Are you enabling a loved one’s addiction?

Are you enabling a loved one’s addiction?

If you’ve ever watched a loved one struggle with an addiction, you know it can be a heart wrenching, isolating, and frustrating experience.

There are many different ways to support a loved one going through an addiction, but how do we know if we’re — consciously or not — enabling  their behaviour? If we know the traits of an enabler, we can stop our behaviour in its tracks and better empower our family or friends to seek life-saving treatment or harm reduction services.

What is enabling?

Simply put, “enabling” means to contribute to or support someone’s self-destructive behaviour. According to the American Psychological Association, an enabler is typically an intimate partner or good friend who passively permits or unwittingly encourages this behaviour in the other person; often, the enabler is aware of the destructiveness of the person’s behaviour but feels powerless to prevent it.”

It’s important to remember that while there is often a negative stigma attached to the term, we’re most likely not acting maliciously or trying to do any harm as enablers. Most people are trying to be loving and supportive, but just don’t know how. That said, if we can be conscious of our enabling, we are in a better position to help our loved ones recover by empowering them to change.

What does enabling an addiction look like?

When it comes to addiction or substance use disorders, like alcoholism, there’s more to being an enabler than actively encouraging or participating in the behaviour. Here are some examples of enabling that are a bit more subtle:

Making excuses

When we love someone, it’s easy to make excuses for all sorts of negative, self-sabotaging behaviour. But when it comes to substance use, the stakes can be high. This might look like telling other friends or family that someone’s addiction “isn’t that bad,” or excusing it altogether.

This is tempting and can seem innocent, but it shields the person from the real consequences of their actions.

Bailing them out

Addiction can impact every aspect of a person’s life, making it difficult to keep up with important commitments or obligations. In more severe cases, they can fall into financial or legal trouble.

Family and friends help each other out in the toughest of times. So, if we have the means to pay legal fees, repay debts, or loan money to someone in a bind, we often feel like this is the right thing to do. While it is kind and understandable to want to make someone’s life a little bit easier, this can actually encourage their addiction.

For someone trying to recover from an addiction, knowing they have people in their corner can make all the difference. But financially supporting their habits might give them a false sense of security and delay the realization that their substance use has become a serious problem.

Blaming others

We know that addiction isn’t a “choice” and that there are several biological and social factors that make some people more vulnerable. That said, when a loved one is struggling with addiction, it isn’t productive to blame other people for their actions.

It’s easy to place blame on a friend who actively encourages or joins in on their substance use, the strict boss, the spouse or partner that broke their heart, our ourselves. But it’s important to remember that this doesn’t help.

There will be people that are objectively toxic for someone who is trying to recover from addiction — but blaming these people for the addiction itself takes away the addicted person’s agency and teaches them that they are not self-sufficient.

Covering up or lying

If someone you care about is constantly forgetting or skipping important commitments, you might find yourself lying to others on their behalf. While this might seem helpful, or like you’re saving the person some embarrassment or stress, it is not recommended. By hiding your loved one’s addiction, you’re making it less likely they will be held accountable. In order to seek treatment, someone must fully understand the consequences of their substance use issues. It might seem harsh to not cover up for someone you love, but doing so is ultimately counterproductive.


Check out our recent blog on how to support a loved one struggling with addiction.

How can I help? 

Addiction recovery is a group effort

A strong support system can make a huge difference in someone’s recovery. Here are some steps you can take to help someone in your family who is showing signs of an addiction or substance use disorder:

  • Educate yourself. There is plenty of stigma and misunderstanding surrounding addiction and mental illness. Having a better understanding of what your loved one is experiencing physically and mentally will foster empathy and open dialogue. In fact, your loved one might not fully realize that they have an addiction.
  • Express your concerns. If you have an intimate relationship with a person struggling with addiction, you are likely the best person to start this conversation. You don’t have to be an expert, but it is important to tell your loved one how much you care and that they have your support.
  • Support yourself. Supporting a loved one with an addiction can be extremely draining – you don’t have to do it alone. Consider joining a loved one support group like Al-Anon and sharing your experiences in a safe environment. Check to see if your loved one’s treatment program includes family support or therapy.
  • Research treatment options. Certified clinics offer outpatient or inpatient (live-in) treatment options and a variety of different therapies. Whichever facility you choose, make sure the clinicians are accredited and registered with their relevant professional college.

Edgewood Health Network can help

At EHN Online, we believe that all families impacted by addiction deserve support. Those who participate in our programs can invite loved ones to join monthly online Family Education Workshops and continuing care groups. In these workshops, friends and family can learn to assist their loved ones as they integrate recovery skills into daily life, as well as receive education on how to maintain their own wellbeing along the way. In addition, Family Aftercare is a weekly group offered virtually for family members. Learn more.

