What is an IOP Program?

An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a treatment program designed to treat substance abuse, addiction, mental health issues (i.e. depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, etc) and other dependence issues that don’t require inpatient detoxification or 24/7 medical attention. An outpatient intensive program enables patients to receive the care they need for their afflictions without needing to sacrifice their daily-routines in order to be treated. Residential, or inpatient programs, require for the patient to live at the facility in order to receive the proper care. IOP patients can live at home and continue work at their jobs, or education at school, and be with their families.

In some cases, IOPs are added into a residential program in order to help wean the patient off of their inpatient procedures and adapt back into their community and family. Intensive outpatient treatment is designed to help offer support systems for those struggling with addiction and mental illness, as well as prevent relapse, and encourage healthy coping habits.

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders (mental health and addiction disorders) is a form of rehab where people receive the necessary care for their conditions on a part-time basis. They are able to return home and continue working, school, community programs, and more after each session. IOPs are a great source of encouragement and support for those who have completed inpatient programs, have less severe addictions, or in need of a community in the midst of mental illness struggles.

These treatment programs typically occur over the course of 9 to 10 hours spread over the course of 3 to 5 days per week. Group therapy are crucial components to intensive outpatient programs. The patients can experience a sense of community and build lasting relationships among people who understand and relate to their struggles. This can help people learn how to communicate better, socialize without the need of substances, learn how to help support other people and allow for people to encourage them, and have a structured and purposeful recovery plan.

Some IOPs offer individual therapy, medication-assisted treatment (and medication management), additional support groups, psychiatric evaluations, and life-skills training.

What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?

The most obvious difference between an intensive outpatient program and an inpatient program is the difference in housing. Inpatient clients will live at the facility where they are receiving treatment. An IOP patient will be able to return home after each treatment session. Other differences between IOP and inpatient programs are the various offerings inpatient treatment offers that an intensive outpatient program will not (i.e. meals, housing, medical assistance, and recreational activities).

Inpatient programs are usually a good fit for people who have longstanding or more severe addictions. Some people in these programs have had multiple relapses and need to be kept away from drugs and alcohol for an extended period of time. Inpatient facilities are also good options for people who live in home environments that are particularly unstable or triggering or who have mental health conditions that require dual diagnosis treatment.

Inpatient programs are a great source of help for those who are suffering from severe addictions and mental disorders. Many people may be prone to relapse and have difficulty managing their treatment on their own. Inpatient care helps give the patient a place completely free of temptation and triggering circumstances. However, inpatient treatment isn’t for everyone. Below we address the various Pros and Cons of inpatient treatment and intensive outpatient programs.

Pros and Cons of IOP

Every program will differ in how it effectively treats each individual’s personal needs. Below are a few differences that may help someone determine whether or not they need an inpatient program or an IOP.

Pros of Inpatient Treatment:

  • 24hr medical assistance
  • Drug free environment
  • Ability to free themselves from triggers

Con of Inpatient Treatment:

  • High-cost
  • Extended period of time committed to recovery
  • Time away from work, school, and family members

Pro of IOP:

  • Flexibility with treatment scheduling
  • Living at home
  • Continue with work and school
  • Lower cost

Con of IOP:

  • Lack of medical assistance/detox
  • Possibility for relapse due to unhealthy home environment

Some people may greatly benefit from inpatient treatments and some may find that outpatient programs are more suited for their personal needs. In some cases, someone may take part in an inpatient program and be transitioned into an IOP. If you are wondering which program is best for you, talk with your healthcare professional to determine which may be best for you.

What Does IOP Consist Of?

In an intensive outpatient program, you will take part in services catered to treat your individual needs on a weekly basis. You will most likely take part in group therapy, but may also be assigned an individual therapist to track the progress of your treatment.

IOP services vary. The most common treatment programs include:

  • Withdrawal prevention
  • Relapse prevention
  • Cravings and use management
  • 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 therapy.

What is IOP Level of Care?

IOPs vary in the therapies and treatment options they provide. Their level of care differs depending on the client’s needs. Below is a list of the most common therapy options

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that helps educate the client on their destructive habits, thoughts, behaviors, and patterns associated with their addiction disorder. These treatments help the client develop healthier habits and patterns of thought.
  • Motivational Interviewing: A therapist will help engage the client and discuss why the patient may be reluctant to receive treatment. They will be asked how they have recognized addiction in their life and how it has affected their ability to function.
  • 12-step facilitation: an IOP program that helps set attainable goals during recovery and communal support during stages of sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous aid in IOP programs.
  • Matrix Model: a model of treatment that combines the previously mentioned programs. It focuses on building a strong client-therapist relationship, time management, relapse prevention practice, and peer support groups

What are the Levels of Treatment?

There are varying stages of addiction and levels of what treatment will look like according to the severity of the addiction or mental illness. These levels consist of:

  1. Early Intervention: Preventing Addiction
  2. Outpatient Treatment: Medication Management, MAT
  3. Intensive Outpatient Treatment / Partial Hospitalization: MAT, Counseling, Detox
  4. Inpatient Treatment Services: Detox, Withdrawal Treatment, Relapse Prevention
  5. Medically Managed Intensive Inpatient Treatment: Severe Addiction, Overdose Treatment

How Long is Intensive Outpatient Treatment?

Most IOP services vary in length depending on the needs of the client. When you first visit our facility, our on staff therapist will help create an individualized program based on your unique recovery process. You will then begin creating a manageable schedule based on your availability and how many hours and days you need to meet per week. This schedule can still be adjusted even after treatment begins. Your progress through the program and how quickly you recover will determine the length of your IOP treatment.

Most programs will meet only on weekdays. Most centers will begin early in the morning before standard work hours and in the evenings once the work day has ended. Most services run around 3 hours per day. If your program begins at 7 a.m. it will most likely end around 10 a.m. Evening sessions may begin at 6 p.m. and end around 9 p.m. Most IOP programs only last from a few months to a year.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Response and Updates for Clients, and Referents Read More