovery plan!

intensive outpatient treatment

7 Things to Expect When You Begin Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Substance abuse disorders have been on the rise in America for quite some time. In 2016, the NSDUH found that nearly 8% of US citizens over age 12 struggled with alcohol and/or drug dependencies. That equates to over 20 million people.

Of those 20 million who needed treatment, only 5.6% received it. One of the barriers people face when deciding whether to seek help is whether they're affected enough to enter a residential program.

Even if you're still able to maintain some level of "normal", substance abuse shouldn't ever be ignored. Intensive outpatient treatment programs (IOPs) can help the majority of people who need help, but not full-time.

Starting any type of rehabilitation can be a daunting experience, but you don't need to be afraid. Read on to find out what to expect when enrolling in an intensive outpatient program.

1. Everything Starts with an Intake

Before any actual treatment begins, you'll need to touch base with your care team at an intake appointment.

During this initial screening, you'll go over your current physical, mental, and emotional health with a medical professional or mental health clinician. They'll ask questions about the type and frequency of your substance abuse and how it affects you in your everyday life. You'll likely have a drug test and physical exam as well.

Facing the reality of your problems in the form of a questionnaire can be an uncomfortable experience. But your care team isn't trying to invade your privacy—they're working hard to design a treatment program that meets your individual needs. You'll be met with compassion and encouragement, not judgment, as you take the first step on your journey.

2. You'll Meet Multiple Times Each Week

In residential treatment, participants live in a dedicated rehab center for a few weeks or months as they work through the program. But not everyone needs that level of supervision—many just need accountability and a helping hand.

In an IOP you'll have sessions an average of three times per week for an average of 2-4 months. Each of these sessions will last for around three hours on-site, and you'll be given exercises to work through while you're at home. This gives you the flexibility to keep working and spending time with your family during recovery.

3. There Are Options for Group and Individual Sessions in IOP

Getting support from your people who are going through the same challenges you are can make a huge difference in your recovery. That's why many IOPs follow a group therapy format.

At Transformations By The Gulf, we maintain a 3:1 client to therapist ratio in group sessions so every participant still gets the individual attention they need. To make it easier to talk about personal subjects, we hold gender-specific sessions with some opportunities for mixed-gender interaction.

But for those who would benefit most from one-on-one treatment, individual counseling sessions are also available. There may also be options for family therapy so your loved ones can join in your journey of healing.

4. You'll Get Help from Experienced Licensed Professionals

Friends and family members are a valuable part of your support system. But when dealing with a medical condition like a substance abuse disorder, it's best to have an experienced professional on your side.

In an intensive outpatient treatment program, you'll work side by side with clinicians who are trained in a mix of traditional and holistic counseling methods. They'll use powerful techniques like motivational enhancement and cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you identify and fix distorted thinking. They'll also use expressive methods to help you work through difficult emotions and learn more about yourself.

5. You'll Learn New Coping Strategies

No matter how strong our resolve is, all of us find it hard to resist temptation in the moment. So what will you do when you're faced with emotions and situations where you used to turn to drugs or alcohol for comfort?

A huge part of outpatient treatment is arming yourself with an arsenal of healthy coping mechanisms to replace the bad ones. They can be simple, like doing a breathing exercise or going for a run. Or they may be more contemplative, like writing out your thoughts in a recovery journal.

But whatever coping strategies end up working for you, they'll all have the same result. When you find yourself faced with the opportunity to binge drink on New Year's Eve or turn to drugs when you're feeling down, you'll be able to say no and do something productive instead.

6. You'll Plan for the Future

The benefits of outpatient treatment don't end when the program does. Before you graduate, you'll work with your counselors to come up with a plan for the future.

How will you avoid triggering environments, and how will you stay clean when they're unavoidable? Who can you call when you need a bit of extra support? How will you occupy your time when you're alone?

Figuring out the answers to questions like these and writing a plan of action can help your sobriety last for the rest of your life.

7. It Will Be Hard, but Worth It

Overcoming an addiction is one of the largest challenges you can take on in your life. And in an intensive outpatient program, you'll still have the freedom to engage in bad habits while at home. The power to change is in your hands, and while it may seem impossible at times, a life free of substance dependency is more than worth it.

If you're ever losing motivation or feeling unsure about your ability to stay strong, reading the success stories of people who were once in your shoes can help.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment Can Be Life-Changing

It's natural to be nervous before any big life change, especially one as major as entering an intensive outpatient treatment program. But if you take these things to heart and open your mind to the possibilities, your life can transform for the better.

Are you looking for an IOP program to help overcome a drug or alcohol addiction? Transformations By The Gulf can help you take the first step.

We take a holistic approach to recovery, aiming to treat the whole person, not just the addiction. If you'd like to learn more about our program, refer someone, or enroll yourself, please contact us today.