IOP Treatment

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a treatment program which specializes in treating substance dependence disorders (drug and alcohol addiction), mental health disorders, and other dependence disorders that do not require residential or intensive inpatient care. An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is an evidence-based, modern method for treating addiction and allows for more flexibility than many other treatment options. IOP treatment enables the patient to carry on with their daily routines, work tasks, and education while still receiving the proper treatment for their conditions. Yet, IOP services are not for every client that attends rehab. However, there are many treatment services available that can help you recover from addiction.

What is IOP?

Intensive outpatient programs can help treat substance abuse, co-occurring disorders (addiction combined with mental illness). It is a part-time rehabilitation program that focuses on behavioral health, group therapy sessions, a close therapist / client relationship, and helping clients develop the skills to personally combat their disorders. In an intensive outpatient program, a client can return to work, continue their education, or go home and be with their family after each session. Sessions range from a few hours in the morning to a few hours in the evening and typically only occur 3 – 5 days throughout the week. Outpatient treatment services are designed to treat those who have already progressed through their recovery journey, for those with less severe addictions or mental health issues, and for those seeking a community to encourage them on their road to sustained sobriety.

As mentioned above, intensive outpatient treatment usually ranges between 9 – 12 hours per week over the course of 3 to 5 days. The main components of IOP are group therapy where patients can experience a greater sense of community and build relationships that can last a lifetime as they learn to communicate better with those who understand them and can relate to their journey. It is a holistic method of treatment designed to encourage and empower addicts to take charge of their recovery and to learn more about the state of their addiction and how to manage their cravings.

In many facilities, intensive outpatient programs also offer individual therapy, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), medication management services, and additional support groups. Some even offer psychiatric and physical assessments and life-skills training services.

What to Expect in IOP Treatment

Outpatient treatment will only take around 9 -12 hours of your time per week. This involves both group therapy sessions, individual behavioral therapies, and potentially a 12-step program depending on your individual needs. Clients participating in an IOP will visit our facility 3 to 5 times a week, 3 hours per session. Depending on your schedule and your treatment needs, the hours and availability for your outpatient treatment will vary – whether it be in the morning or evening and which programs you’ll be enrolled in. It is important to us that we provide the necessary information, services, and treatment goals you will need to experience a sustained recovery. Many intensive outpatient programs will offer greater levels of care than many other outpatient treatment programs. This only means that you will be spending more time at our facility than with some other treatment services.

Intensive outpatient treatment is nearly always focused on the power of behavioral health, cravings and symptoms management, and a viable level of care and community to assist you on your road to recovery. These core elements will help offer a structured approach to health and wellness as you prepare for success.

What Do You Do in IOP?

In your intensive treatment program, you will be required to attend approximately 10 to 12 hours of treatment per week. It is necessary for you to acknowledge the priority your recovery has in your life. In an intensive outpatient program, you will take part in various therapy sessions that cover a variety of substance abuse disorders and mental illnesses. If you are struggling with an opioid addiction, you may be enrolled into a medication-assisted treatment program where a physician will monitor your recovery progress. The primary focus in IOP is counseling and community. The three main types of counseling session you will take part in are:

Group Therapy

Group therapy is usually at the core of most intensive outpatient programs. Many studies have shown that group therapy and an intensive outpatient program is just as effective, if not more so, than individual counseling.

Group therapy offers a variety of benefits:

  • Intensive outpatient treatment allows for greater communication skills and a source of community. Being with like-minded people can help with a sustained recovery and relapse prevention.
  • It allows for a communal effort in supporting, comforting, encouraging one another while also offering opportunities for honest feedback
  • It will reinforce healthy coping habits, social interactions, and behavioral health sessions in a safe place
  • Members who have significantly progressed through their recovery can offer valuable guidance and encouragement for those in the earlier stages of their recovery.
  • A heightened level of care from therapists, group leaders, and specialists who can help clients learn new skills
  • Group support can help those newer to recovery witness positive behaviors and coping habits that can help them better deal with their addiction

There are many types of group sessions that can be offered in an outpatient program. These vary in their levels of support and help address a wide range of treatments and skills that are crucial to a successful recovery.

The various groups in IOPs can include:

Skills-development groups: help clients learn new skills and practice certain behaviors in a safe space

Psychoeducational groups: provide support for those suffering from mental illness and co-occurring disorders by educating them on how their addictions and disorders can affect their lives and the consequences of abuse. These groups can aid in helping clients develop the skills necessary to combat addiction.

Refusal training: can help clients develop skills to deny opportunities for relapse into addiction. This involves role-playing exercises that can help clients effectively handle situations where they may be prone to relapse.

Relapse prevention: these groups help people identify triggering circumstances and how to effectively manage high-risk situations.

Family groups: this is a type of therapy that includes the family and how they can effectively support each other through addiction prevention. These groups can help educate families on the realities of addiction, how they affect relationships, and how to properly deal with those challenges.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is also an important aspect of IOP. However, although important, is not the primary source of support focused on in IOPs. Individual therapy is a more personal time set-aside with the therapist in order for the client to understand more about their own struggles with addiction and begin discussing methods for remaining abstinent. Individual therapy often allows for a deeper dive into the heart of the issues that may not be addressed or appropriate in group therapy. This allows for the client to feel more comfortable talking about personal problems that they may feel uncomfortable sharing with others.

In the earlier stages of treatment, individual therapy will most likely be scheduled between once a week or more often depending on your specific needs. In our program, you will be assigned a therapist who can develop a close relationship with you in order to offer honest mentorship as you walk together toward your recovery.

Support Groups

There will be opportunities for you to participate in additional peer supported groups like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous over the course of your treatment. Many facilities host meetings as a part of their intensive outpatient programs, which makes it easier for clients to attend since they’ll already be present for their own treatments. These 12-step programs provide weekly structure and additional support as they reach the end of their outpatient intensive program. These programs are offered nationwide with varied schedules which can help make it easier for you to fit in your schedule.

What Does IOP Consist Of?

An intensive outpatient program will help offer treatment services catered to your individual needs as you recover from substance abuse and / or mental health disorders. Treatment for your condition can vary depending on your unique needs, but most clients are enrolled in programs that include:

  • Withdrawal prevention treatment
  • Relapse prevention
  • Cravings treatment and counseling
  • Education on addiction and the brain
  • Education on the progression of addiction, addiction as a disease
  • 12-step programs
  • Spiritual counseling (if so desired)
  • Focus on mental health issues and treatment
  • Family focused treatment and counseling

Depending on your unique needs, you may be recommended to take part in more intensive co-occurring disorders, mental health programs, and additional life-skills and communication therapies.

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