How IOP & Extended Care Options Can Increase Long Term Recovery


The majority of adolescents who enter treatment for substance abuse will return to using drugs and alcohol following treatment. This is due to one major factor. Research shows that teenagers who enter treatment either do not complete the program or refuse any continuing care treatment options. Studies after studies have shown a positive correlation between the time spent in a treatment program and the likelihood of long-term sobriety. Extended care programs serve as anchors on the journey to recovery and provide essential tools and resources for sustained healing. Let's delve into five key aspects of extended care that nurture adolescents' recovery and empower them for life.


What is Extended Care?


The idea of extended care encompasses any additional therapeutic programming that occurs following the completion of an adolescent residential treatment program. Extended care generally consists of partial hospitalization programs (PHP), intensive outpatient programs (IOP) and sober living. Let’s take the example of Paul. Paul finishes a thirty day in-patient dual-diagnosis adolescent program. He then steps down into a PHP program for 30 days. During this time he continues to see a therapist and engage in group sessions Monday through Friday. He may return home at night or he may live in a sober living environment. Once he completes PHP, he steps down into a 60 day IOP where he gains a bit more independence. He’s enrolled in therapeutic programming 3-5 days a week for a few hours at a time. Completing that he transitions back into day to day life while continuing to live in sober living for another 6 months. At the end of his extended care program Paul will have been in a supportive, accountable, and therapeutic environment for 10 months while slowly preparing and processing his transition back into the world.


5 Ways Extended Care Supports Recovery


1. Continuity in Therapy


Our kids do a lot of learning while in residential care. It’s outside the confines of the treatment center though that what they’ve learned is put into practice. Extended care offers a lifeline back to their foundations. It maintains the therapeutic momentum that began during the initial phases of treatment. It ensures your teen has consistent access to counseling, group therapy, and family sessions. By delving deeper into underlying issues and fostering healthier coping mechanisms, therapy in extended care becomes a beacon of hope and healing for adolescents navigating the complexities of recovery.


2. A Sanctuary of Structure


For adolescents in recovery, stability and structure are akin to sturdy sails guiding them through stormy seas. Extended care programs provide a structured environment. With a balanced blend of therapy, education, recreation, and downtime, these programs cultivate discipline and focus. The predictable rhythm of daily life in extended care pushes back against the chaos of living in addiction. It teaches how to live life on life’s terms. 


3. Academic Anchors


So many of our children have their academic career derailed by mental health and substance abuse struggles. It’s easy to feel discouraged and overwhelmed once you’re off the educational path. Extended care programs recognize this challenge and offer academic support services. From tutoring sessions to liaising with schools, these programs ensure that adolescents stay afloat academically while maintaining their recovery. .


4. Sailing through Life Skills


Recovery isn't merely about abstaining from substances; it's about mastering the art of overcoming life's adversities. Extended care programs serve as compasses, guiding adolescents towards the essential life skills that will help them grow into successful adults. From budgeting basics to communication strategies, these programs empower adolescents to chart their course confidently.


5. Crewmates in Peer Support


The saying goes that addiction survives in isolation but recovery thrives in community. The teenage years are such a formative period and being surrounded by like-minded peers who’ve experienced the same struggles you have is a pivotal source of strength. By fostering connections and camaraderie among participants, these programs create a sense of belonging and understanding. Through shared experiences and mutual encouragement, adolescents find strength in their peers, propelling them towards brighter horizons.


Learn More


If you think extended care may be the right fit for your loved one, call Sustain Recovery today. We are an adolescent dual-diagnosis treatment program offering a full continuum of care from sub-acute detox to outpatient programming. We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have. Call us today.