Contact us to learn more about our IOPs and Family Programs.

Resources to help you:

Info-Social 811
811

ParentsLine
1-800-361-5085

Wellness Space Canada
1-888-417-2074

Al-Anon
Support group for relatives

Sources

APA Dictionary of Psychology – Enabling. (2020). American Psychological Association. https://dictionary.apa.org/enabling.

Juergens, J., & Hampton, D. (2021, May 6). What Is an Enabler? – Stop Enabling Today. Addiction Center. https://www.addictioncenter.com/treatment/stage-intervention/what-is-an-enabler/

How to talk to and help someone with addiction

How to talk to and help someone with addiction

  Serious conversation between loved ones It is normal to be unsure of what to say and what to expect when talking to a loved one who is suffering from an addiction. Even if you are not comfortable talking about it, you should do so as soon as possible in order to help them. Problem use can trigger anxiety or depression, impair the proper functioning of organs such as the liver and kidneys, and can lead to serious and possibly fatal health problems. Fortunately, this disease can be effectively controlled with your support and evidence-based treatment tailored to the needs of the person suffering from addiction.

Does my loved one need my help with their substance use disorder?

How to know if someone is struggling with addiction

Your loved one may be exhibiting some worrisome behaviour, but how do you know whether they are experiencing a rough patch or a true addiction? Recognizing to increase their chances for recovery. In general, a person with a substance use disorder:

  • does not take care of themselves anymore;
  • has increased mood swings, is not their self on a daily basis;
  • has increased difficulty achieving daily tasks (ie at work or school);
  • is unable to control their consumption;
  • uses substances to help cope with difficult situations;
  • has increased the frequency and quantity of their substance consumption;
  • may lose consciousness and suffer amnesia as a result of the substance;
  • finds more pleasure in consuming than in being with friends or family.

There is no single cause of addiction; it is often the result of a combination of genetic and social factors. The individual may have a genetic predisposition or an underlying mental health disorder that triggers and fuels the cycle of addiction (called a concurrent disorder).  

Am I the right person to talk to my loved one about their addiction?

If you are the spouse, friend or family member or a person struggling with addiction, you’re likely the best person to start the discussion. Your loved one trusts you and knows that you care about their well-being. It’s normal to be worried or unsure of how to approach the subject. Here are some common mindsets that can set back the conversation:

I am afraid that they won’t talk to me anymore.
Understand that your loved one may be reluctant to have this conversation at first. In order to maintain your relationship, you should be clear that you are concerned for their wellbeing and want to help. By identifying yourself as an ally and following them on their steps to recovery, your relationship can become even stronger than it is now.

I am not a professional. I’m worried that I won’t say the right things.
Starting the conversation is definitely not an easy thing to do. You can’t predict your loved one’s reaction, but you can prepare yourself for the discussion. It’s all about the approach. Before you talk about it, make sure you understand addiction and have solutions to offer. Many people research potential groups, counsellors or programs that could be of use prior to starting the conversation.

How to prepare for a conversation about addiction

Educate yourself on addiction

Take the time to research and understand addiction, how it works, and why it happens. You don’t need to be an expert on the topic, but it is helpful to have a general understanding of their situation before beginning the conversation. This will help you to better understand and empathize with them so that you can have a more positive and open conversation. Below are some important things to know before approaching the subject.

How can an addicted person not realize that they are addicted?
While their addiction may seem obvious to you, it is more difficult for the person experiencing it to identify what is happening. Addiction begins in the unawareness stage. This is when the person consumes a substance in increasing frequency and quantities, but do not find this situation abnormal. They do not try to solve their problem because they do not recognize it. After a major event (such as an arrest, missing an important meeting, or letting down a loved one), an addicted person may enter into the awareness stage. However, this does not mean that they will always seek help. The misconception and stigma surrounding addiction often discourages people from seeking help.

Addiction is a disease, not a choice.
The World Health Organization identifies addiction as a disease in which an individual regularly experiences a strong or compulsive desire to consume a psychoactive substance (drinks or drugs, including prescribed medication, that affect one’s mental processes such as perception or consciousness). This compulsion is a results of profound changes in the brain. As the American Society of Addiction Medicine explains: “Addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward circuitry, motivation, memory, and other associated circuits. Dysfunction of these circuits results in characteristic biological, psychological, social, and mental manifestations [ … ] This condition results in the use of substances to provide relief [ … ] .

