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Professional Athletes Benefit From Intensive Outpatient Programs

Professional athletes have an increased risk of experiencing substance use disorder (SUD) at some point in their lives. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, "Athletes drink and use drugs for several reported reasons; to socialize, self-medicate pain/anxiety, and help falling asleep [. . .] It is thought that athletes' attitudes towards drugs are heavily influenced by the culture of sports." Staff members at treatment facilities face unique challenges in treating professional athletes due to their public-facing careers and pressure to achieve specific goals. The dedicated care team at Driftwood Recovery works together to ensure professional athletes have the support and resources to successfully achieve sobriety and manage unique challenges in recovery.

Choosing Residential or Outpatient Services for Professional Athletes

People with public-facing careers, including professional athletes, must consider their public image, health needs, and personal preferences when choosing treatment programs. Healthcare workers provide essential guidance for individuals who need additional help navigating substance abuse treatment. Clinicians at Driftwood Recovery understand the importance of maintaining client confidentiality and educating clients to ensure they make informed decisions to support their immediate and long-term treatment goals. One of the most important first steps is choosing between residential and outpatient treatment services. The level of care will help clinicians determine the most appropriate treatment services to meet the client's needs.

Professional athletes can choose from multiple levels of care, including:

  • Residential treatment (RTC)
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Outpatient
  • Community integration program (CIP)
  • Continuing care

Professional athletes may find it challenging to step away from their careers long enough to engage in residential treatment programs. Due to the increased schedule flexibility, intensive outpatient care provides the best outcomes for some individuals. Clients can attend to career and personal responsibilities while receiving essential addiction recovery support. The experts at Driftwood Recovery offer IOP and CIP.

Professional Athletes Have an Increased Risk of SUD

Substance abuse is prevalent in sports. According to Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, "Athletic life may lead to drug abuse for a number of reasons, including for performance enhancement, to self-treat otherwise untreated mental illness, and to deal with stressors, such as pressure to perform, injuries, physical pain, and retirement from sport." Staff members at Driftwood Recovery have experience treating career athletes and understand the importance of acknowledging the impact of sports culture on substance abuse. Many resources are available to help professional athletes achieve and maintain long-term sobriety.

Intensive outpatient services focus on preparing clients to manage their condition successfully while returning to a workplace where they may encounter individuals actively abusing substances. Clinicians play a vital role in ensuring clients recognize the need for support and use the resources at their disposal to prevent relapse, including:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Support groups
  • Peer engagement and mentorships
  • Crisis management strategies

Driftwood Recovery treats professional athletes using personalized care plans designed to accommodate their specific needs and preferences.

How Do Clinicians Provide a Whole-Person Approach to Treatment?

Clinicians play an important role in introducing clients to sober living and strategies for creating a healthier lifestyle. The first steps in providing clients with a whole-person approach to treatment include:

  • Making a genuine connection with the clients and their families
  • Doing a deep dive into the factors impacting client's mental and physical health
  • Using comprehensive assessments and screening tools to ensure an accurate diagnosis

Client families, loved ones, and even teammates may be an essential source of helpful information during the initial phase of treatment. The clinical team ensures clients feel heard, understood, and supported. Gaining insights from the people closest to clients provides essential guidance for the care team. Healthcare professionals are also responsible for anticipating and addressing potential issues people may encounter after treatment by creating comprehensive aftercare plans.

The Importance of Aftercare for Professional Athletes

Continuing care services have become increasingly vital to sustained recovery for many people with SUD. Staff members provide clients with continued support, reducing the risk of relapse by ensuring clients have a lifeline if they experience challenges or a crisis. Career athletes have a higher risk of being triggered at work and in their private lives due to the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse within sports culture. Clinicians mitigate those risks by providing healthy social connections, therapeutic support, and referrals to local recovery resources.

Continuing care services may include the following:

  • Self-help groups
  • Nutritional support
  • Sober companions
  • Mentorships or sponsorships
  • Alumni services
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Family therapy

Athletes work in a high-stress environment and may feel pressured to end treatment quickly. Aftercare services help clients lower stress and manage cravings or other symptoms of SUD after they complete IOP treatment. The continued services provide motivation, emotional support, and additional accountability.

Healthcare Professionals Continue to Support Clients During Aftercare

Professional athletes have an increased risk of relapse due to multiple factors, including the prevalence of substance abuse in sports, chronic stress, pressure to perform well, and the increased risk of chronic or acute injuries. Addiction recovery specialists and other staff members support athletes during every stage of recovery, including the transition to aftercare services.

Confidentiality is critical during aftercare support. Healthcare workers are legally obligated to keep client medical information private and secure. The clinicians at Driftwood Recovery follow HIPAA guidelines and strict policies on recording and sharing client information. Many clients are more likely to follow through with aftercare if they trust their care team.

Intensive outpatient programs are ideal for individuals living or working in environments where they may experience frequent triggers. The time spent at home or work between treatment sessions allows clients to practice the life skills and coping techniques they learn in rehabilitation. Professional athletes have a higher risk of being surrounded by individuals who actively abuse or enable the use of alcohol or drugs. In addition, the clinical team must consider how public responses may affect athletes and other celebrities struggling with SUD. The experts at Driftwood Recovery help clients achieve sobriety and manage their condition using tailored treatment plans. To learn more about how our care team supports professional athletes, contact us today at (512) 759-8330.