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What Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)?

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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.

Understanding Intensive Outpatient Treatment

 Outpatient drug rehab is typically viewed as a transitional program to help people bridge the gap between full residential treatment and returning to independent living. This type of treatment program offers intermediate support. It offers many similar benefits as a full-time program, but the notable difference is the amount of time spent in rehab.

An Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) typically offers a flexible schedule for clients that includes either daytime or 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.

Who is it for?

People who have completed a full-time treatment program but still need support may want to consider outpatient rehab. This type of treatment can also be good for people with families or work commitments, because it allows them to attend therapy programs while residing at home. Participants should be active in their recovery, as they will be exposed to many real-world situations outside of the comfort of supervised therapy.

Due to the nature of outpatient treatment, many clients believe it to be easier or more convenient as they get to sleep at home and go to work each day. Going home each day means you are exposed to a world of triggers as well as plenty of distractions to take your mind off of your number one priority – getting better. Because outpatient rehab is a part-time program, you should re-affirm your commitment to your recovery.

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Most clients are recommended to attend either inpatient treatment or a partial hospitalization program at the outset of their recovery journey because of the dangers of harmful temptations and the more intensive nature of the program. Usually, clients most recommended for outpatient treatment are those who want to continue treatment immediately following a higher level of care.

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 away. 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—the DH program provides integrated mental health treatment along with addiction treatment.

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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

Does it Work?

Outpatient drug rehab can be a successful part of maintaining lasting recovery from addiction. Small treatment groups give people the specialized attention they need to develop the tools for overcoming addiction. Remember that rehab is only as effective as the individual allows it to be. If you actively practice what you learn during outpatient drug rehab, follow up with an aftercare program, and continue to apply these principles throughout your recovery, you can greatly improve your chances of success.

If you or a person you love is having problems with drug abuse, alcohol dependency and mental illness, outpatient rehab may be the answer. Remember that recovery from addiction and alcohol abuse treatment means learning how to cope with intensely emotional situations and identifying when you need help and support. Treatment for addiction relapse, counseling, and aftercare can help you do this, so please call us today.

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