A diagnosis is required for proper recovery.
Addicted persons require professional help to control and recover from their disease. Without proper care, their condition may deteriorate rapidly. They may develop serious health problems such as psychosis, schizophrenia or central nervous system degeneration. Remember that addiction is a heterogeneous disease, meaning it is often caused by a combination of different genetic and social factors. Because of its varying elements, proper medical intervention is required.

Identify the severity of their symptoms

While you cannot diagnose your loved one’s severity without the help of a medical professional, it is helpful to consider this so that you can guide them towards the best possible treatment. A person with mild to moderate symptoms is usually able to carry out daily activities and responsibilities with some control over their substance use. Individuals experiencing severe symptoms of addiction will struggle to remember, address or carry out important tasks and will have little control over their urges to use. At EHN Online, a specialist will make an initial assessment over the phone to determine the level of severity and propose a treatment plan adapted to the person’s needs.

Find support for yourself

Living with or being around someone who has a substance use disorder can affect you greatly. You may feel overwhelmed and need support in order to best help your loved one. Designated loved one support groups such as Al-Anon can help you to talk through your experiences with people in similar situations to find comfort and solutions. If your loved one decides to seek help, check to see if their treatment program includes support or therapy for loved ones. EHN Online’s intensive outpatient programs recognize the importance of family programming to not only support the person undergoing treatment, but to maintain the wellbeing of their loved ones.

Organize your approach

The way in which you choose to present your concerns and possible solutions is important. Don’t be afraid to write down your ideas and bring it with you for the discussion. Tell your loved one that you want to ensure you are able to communicate clearly and effectively so that you can help them. Being honest and transparent about this will encourage them to do the same.

Research certified addiction clinics.
Don’t walk into the conversation empty handed. Make sure you have prepared a list of possible solutions to the problem you are discussing so that you loved one understands that the purpose of the conversation is to help them. Research clinics to find out what treatments are available. Make sure you find treatment centres that are certified and offer quality, medically-based treatment. Certified clinics offer two types of treatment:

    • Outpatient treatment: for those with mild to moderate symptoms of addiction. EHN Online offers group therapy and individual meetings via video conference.
    • Inpatient treatment: for people with moderate to severe addiction symptoms. The person is accommodated in a center and supported at all times by professionals.

Choose the right time to talk about it.
There will never be a perfect moment to have this conversation, but some situations are better than others. Try to speak with them when they are not under the influence of a substance to promote a calm, rational and productive conversation. It may be helpful to plan this around a time when they may be coming down from a recent intoxication where they might feel guilt after excessive use. They may be more receptive, as they are experiencing the negative consequences of addiction. A person who is not experiencing the unpleasant effects of substance use will find it harder to accept that they have a problem. With that being said, try to focus on several concrete and frequent situations during your conversation rather than just one isolated event.

How to have an effective conversation with your loved one about their addiction

Not sure where to start? Talk about a change in behaviour. For example, you might point out that the person no longer participates in activities they previously enjoyed, doesn’t engage with friends, or their general demeanour has changed. Your examples should always be concrete, so try to think of very specific situations or reasons for your thinking. It is important to listen closely to their responses, and to demonstrate your concern for their well being. This will help them to see that the goal of the conversation is to help rather than accuse. Remember, you can always refer to the notes you prepared if you fear the conversation might derail.

Do’s and don’ts when addressing addiction

Make sure to:

  • find a private place so as not to be interrupted;
  • listen to what they have to say and address their emotions or concerns;
  • discuss the negative effects of their drinking on the most important people in their lives, such as their children or yourself;
  • remain calm at all times, even when addressing your concerns;
  • keep a positive and respectful tone;
  • show compassion and understanding to encourage an open conversation;
  • use your previous research to discuss potential solutions.

Try to avoid:

  • lecturing or criticizing them for their actions;
  • making judgements or jumping to conclusions;
  • using a confrontational approach which implies that they should feel guilty or ashamed;
  • making vague or debatable statements such as “You are always late when you drink”;
  • fuelling addictive behaviour (e.g. giving money that could be used to buy drugs or alcohol);
  • causing extreme distress, which could lead to increased substance use;
  • excusing their behaviour;
  • using ultimatums to force the person to stop using.

Remember that a person suffering from addiction relieves their negative emotions with substances. You don’t want your conversation to provoke such a situation.

