Meadows Adolescent IOP Treatment Center

Adolescent IOP Treatment

Today’s teens are dealing with increased levels of stress and mental health symptoms, which can sometimes lead to the development of substance use disorders. The COVID-19 pandemic doubled the previous rates of anxiety and depression. According to a review of studies that surveyed over 80,000 youth during the pandemic, 25% of children and adolescents were dealing with depression, and 20% were dealing with anxiety.

According to Mental Health America (MHA), 50% of those who will develop mental health conditions start showing symptoms by age 14. As mental health symptoms among teens rise, so does the opportunity to learn healthy coping mechanisms and communication skills early in life.

Fifty percent of those who will develop mental health conditions start showing symptoms by age 14.

Whether their symptoms dissipate or become more pronounced, adolescents can find support, discover how to have positive relationships with themselves and others, and learn to self-regulate. One way to build these skills is through adolescent outpatient treatment.

Benefits of Adolescent Mental Health Treatment

Until their mid- to late-20s, teens will not have a fully developed prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for making good decisions, setting and achieving goals, and regulating thoughts and emotions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, this can affect their response to stress. They may choose unhealthy coping habits without fully understanding their consequences.

Substance abuse, risk-taking behaviors, isolating, acting out, disordered or compulsive eating, obsessive use of social media, and other actions can aggravate mental health symptoms instead of resolving them. Additionally, an irregular sleep schedule, or consistent lack of sleep, can impair decision making, focus, and impulse control. 

When teens engage in mental health treatment, they can learn skills that will benefit them both in the short-term and for the rest of their lives. Some of these skills include learning how to:

  • Have healthy self-esteem and a healthy understanding of personal identity
  • Create boundaries that foster healthy attachments
  • Regulate thoughts and emotions, especially those that feel extreme
  • Become more self-aware, compassionate, and understanding
  • Communicate with others in a way that is positive and respectful
  • Cope with various kinds of stress and choose a healthy response
  • Forgive, fail, and make amends
  • Self-correct when negative thoughts or temptations emerge
  • Practice self-care habits that include hygiene, nutrition, sleep, and possibly medication

Learning these skills early in life can help teens become healthy adults with fulfilling lives regardless of their circumstances. Mental health management is important for every person, and the sooner it is learned, the more benefits it can yield.

Adolescent Outpatient Treatment vs. Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Adolescents meeting with therapist

How does adolescent outpatient treatment differ from adolescent intensive outpatient treatment (IOP)? Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, but other times they refer to different levels of care.

Outpatient treatment is a blanket term for receiving care at an outpatient center, whether or not it’s a full program. Intensive outpatient treatment is a full program that generally includes a predetermined mix of sessions and elements of treatment. For some, it can be a step-down from inpatient or residential treatment, while other teens only need an IOP to address their issues. There’s also the option to move up to an inpatient level of care at any time, if that seems more appropriate or the teen’s needs change.

There are many benefits to attending an IOP. Adolescents can receive effective treatment without having to be admitted to a facility, and the quality of the program may be the exact same as that of an inpatient center — just with fewer hours spent in treatment each day. An IOP allows teens to learn during daily treatment hours and implement their skills immediately in the real world rather than waiting until an inpatient treatment program is completed.

Most IOPs also include 12-Step or 12-Step alternative groups that provide support and feedback for living in recovery. Teens can make friends in recovery who live in their local area, which can help if they need to leave former friend groups that encouraged bad habits.

The Importance of Family Involvement and Support

Family involvement can be a critical part of an adolescent’s recovery from addiction or mental health issues. Outside of abusive situations, families can learn and grow together as they support their loved one’s recovery. In fact, families can reinforce good habits, encourage self-regulation, and be a testing ground for communication, conflict resolution, and social skills. 

Supportive family relations remain critical for healthy development throughout emerging adulthood as young adults finalize the developmental negotiation between autonomy and connectedness,” says the Journal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment. “Developmental science indisputably asserts that supportive family relationships are a vital predictor of healthy development for youth … [T]he royal road to psychological autonomy and well-being is caregiver involvement and responsiveness.”

Most families don’t just automatically know how to respond to a loved one who is dealing with addiction or mental health issues. It’s common for family members to take on certain roles to try to help the family stay functional, but these are coping mechanisms that don’t work in the long-term. During family therapy, all members can learn how to communicate, resolve conflict, and respond supportively to their loved one’s recovery.

During family therapy, all members can learn how to communicate, resolve conflict, and respond supportively to their loved one’s recovery.

Research-Backed Teen Outpatient Treatment

At The Meadows Adolescent Outpatient Center-Scottsdale, we offer treatment programs specifically designed for teens ages 13-17 and their families. Using peer support and a wide range of proven therapy methods, the goal of our eight-week intensive outpatient program is to create a support network among the family that can help everyone thrive.

If your teen is dealing with addiction or mental health issues, contact us today to learn more about our after-school treatment program that can help not only your teen, but your entire family find healing and wellness.

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