What Is An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

For individuals that need addiction treatment but cannot commit to partial hospitalization or residential treatment, IOP offers a more viable option. IOP stands for Intensive Outpatient Programs. While these programs are less structured, they can offer vital levels of therapy that support people on their road to recovery.

What is an outpatient program, what does it involve and is IOP right for you? Find out more below to help you decide if IOP is the right addiction treatment option.

What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

An intensive outpatient program is a type of addiction treatment that involves different levels of therapy. The programs are considered “intensive” because participants are required to commit to a stringent schedule and program routine during treatment. Those who commit to treatment must make their scheduled appointments and follow the program requirements.

During IOP treatment, patients meet for therapy several days per week for at least 10 hours per week. Drug testing is usually done to maintain a level of accountability, but patients do get to live at home throughout treatment. While IOP can be offered as a standalone treatment, this form of rehabilitation may be a follow-up option for those leaving a residential program as well.

How an IOP Works

When you commit to an IOP program, you can expect your therapeutic journey to require or involve things like:

  • Mandatory group therapy sessions
  • One-on-one or individual counseling sessions
  • Different types of cognitive behavior therapy
  • Educational or skills courses to address things such as avoiding relapse, addressing trauma and regulating emotions

In IOP, individuals are initially assessed during intake to determine the severity of their addiction and whether IOP would be a good option. During this initial evaluation, you can expect to be asked questions about substance use frequency, your home environment and your outlook on achieving sobriety.

The initial evaluation allows the staff at the IOP center to create an individualized plan that is most likely to work for you. The treatment options and the required frequency of visits may vary depending on your needs.

Once your treatment schedule is made, you will visit the facility several days a week. During these visits, you may take part in different levels of therapy or skills training exercises.

When Is IOP an Appropriate Option for Substance Abuse?

IOP can be an appropriate option for people who want to commit to treatment but have certain obligations or considerations that must be met. IOP can be highly effective for individuals who:

  • Have obligations to family or their career
  • Have a stable home environment and support network without substance use influence
  • Are not at risk of self-harm or overdosing
  • Feel motivated to commit to treatment without clinical or residential structure
  • Do not need medically supervised detox
  • Prefer for their addiction treatment to be more private

In general, outpatient programs are better options for individuals with less advanced cases of substance abuse disorder. The best candidates tend to be more stable and somewhat self-reliant in terms of seeing their way through to sobriety with a good level of guidance along the way. For this reason, individuals that have co-occurring mental health and addiction issues may not always be the best candidates for IOP treatment if the situation is severe. However, IOP can be especially fitting for those who are transitioning from an inpatient program.

What to Consider When Choosing an IOP Treatment Center

IOP treatment centers can offer some of the same services and methodologies. However, these outpatient programs can vary, which means it is a good idea to consider what you need personally before picking a place. A few things to consider with any IOP include:

  • Location: If in-person visits are required (instead of virtual), make sure the location is easily accessible or close to home.
  • Duration: IOP treatment normally lasts between eight and 12 weeks, but durations can also vary depending on your needs.
  • Visit frequency: Many IOPs require you to come in from three to five days every week and those visits may be from two to five hours long.
  • Cost: Insurance may or may not cover an IOP, and costs can vary depending on the place, services offered and more.
  • Types of treatment: Individual and group counseling, behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) are a few types of service options to consider.

Find the Preferred Path to Recovery at Vanguard

Intensive outpatient programs work well for individuals who are committed to recovery and have a good support network at home. If you believe IOP treatment is the right option for you, start your path to recovery at Vanguard Behavioral Health.

At Vanguard, we offer a full collection of addiction rehabilitation services, including outpatient treatment at our locations in Albuquerque, NM, and Tucson, AZ. If you or a loved one is ready to commit to treatment, reach out to find out if IOP is the right option.

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