Anticipating reactions to conversations about addiction

Reactions are difficult to predict, as each person is different. As a general rule, a person who is approached with the issue of addiction for the first time will likely have a strong and negative reaction, criticize you for discussing it, and deny their addiction. You should have realistic expectations about what might happen after the conversation. Be aware that your relationship may deteriorate temporarily and that you will not see an immediate change. Your loved one will require your ongoing help and support in order to stop using their substance. Stay on alert in the following days for any signs of increased use, as they may turn to their substance to cope with distress caused by this conversation. Rest assured that these reactions and situations are normal in this context. A person suffering from addiction does not want to face reality. They may feel ashamed and close themselves off to protect themselves. If you feel too much resistance, stop the conversation and offer to talk about it another time. You will have taken the first steps and the person will have time to reflect on your discussion. Make yourself available and attentive so that your loved one understands that they can talk to you at any time.

End on a positive note

Tell the person that you are there to support them at every stage of their journey. Explain that you will help them find a suitable treatment and accompany them throughout the healing process. Respect their choice if they are not ready to start right away and remind them that you will help them when they are. If possible, schedule a check-in for the near future to ensure that the topic is not brushed off and that your loved one doesn’t feel nagged when it comes up again.

Next Steps: How to help your loved one with their addiction

Finding the right substance use program

If your loved one agrees to accept help for their addiction, you can help them find the best treatment center for their needs. Make sure any centers you look into are certified and offer a relevant program. Some important questions to ask are:

  • Is there an initial medical assessment to provide your loved one with a personalized treatment plan?
  • Are there any subsequent assessments during treatment to ensure that they are still responding to the changing condition?
  • Is there any medical supervision?
  • Are the therapists accredited?
  • Is there aftercare? A family support program?
  • Are the practices evidence-based such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT)?

Supporting a person in recovery

Following treatment, your loved one will have to reintegrate into their environment. The person in recovery needs to change certain aspects of their life to avoid relapse. Returning to an identical environment may provoke the same emotions or situations that initially triggered the cycle of addiction, so it is helpful to create a new routine with them.  You can do this by:

  • Helping them find new passions and activities to stay busy.
  • Offering to arrange your weekly schedules together to ensure you have time to attend each other’s support group meetings;
  • Making sure there is no alcohol or drugs in the house so as not to present any temptation.

Keep in mind that you do not have the power to cure a substance use disorder for your loved one. You can, however, support them through all the stages of recovery. Talk to your loved one as soon as possible before their condition has a serious impact on their health.

Call now or book a free and confidential consultation to learn more about EHN Online's Intensive Outpatient Programs for Substance Use Disorder.



Resources to help you:


Info-Social 811
811

ParentsLine
1-800-361-5085

Wellness Space Canada
1-888-417-2074

Al-Anon
Support group for relatives

5 signs you’re ready for an intensive outpatient program

5 signs you’re ready for an intensive outpatient program

Happy Lady on Laptop

When it comes to finding the right program for your recovery, it’s important to note that there are a variety of options available. While some programs don’t recognize things such as your previous experience in therapy, your demanding work schedule, or your commitments at home, an intensive outpatient program (IOP) does, and is a great option for someone looking to recover.

Intensive outpatient programs are full treatment programs that act as a great step up or down from where you currently are in your recovery. They are an accessible and affordable middle ground for people with mild-moderate symptoms of mental health or addiction who may not to to or be able to enter into a residential facility for treatment.

By determining whether an intensive outpatient program is right for you and your lifestyle, you are doing valuable research into the type of program that will benefit you the most. In this blog, we discuss some of the factors that can help you decide whether an IOP is the best choice for you. Keep in mind that not all the points listed below need to apply directly to you for an IOP to still be the right choice. Intensive outpatient programs fit into everyone’s recovery differently.

1. You recently finished inpatient treatment

Recovery is an ongoing process that doesn’t just end when you leave an inpatient program. Entering back into your everyday life presents its own set of challenges to tackle. IOPs offer a gradual step down from the work you have done in a residential facility so that you can maintain your growth with a steady support and education. Choosing an outpatient program that offers structure to your recovery will help you to better navigate the re-entry to your working and living environment and set you up for success in your long-term recovery. For those who have completed inpatient therapy and are asking themselves ‘what now?’ intensive outpatient programs are an excellent next step.

2. You can’t take time off from work or family

While inpatient treatments are an ideal environment for recovery, sometimes it is not feasible for you to enter into one when you are balancing work and family responsibilities. An IOP offers the flexibility you need to maintain your current duties, and the structure you need to meet your recovery goals.

While company assistance varies, there is an increased likelihood that employers will support employees in their rehabilitation process if they are able to continue working while they receive care. Many employers have policies in place to offer flexibility in these circumstances and it is always worth speaking with your boss to see if there is support available, whether it’s financial or otherwise.

