An intensive outpatient program, sometimes referred to as IOP, offers treatment for drug and alcohol addiction on a part-time basis.
Instead of living at the facility for the duration of your treatment, you’ll return home each night.
About the IOP Experience
One advantage of using IOP for your addiction treatment is that you’ll be able to more easily manage family and professional responsibilities while getting the treatment you need to maintain your sobriety. An IOP can also be beneficial if you’re searching for a treatment option that lets you immediately apply the lessons you’re learning to real-world recovery challenges.
In IOP, the majority of your treatment involves group therapy. Groups meet at a variety of times throughout the week, so you can choose the sessions that best accommodate your scheduling needs.
In addition to group therapy, you will meet with an individual counselor periodically to discuss your recovery goals and progress. Random drug testing is also a required part of the IOP experience.
Some of the topics you’ll learn about in IOP include:
- Understanding the disease of addiction
- Recognizing and managing your cravings
- Handling stress without turning to drugs or alcohol
- Building a strong support system
- How being diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder affects your recovery
- Understanding the 12 Steps
The IOP care team includes a wide range of addiction treatment professionals. You’ll work closely with social workers, chemical dependency counselors, clinical psychologists, professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists to better understand the roots of your addiction and how to maintain your sobriety.
Choosing the Treatment Option That’s Right for You
Although using an IOP to begin your recovery journey can be beneficial in many cases, some people with substance use disorders need the added support that an inpatient program provides.
Here are some examples of circumstances where inpatient treatment might be a better choice than IOP:
- Lack of support at home. If you don’t have access to a strong support system at home or you’re living with someone who also suffers from a substance use disorder, inpatient treatment is better suited to helping you build a strong foundation for your recovery.
- Outside stress is contributing to addiction. If professional responsibilities, caregiving duties, or other commitments are causing you a great deal of stress and anxiety, having time to focus solely on your recovery may be more effective than trying to juggle everything at once.
- More comfortable in individual settings. Since IOP relies heavily on group settings, someone who struggles to participate in group activities may prefer the extensive one-on-one support offered in an inpatient setting.
Alternatively, some people choose to enter IOP when they need an additional level of support after leaving residential or partial residential treatment. Having this extra opportunity to develop skills for sober living can be beneficial for someone who has struggled with relapse before or is dealing with co-occurring disorders that pose additional challenges for the recovery process.
You should discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider to determine a placement option that is best suited to your individual needs.