Destination Hope Blog » What Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)?

What Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)?

women talking at outpatient treatment center

If you’ve been looking into different drug or alcohol rehab options, you may have learned about intensive outpatient treatment programs, or IOP. This unique form of addiction treatment allows clients to participate in therapy and work on their recovery skills while continuing to live at home and attend school or work. An IOP has been found to be just as effective as inpatient treatment programs.1

Intensive outpatient treatment isn’t right for everyone. This article takes a closer look at the benefits and limitations of IOPs.

Understanding IOP

An IOP typically offers a flexible schedule for clients that includes both daytime and evening therapy sessions. Clients usually meet three or four times a week, and each client’s treatment plan is customized to meet their unique needs. Most plans include a combination of one-on-one counseling, group therapy and educational sessions.

In therapy, clients work on different elements of recovery. They strengthen their coping skills, learn how to effectively handle cravings and work on stress-reduction strategies. Intensive outpatient treatment also helps clients explore the underlying issues that may have contributed to their substance abuse.

Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Treatment

There are many reasons people choose IOP for their substance abuse treatment. Flexibility is a key factor; an intensive outpatient program allows you to fit therapy sessions and group meetings into your existing schedule, allowing you to keep up with family and professional obligations. IOP also gives your family members the chance to participate in counseling with you.

One often-overlooked benefit of intensive outpatient therapy is the ability to put the coping strategies you learn into action right way. This makes it easier to reinforce your new set of skills and incorporate them into your life.

Making the Choice

IOP offers many benefits, but it’s important to make sure it’s the right treatment setting for you. Intensive outpatient treatment is best for people who meet certain criteria:

  • You have a strong support system at home
  • You’re transitioning from a residential treatment program
  • You have work or family commitments that make it difficult to be away from home for an extended period of time

Even individuals who have a dual diagnosis of both addiction and a mental health disorder can benefit from intensive outpatient treatment—many programs provide integrated mental health treatment along with addiction treatment.2

While IOP can be effective for a wide range of individuals, this treatment setting may not be the optimal choice for you if meet any of these criteria:

  • You are not yet strongly motivated to recover
  • You have other medical conditions that need to be addressed before you can treat your addiction
  • You have an eating disorder where you require support for eating meals

Intensive outpatient treatment is an effective way to hone your recovery skills while maintaining many of your regular commitments. This type of treatment combines the support of a residential treatment program with the flexibility of living at home. Recovery is a lifelong process, and IOP can equip you with the skills you need to stay on the path toward long-term sobriety.