Many IOPs can also be completed online, which removes more barriers for those who travel frequently or don’t have access to local outpatient services. Online IOPs allow for even more flexibility when trying to maintain the responsibilities of your daily life.

3. You have tried other methods of support but need more

If you have tried different methods of support such as medication, regular outpatient programs, inpatient treatment, counselling, or an app among others, but have found them to be ineffective on their own, an IOP is a great solution. By strategically bundling all the most effective elements of treatment together, IOPs can offer you a treatment plan that is cohesive and supportive. With individual counselling, group therapy, evidence-based techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy, and an app to tie it all together, the components of intensive programs work together to ensure you have all the support you need. 

4. You need more structure and accountability

Recovery is an uphill battle. Without a set plan to prioritize your healing, it can become difficult to maintain your progress after completing a program. Recovery is a life-long fight that requires consistent attention and support. IOPs can offer the structure you need to support a stable recovery. By connecting you with the right technology, people, and resources, these programs can help you maintain accountability for your personal recovery goals and achieve success. An IOP can offer the support you need, while at the same time, providing the flexibility that you need to maintain your busy schedule.

5. You need more support from loved ones

Our loved ones can be huge factors in our progress and play an important role when it comes to your healing. Those close to us are often very willing to help but may not have the knowledge or understanding to do so. IOPs often include family education and therapy to provide your loved ones and those who support you with the tools they need to effectively support you along your recovery journey. This ensures there is mutual understanding across your entire support team, and that you are in alignment regarding the best course of action. What they learn is cohesive with what you learn!

Still not sure if an IOP is right for you? Take our self-assessment quiz!

If any of the reasons above resonate with you, then an IOP is a great plan to look into. EHN Online’s intensive outpatient programs offer the structure and support that you need to get on track and stay there! Beginning with eight weeks of intensive programming, participants will benefit from a combination of individual counselling, group therapy, family support, education about mental health and addiction, and access to our Wagon app to track progress and practice skills. With ten months of aftercare to follow, you can continue to track your progress on our app and learn from peers in weekly group therapy sessions. This network of assistance helps to ensure that you are never without support. Best of all, IOPs make recovery work with your busy schedule, no matter where you are!

 

EHN Online offers IOPs for substance use disorder, mood (depression) and anxiety, and workplace trauma. For more information about IOPs and if they are right for you, book a free and confidential consultation with one of our counsellors.

 

 

Online programs for substance use disorder – understanding your options for recovery

Online programs for substance use disorder – understanding your options for recovery

The decision to seek care for your alcohol or drug addiction is an important step towards recovery. By researching the differences in treatment options, you are already demonstrating self-awareness and initiative to make a change. Nonetheless, with so much information available online, the researching process can be intimidating. In this article, we will help you understand what online options are available so that you can make an informed decision about which course of action is the best for you.

One option when seeking online therapy is an intensive outpatient program (IOP).  This is an addiction or mental health treatment program designed for individuals who need more structure and intensive treatment than they can get from standard treatment options such as one-on-one therapy, medication, and support groups. IOP’s can either be in person or provided through an online therapy platform. 

Online therapy for mental health and addiction

Online therapy, also known as e-therapy, virtual therapy or teletherapy can be an effective treatment option for mental health and addiction support over the internet. This can occur via messaging, texts, video conferencing, or other digital solutions in real-time. This method can be beneficial to those struggling with mild to moderate addiction or mental health symptoms. It is important to note that online therapy can be very effective for many, but it is not a suitable replacement for inpatient programming if you are experiencing severe addiction symptoms.

Online therapy is an excellent solution if you live in a remote area, have limited access to quality substance addiction support or prefer to get help from the comfort of your own home. Programs that are strictly online typically have fewer operational costs and therefore can often offer more affordable treatment options. Online therapy is convenient and affordable – gone are the days of long commutes to therapy, missing work, or booking a babysitter to attend a session. 

How to have the best online therapy experience

Convenience is often reported as one of the greatest advantages of online therapy, however; this is contingent on the assumption that patients have access to a:

  • High speed internet connection
  • Laptop or tablet (preferable to a smartphone)
  • Private and comfortable space 
  • Solid support system or loved one to help maintain accountability throughout the program

Accessing online therapy for addiction

To begin the process of joining an online therapy program, decide which medium you prefer (text, video call, etc.) and conduct an online search. Find a place that resonates best with you and call or request an appointment. They may ask questions about your current mental state and demographic information to help match you with a compatible counsellor or program. Some additional factors to consider when choosing an online addictions program include: 

  • Therapist designation: If you want insurance to cover the cost of your therapy, make sure that the company has what you’re looking for. You will want to ask about if the therapists are Masters-level and registered, as most insurance companies have policies around this.
  • Schedules: Find out how flexible the individual and groups session schedules are to ensure they fit into your work and home life.
  • Evidence-based: Therapeutic approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) have been researched and proven to help patients develop meaningful and lasting change in their lives. Ask the admissions counsellor about which methods their programs use.
  • Price: Determine how much the sessions cost and what your budget can support. It is also important to consider what else the program offers in addition to the therapy (i.e. family support, aftercare, etc).

