Assessing Levels of Care

Since not all SUDs are equally severe, they consequently require different levels of intervention. A careful assessment can determine what level of care is appropriate for each individual patient. Severe opioid use disorder frequently requires intensive, residential treatment in a rehab facility. In case of a moderate alcohol use disorder on the other hand an intensive outpatient program (IOP) may be sufficient.

Substance misuse does not always result in addiction requiring residential treatment. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)—the principal authority for psychiatric diagnoses—no longer uses terms like alcohol abuse or chemical dependence. Instead, the DSM-5 refers to substance use disorders (SUD), which are described as mild, moderate, or severe to indicate the level of severity. In his groundbreaking report on addiction, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy used this terminology, equating a severe substance use disorder with addiction.

IOP Level of Care

When appropriate, IOPs provide effective treatment with fewer disruptions of social, family, occupational, and educational routines and relationships. IOPs serve another crucial function: as a step-down level of care. After weeks of comprehensive addiction treatment, the person in recovery is transitioned to the intensive outpatient program from an inpatient or residential facility. In that case, the IOP functions as a safe buffer zone for patients discharged from residential treatment but wary of returning to their previous environment.

Some patients require a slower step-down schedule and join a partial hospitalization program (PHP) before continuing treatment in an IOP. They no longer require a 24-hour setting but have more intensive work to do in their recovery. Programs vary, but a PHP is generally 6 hours a day, 5 days a week.  An IOP is more flexible and less time consuming. At Diamond IOP, therapy sessions are typically 3 hours a day, 4 days per week.

Diamond IOP offers solutions for patients stepping down from a more intensive level of care as well as for patients requiring IOP treatment only.

At the lowest level of care, people with addiction continue to strengthen their recovery by participating in aftercare programs, alumni activities, and 12-Step meetings.