How can vIOP help college students with their anxiety?


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Virtual intensive outpatient programs (vIOPs) are an innovative, new approach to providing mental health care. With the rise in technological advances came new modes of mental health treatment. Traditional intensive outpatient programs are in person. These force clients with busy schedules to accommodate intensive treatment plans. 

Fortunately, a new type of treatment is here. Virtual intensive outpatient programs allow clients to attend treatment sessions from their tablet or computer. That way, they keep control over their busy schedules. 

This mode of treatment is especially advantageous to college students who juggle daily classes, sports and other extracurricular activities on top of their own mental health. vIOPs can be helpful for college students with various mental health conditions, including mood disorders, trauma-related disorders and anxiety disorders.

Are you one of the nearly 44% of students attending college and struggling with the symptoms of severe anxiety? Here’s why vIOP might be the right choice for you.

What are the benefits of a vIOP for college students with anxiety?

There are several benefits that a college student may reap from attending a vIOP for anxiety. These benefits typically include:

  • Convenient access to intensive outpatient treatment — One of the primary benefits of vIOPs for college students with anxiety is convenience. Virtual programs treat students who struggle to make regular in-person sessions, whether because of their anxiety disorder or a busy schedule. Treatment can be conducted from the comfort of your dorm room. It eliminates in-person wait room times and transportation needs. Your mental health treatment program shouldn’t create an extra source of anxiety. That’s why many college students enjoy virtual intensive outpatient programs.

  • Development of healthy coping skills — An added benefit of vIOP treatment for college students experiencing anxiety is the opportunity to develop healthy coping skills. Coping skills are important for managing anxiety symptoms and improving quality of life. These coping skills can be used as tools throughout the rest of their lives to reduce stress and control the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. It can also help young students avoid developing negative coping skills. One example of a negative coping skill is substance use. Poor coping skills may harm a student’s mental health.
  • Support from a network of alumni — Another benefit of many vIOP for college students is support from alumni networks. Seeing other students who have benefited from a vIOP treatment can be encouraging. It can also provide another resource for college students to manage their anxiety.

What is typically included in a vIOP for college students experiencing anxiety?

If you’re a college student with anxiety who is newly admitted to a virtual intensive outpatient program, here is what you can generally expect during treatment:

  • One initial psychiatric consultation — The standard virtual intensive outpatient program for college students with anxiety includes an initial consultation with a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist will send you paperwork to complete and ask for your vital physical health information, like blood pressure, weight, and resting heart rate. They’ll ask questions designed to evaluate the current state of your mental health and determine if any diagnoses are necessary. This initial consultation will be helpful throughout the rest of your treatment program because it provides baseline health information.

  • One session per week with a primary therapist — College students in need of vIOP treatment for an anxiety disorder will also have access to a licensed clinical therapist at least once every week. These sessions typically last one hour and consist of process-based psychotherapy treatment with a primary therapist.

  • One session every two weeks with a family therapist — Another facet of vIOP for college students with anxiety disorders is biweekly sessions with a family therapist. Process-based psychotherapy sessions are led by a licensed clinical therapist designed to engage the student and their family support system.

  • Frequent group sessions led by a licensed clinical therapist — Virtual intensive outpatient programs often consist of group sessions led by a licensed clinical therapist. Approximately 10 to 15 sessions per week are standard for college students. During group sessions, clients engage with other students undergoing similar situations. They also receive structured guidance from a licensed therapist.

Lightfully helps college students with their anxiety every day

Our mission at Lightfully is to provide high-quality mental health care to various types of clients. We believe in using a focused approach called process-based therapy, with each client’s plan fully customized for their needs. We also use clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care. Our clinicians have worked with various mental health disorders of all ages. If anxiety is interfering with your college classes and activities, it’s time to seek help from a licensed clinical therapist.

Our Lightfully U program services college students through a Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP). It provides students with convenient and flexible access to evidence-based mental health care. Our vIOP provides all the same benefits of a traditional IOP, but with the added comfort of attending sessions from home. Our online program for college students consists of weekly process-based therapy sessions, family therapy sessions, group sessions and experiential activities. Our clients also have access to alumni workshops and resources for additional support. If you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder, we’re confident that we can help address your anxiety symptoms through our vIOP. Our experts can teach you coping strategies and stress mitigation techniques and provide medication if needed. For college students seeking near-immediate treatment, we can provide same-day Lightfully U admissions.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step toward a brighter version of yourself, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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