Pricing and payment methods for online therapy vary. Some platforms might use a subscription structure, billing you bi-weekly or monthly, and some might have you pay yearly or by session. It is important to keep in mind which method works best for you when selecting a platform. Prices for online therapy typically reside between $60-100 per session, which is a nice contrast to the $150-240 average for an in-person therapy session.

Figuring out which program is right for you

Substance use disorders are classified as mild, moderate and severe. Use the following criteria to help understand where your symptoms stand. If you agree with 2-4 of the following statements, you likely have mild symptoms. If you agree with 4-6 of the following statements you might fall under the moderate category, and 7+ means you are likely experiencing severe symptoms of substance use disorder. Speak to a healthcare professional for a formal diagnosis.

  • Your substance use has created dangerous situations for yourself or others.
  • Your substance use has caused relationship problems or conflicts with others.
  • You frequently fail to meet your responsibilities at work or home.
  • When you stop using the substance, you experience withdrawal symptoms.
  • You have built a tolerance and have increased your use amount and frequency.
  • You’ve tried to cut back or quit entirely, but haven’t been successful.
  • You spend a lot of your time using the substance.
  • Your substance use has led to physical or mental health problems, such as liver damage or anxiety.
  • You have skipped activities or stopped doing activities you once enjoyed in order to use the substance.
  • You experience cravings for the substance.

Take our short assessment quiz to find out if online rehab is a viable option for your recovery.

 

Types of online therapy for addiction 

There is a wide variety of online therapy solutions. To determine which option may be best for you given the severity of your symptoms, see the checklist above. 

  • Individual counselling – One on one counselling with a therapist via secure video platform. Most effective for mild symptoms.
  • Self-help groups – AA or SMART Recovery groups via secure video platform. Most effective for mild symptoms.
  • Mental health and wellness apps – Websites/self-led apps dedicated to mental health and wellness. Most effective for mild symptoms.
  • Group counselling – Therapeutic support with peers led by a therapist via secure video platform. Most effective for mild/moderate symptoms.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) – Intensive online treatment via secure platform. Most effective for mild/moderate symptoms. 

For those experiencing severe symptoms of addiction, inpatient therapy with medically assisted detox treatment might be a more suitable action plan for you.

How can an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) help you recover from addiction?

Have you tried individual counselling or self-help groups but feel you need more help? IOPs provide a more structured and intensive solution as they combine individual counselling, group counselling, family support and an app into one bundled package. Both intensive and flexible, IOPs are effective for those who are unable to take time away from family or work, but require more structure in their treatment process. 

IOP patients can maintain their daily routines and access therapy outside of work hours. Some of the most notable benefits for substance use disorder IOPs are:

  • Flexible scheduling to prevent interference with family and work time
  • Receive support and connection from others in a safe and non-judgemental space
  • Manage progress and prevent relapse with a structured aftercare program
  • Involve loved ones in your recovery for additional long term support
  • Receive immediate support with rolling intake and support on demand
  • Stay on top of your own recovery with progress tracking
  • Complimentary to AA and SMART Recovery
  • Evidence-based and use curriculum that is proven to work
  • Compatible with an easy-to-use online platform and app 

The IOP at EHN Online is eight weeks of intensive treatment, for nine hours a week, featuring both individual and group therapy. Studies show that group therapy plays an important role on the route to recovery as it creates a close-knit support network to give and receive information from peers with similar experiences, and provides an opportunity for increased self-awareness.[1] [2]

For ten months following treatment, patients participate in aftercare, with one virtual group meeting per week and access to the outpatient app, Wagon. This will allow you to track daily progress, achieve your goals, and better communicate with your counsellor. EHN Online’s in-house clinical team ensures full cohesion across the network, so your designated counsellor can join you throughout your entire journey to recovery. 

Accessing an Intensive Outpatient Program

To begin your journey with an EHN Online Intensive Outpatient Program, book an assessment with one of our IOP counsellors. You’ll discuss your symptoms, your history, and your goals for the future before you agree on a program that’s right for you. If you decide to go ahead, your counsellor will register you in that program during your appointment.

