An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a treatment program that addresses drug and alcohol addiction, along with other mental health and behavioral issues. IOP is ideal for clients who do not require round-the-clock care or a higher level of treatment, such as a residential rehab program.
IOP clients live at home or in a sober living house while they complete their treatment and group sessions occur several times a week over the course of six to eight weeks. The flexibility of the program allows them to maintain other responsibilities and commitments while also attending treatment sessions during the day, before or after work or school, in the evenings, and on the weekends.
Intensive outpatient programs are often offered in conjunction with other addiction treatment services like residential rehab or sober living, as they ease the transition into the next level of treatment and reduce the client’s risk of relapse by providing intensive support.
Intensive Outpatient Program vs. Residential Rehab: What’s the Difference?
Intensive outpatient programs and residential rehab programs are similar in that they both provide intensive clinical care for addiction. However, there are some significant differences.
Residential rehab is highly advantageous for people with severe addictions or who have co-occurring disorders, such as PTSD, anxiety disorders, or depression. Residential treatment provides round-the-clock intensive care to properly address these issues and provide a safe and supportive environment for all clients.
IOP, on the other hand, may be better suited for people who already have a safe home environment or who are living in a sober living house. In some cases, clients may have prior commitments that prevent them from committing to a residential program, leaving IOP as the better option.
In summary, intensive outpatient programs provide rigorous and comprehensive treatment for addiction, offer flexible scheduling, and focus on relapse management and coping strategies for everyday life.
The Addiction Treatment Process
Understanding the need for IOP is difficult if you’re unfamiliar with the addiction treatment process. However, having a clear view of the whole treatment and addiction recovery process can help you understand the benefits of completing IOP in conjunction with residential rehab and sober living.
Generally speaking, the addiction treatment process occurs in stages, with clients completing the most intensive treatment programs first. As they progress in their recovery, they gradually step down into less intensive levels of care that allow for more personal freedoms and responsibilities. The gradual decline in structure allows for a smooth transition from each level of care, and eventually, back into society.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the different stages of addiction treatment include:
- Level 0.5: Early intervention
- Level 1: Outpatient services
- Level 2: Intensive outpatient treatment or partial hospitalization program
- Level 3: Residential treatment
- Level 4: Medically managed intensive inpatient treatment1
An intensive outpatient program is considered “Level 2” treatment, which is designed to address the complex needs of people with addiction and co-occurring disorders.
What to Expect During IOP
If you’re enrolled in an intensive outpatient program, you can expect to spend anywhere from nine to 20 hours in treatment each week (depending on your personal needs) and meet three or more times in a group setting. At Eudaimonia, each treatment session generally lasts about three hours and includes an Education Group and a Process Group with a short break in between.
In addition to group therapy, IOP will consist of individual therapy, educational lectures, specialized therapies like music or art therapy, and intensive 12-Step Program work. At Eudaimonia, clients will cover a variety of topics in IOP, including:
- Social skills
- Restructuring thoughts
- Relapse prevention
- Family dynamics
- The science of addiction
It’s also important to note that an intensive outpatient program is personalized to meet your needs.
Dual Enrollment in IOP and Sober Living
Many people enroll in IOP and sober living at the same time and dual enrollment comes with many benefits for lasting recovery, including:
- A safe and nurturing sober community
- Rigorous recovery programming
- Recreational activities to encourage relationships among sober living residents
- High level of structure
- Increased responsibility and self-management skills
- Gradual transition back into “everyday life”
- Employment assistance, education planning, and volunteer placement
- One-on-one clinical care for psychological issues
- Focus on relapse management
- Development of coping strategies
Although sober living clients don’t have to maintain dual enrollment, it may be encouraged, depending on the person’s treatment needs.
Is IOP Right For Me?
IOP might be right for you if:
- You have a safe and sober living environment or you currently live in a sober living home
- You’ve already completed residential rehab
- You’ve recently relapsed and you need help getting back on track
- Your treatment team has recommended you continue your addiction treatment with IOP
- You’ve spoken with a Eudaimonia representative, who has recommended IOP as the next step for you
At Eudaimonia Recovery Homes, we work with our sister company Nova Recovery Center, to provide a full continuum of care that carries clients through each stage of addiction treatment. If you’d like to learn more about IOP, sober living, or any of our other addiction treatment services, please call (512) 363-5914 today.