Intensive outpatient programs (IOP's) can be extremely beneficial for any young adult, especially those young adults who are experiencing mental health issues.
Adolescence is an important period for teens' mental, social, and emotional well-being. Throughout their teenage years, adolescents' brains undergo significant changes, establishing behavioral patterns that will last into adulthood. As a result, existing mental disorders among children often become more intense during the transition to adolescence. In addition, untreated mental health disorders among adolescents could negatively impact academic performance, interpersonal relationships, and other long term aspects of their lives.
When teens' moods disrupt their ability to function on a day-to-day basis, it might indicate a serious mental health disorder that needs attention. In 2019, approximately one in seven adolescents experienced a mental disorder, amounting to 166 million adolescents globally. Moreover, in a 2020 survey, seven in 10 teens reported experiencing mental health issues during the pandemic.
Every teen is unique, and it's essential for your teenager to receive the level of care that is right for them. Although weekly therapy and counseling sessions can be extremely beneficial, some teens need a higher level of care to work toward their mental health goals. An extended treatment team offers a holistic, multifaceted approach that many teens and families need to start thriving instead of just coping. Here's how to take action and find your teen the support they need so they can live a healthy, happy life.
Intensive outpatient programs are similar to inpatient programs, which focus on active participation and engagement. However, if your teen is unable to set aside academic commitments or other responsibilities to be fully immersed in an inpatient program, IOPs offer a middle ground. And in many cases, IOPs offer a more affordable alternative to traditional residential treatment programs while providing high-quality, comprehensive care.
Throughout their treatment, teenagers can use their coping strategies in real life to navigate their mental health concerns and cope with stressful situations. In addition, research shows that many intensive outpatient programs have a higher success rate than other outpatient approaches. Some of the top benefits of IOPs for adolescents and young adults include:
Intensive outpatient programs provide comprehensive treatment for a wide range of mental health conditions. These personalized treatment programs include several evidence-based modalities, including group and individual therapy, family therapy and support, and mindfulness practices, to ensure a successful recovery and provide a high level of care throughout treatment.
At Charlie Health, our experienced, compassionate team of clinicians will work with your teen and family throughout the treatment process to create an individualized treatment plan based on your teen's unique needs, preferences, and experiences. Our IOP program can help treat the following conditions in adolescents and young adults:
Many mental disorders first emerge during adolescence, including depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Although mental illnesses typically have a genetic factor, environmental factors can also contribute to their onset. For example, ADHD may not manifest until puberty, and forms of depression may not become apparent until early adolescence.
Intensive outpatient programs are best for adolescents and young adults who experience mental health concerns that disrupt their daily functioning. If your teen needs a higher level of care than once-a-week individual therapy sessions offer, or they don't meet the necessary criteria for inpatient treatment, an IOP offers a convenient, flexible solution. Some signs that an IOP program might help your teen include:
Although experimenting with drugs or alcohol is not encouraged, it does not necessarily suggest a substance use disorder. With that said, if your teen engages in drug or alcohol use and also engages in the other behaviors listed above, this combination of behaviors indicates a red flag, and it's worth seeking professional help.
Even if your teen doesn't openly express their feelings, it's important to keep an eye on their behavior. Talking about mental health concerns with teenagers can be a touchy subject. Teenagers might not be willing to express their feelings if they don't think that you will greet them with unconditional support. To talk to your teen about their mental health, keep an open, honest line of communication to show your teen that they can talk to you about anything. Often, the best way to start the conversation is to talk about your own experiences.
Remember: adolescence is a time of transition and change. However, severe and dramatic changes in behavior may be red flags of mental health issues. These behaviors don't always indicate a psychiatric diagnosis, such as major depression, but could still signal something going on in their life. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple conversation to help you decide if your teen's behavior warrants individual counseling or a clinical treatment program.
If your teen is struggling with their mental health, it's essential to give them the support they deserve. Left unchecked, mental health disorders can be incredibly damaging. To provide a safe, supportive environment at home, parents should keep an eye on their teen's moods and behaviors to watch out for any signs of mental illness.
At Charlie Health, our accessible, personalized treatment programs are designed to help clients and families meet their goals. With our telehealth platform, you can connect with an experienced, licensed therapist from the comfort of your own home using your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Contact us today to learn more about treatment options for your teen.