Many employee benefit plans cover treatment programs for alcohol and drug addiction. Contact EHN Online with the name of your employer and insurance provider so we can help determine your coverage and financing solutions.

Other IOP streams

EHN Online offers a variety of Intensive Outpatient Programs to help individuals reach their recovery goals:

How much does an IOP for addiction cost?

When it comes to cost, you need to take into account the chance of future intensive program needs. If your initial treatment does not have lasting positive effects and you need to re-enter a program, your total cost of rehabilitation will increase dramatically. It is more cost-effective to select a program that you feel will best address your needs, immerse you with a supportive group of peers, and keep you on track the first time around.

While your mental and physical health doesn’t have a price tag, you do have to consider what type of support can fit into your budget. Because of the bundled nature of IOPs, the hourly cost is actually far lower than a stand-alone individual therapy session or group. Here’s a simple cost breakdown: 

$38/hour for 173 hours over one year:

  • 9 hours of individual/group therapy sessions for 8 weeks
  • 12 available hours of family programming
  • 10 months of weekly aftercare 
  • Access to a digital app for corresponding materials and progress reports 
  • A detailed discharge meeting and summary 

Compared to traditional prices for individual and group therapy at about $60-100 per hourly session, an Intensive Outpatient Program provides a bundled offering for proven results and affordable prices. 

There is no single method of recovery that is the right solution for everyone. Individuals will thrive when they find a mixture of therapies, education, and lifestyle changes that works for them. A great place to begin is to use the severity classification method listed above to identify whether or not you would benefit from separation from your current surroundings and habits.

Congratulations on taking the first step towards recovery! Beginning the process is the most daunting part, and your initiative shows your willingness to make a change in your life. Whichever course of treatment you choose, recovery is around the corner!

Speak to a professional today to find out if an Intensive Outpatient Program is right for you.

 

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

[1] Fogger, S. A., & Lehmann, K. (2017). Recovery Beyond Buprenorphine: Nurse-Led Group Therapy. Journal of addictions nursing, 28(3), 152–156. https://doi.org/10.1097/JAN.0000000000000180

[2] Epstein, E. E., McCrady, B. S., Hallgren, K. A., Gaba, A., Cook, S., Jensen, N., Hildebrandt, T., Holzhauer, C. G., & Litt, M. D. (2018). Individual versus group female-specific cognitive behavior therapy for alcohol use disorder. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 88, 27–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2018.02.003

[3] Inpatient vs. outpatient treatment: Recovery options. (2020, September 18). https://www.addictioncenter.com/treatment/inpatient-outpatient-rehab/

[4] Inpatient vs. Outpatient: Comparing Two Types of Patient Care. St. George’s University. (2019, June 18). https://www.sgu.edu/blog/medical/inpatient-versus-outpatient/.

How the right program can help prevent relapse after rehab

Man-at-top-of-staircase-recovery

How the right program can help prevent relapse after rehab

Recovering from a substance use addiction is an ongoing process that doesn’t end after attending rehabilitation. Maintaining abstinence from substances takes time, patience, resilience, and support. That’s why it is important that your rehabilitation program offers effective skills to prevent relapse, and a realistic duration of support upon program completion. 

Many people are under the misconception that one rehabilitation program will provide an end-all  solution. In reality, rehab only scratches the surface, helping patients to stabilize, collect their bearings, and develop further awareness about their addiction. It is the continuing care following rehabilitation that produces long-term results for recovery. By following through with your program’s aftercare, or enrolling in a step-down program, you can help reduce the likelihood of relapsing. 

Why does relapse occur?

A number of factors can contribute to relapse, despite completing a program for recovery. Returning to a familiar environment or social setting in which you once used a substance can trigger memories and urges to use again. This can trigger the relapse cycle, which leads to recurring substance use;

  • Stage 1: Emotional. This is where you are triggered by your environment or situation to crave substance use.
  • Stage 2: Psychological. This is where you bargain with yourself to believe that using the substance again will not lead to a relapse in your addiction. 
  • Stage 3: Physical. Once you have made peace with the idea of using again, the physical act of using drugs or alcohol becomes much easier. The euphoria that you feel from reuniting with the substance then makes it difficult for this act to be a one time occurrence.[2]

Relapse is not uncommon, in fact, research shows that the relapse rate for substance use disorder is 40-60%. This likelihood is similar to that of other chronic disorders and diseases such as asthma and type 1 diabetes. These relapses should all be recognized under the same chronic disorder umbrella, serving as a sign for resumed, modified, or new treatment. [1]

Relapse is so common that it is a frequently cited reason for seeking addiction recovery in the first place. Most individuals who seek help for substance use have already attempted to abstain on their own and are seeking a more permanent solution for recovery [2]. Understanding that you need a more structured approach to recovery means that you are prepared to find a lasting solution.

How to avoid relapse

The purpose of planning ahead for relapse prevention is to identify early warning signs and develop effective coping skills to catch relapse in its earliest stages. Addressing relapse and using a prevention plan as soon as you begin to recognize warning signs has shown to significantly reduce your risk of relapsing. [2] There are many things to keep in mind when striving to prevent relapse.

  • Avoid triggers such people or places connected to your substance use, situations which cause extreme stress, or situations in which you may witness substance use
  • Ensure that you have a positive support network, or an emergency contact person for difficult or triggering situations
  • Create a clear relapse-prevention plan and set measures to ensure accountability (such as recording progress and triggers, or checking in with a counsellor or group) 
  • Continue therapy or enrol in a program with an aftercare solution

Maintaining accountability and self-awareness plays an important role in relapse prevention. The goal of recovery programs is to set patients up for success for life, as opposed to short-term success. When seeking recovery support, consider programs that offer relapse-specific education and aftercare so that you are prepared to continue down the path of recovery.

 

How Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) support relapse-prevention

EHN Online’s IOP for Substance Use Disorder provides patients with the tools they need to prevent future relapse. Beginning with eight weeks of intensive therapy, patients will virtually attend both group therapy and individual therapy each week. 

Group therapy plays an important role in continued recovery by creating an intimate support network. This allows participants to provide information and support to peers with similar experiences, while meeting one-on-one with a therapist creates an opportunity to build a personalized recovery plan and focus on their own journey.

By accessing an intensive program that does not require inpatient admission, IOP participants can learn and use relapse prevention strategies in real time. Working recovery into your ongoing life and schedule helps to eliminate the shock of returning to life outside of rehabilitation upon program completion. 

Following the eight weeks of intensive therapy, the program offers ten months of aftercare support. This includes access to the Wagon app and one hour of group therapy per week. Because humans are social creatures by nature, formal therapy groups are proven to be effective in recovery as a source of persuasion, stabilization, and support. This creates an opportunity for healthy relationships, positive peer reinforcement, and way to develop new social skills. The rewarding nature of group therapy can at times produce even more positive benefits than individual therapy [3] [4]. Accessing a combination of group and individual therapy lets participants reap the benefits of both methods.

Staying on top of your recovery

Because addiction is a life-long fight, it is helpful for people in recovery to enrol in an IOP as a way to refresh their knowledge. If you have attended a form of rehabilitation in the past but fear relapse or would benefit from intensive aftercare support, an IOP is a great step-down solution. Participants in the IOP for Substance Use Disorder can re-immerse themselves in recovery education, make adjustments to their recovery plan, and stay connected to a network of support. 

Recovery from a substance use disorder is an ongoing process, and completing a treatment program is only the first step towards healing. The journey to sobriety takes time, patience and support. Enrolling in the right program is the first step towards getting and staying sober.

We can help you or your loved one get on the right path to recovery.
Call us for a free and confidential consultation.

 

Not sure if this program matches where you are in your own journey to recovery? We’ve got you covered. Check out these group therapy options. 

Socialization and Stabilization Group Therapy

Eight week group designed to support individuals, regardless of their position on the recovery continuum. Suitable for those at the precontemplation stage, who are resistant to “formal” programming, or are looking for a starting point to explore available recovery options. Read more.

Relapse Prevention Group Therapy

Eight week group primarily for those who have undergone treatment before. Individuals will be introduced to practical skills, create their own high risk prevention plan, develop a personal commitment statement and participate in exercises that will empower them to live a life without alcohol, drugs and/or other unhealthy behaviours. Read more.

 

[1] NIDA. (2020). Treatment and Recovery. Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery

[2] Melemis S. M. (2015). Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery. The Yale journal of biology and medicine, 88(3), 325–332.

[3] Scheidlinger S. (2000). The Group Psychotherapy Movement at the Millennium: Some Historical Perspectives. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 50(3), 315-339, DOI: 10.1080/00207284.2000.11491012

[4] McRoberts, Chris et al. (1998). Comparative Efficacy of Individual and Group Psychotherapy: A Meta-Analytic Perspective. Group Dynamics Theory Research and Practice 2(2):101-117, DOI:10.1037/1089-2699.2.2.101