What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

what is an intensive outpatient program

Studies consistently show that patients who participate in an intensive outpatient program significantly improve after completing the program. In fact, one study followed up with patients after nine months. Most had fewer drug and psychological problems. They also had better employment status.

But what is an intensive outpatient program exactly? It can all sound a bit overwhelming at first. However, understanding this treatment approach can offer some real hope for those looking to manage their addictive behaviors more healthily.

Let’s explore what an IOP is, its benefits, and how it differs from more traditional forms of addiction treatment. Read on if you’re ready to take the first step toward lasting recovery. We’re here to walk with you on this journey.

What Is An Intensive Outpatient Program?

An intensive outpatient program is also commonly called an IOP. It’s a form of therapy that helps individuals struggling with:

  • Mental health issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Addiction

They’re similar to most intensive residential programs and offer intensive, extended treatment over short periods. Moreover, IOPs are typically conducted in a clinical setting within an allotted number of hours per day or week. Most involve individual and group therapy sessions. However, some might include family therapy sessions, too.

What’s the goal of an intensive outpatient program? Patients acquire skills to help them improve their mental health. They do so while still living at home and maintaining daily responsibilities such as work or school. This helps them learn how to manage daily life “out in the real world” while experiencing triggers and issues.

So, what is an intensive outpatient program? It’s a type of treatment offering direct supervision. Under direct supervision, patients develop the tools they need for sustainable recovery. The goal is to help those struggling with addiction finally break the cycle for good.

IOPs vs. Residential Treatment

When it comes to battling addiction, there are several different options available. Two of these options are intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and residential treatment, but they differ in several regards.

Residential treatment, also referred to as inpatient rehab, requires participants to stay in the facility for an extended period. This is usually between 30 and 90 days.

In this context, it’s important to consider that residential treatment isn’t better or worse than an intensive outpatient program. They’re simply better suited for those who need 24/7 care and attention. Sometimes, they can be better for those needing a medically-assisted detox.

On the other hand, IOPs still offer monitoring services, counseling, and education. The treatment program itself is quite similar. However, they do this all on an outpatient basis.

That is, you don’t have to move into the facility like you would with residential treatment. Instead, you travel back home each day after a session. This gives those with existing family obligations more flexibility over their recovery program. It’s also ideal for those who need to continue working during treatment. 

Intensive Outpatient Program Benefits

IOPs can offer extraordinary benefits to those in addiction treatment. Namely, these intensive programs provide intensive treatment less intrusively than residential rehab programs. They allow you to lead life near to normal while being supported through intensive therapy, counseling, and 12-step support.

In addition, the benefits of IOPs include the following:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Help measuring the progress of your recovery journey
  • More goal-oriented and focused interventions when necessary
  • Assistance from social workers

IOPs also allow for intensive addiction treatment involving one-on-one and group therapy sessions with substance abuse counselors who are available to help the patient understand their situation and make lasting changes.

Additionally, each intensive outpatient program costs far less than an inpatient model, making them an ideal option for patients who seek intensive services but need to be cost-conscious during recovery. The bottom line? It’s worth considering intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse.

What to Expect During IOPs

Are you interested in an IOP? Great. We believe in their power to help those struggling with addiction and substance abuse. However, what should you expect during your treatment program?

Ultimately, it depends on where you get treatment and what treatment modalities they offer. At New Life Recovery, for example, we focus on cognitive behavioral therapy. However, other aspects of IOPs can be helpful in some cases. To help you understand what to expect, here’s a brief breakdown of a few of those.

12-Step Programs

12-step programs have been a popular form of therapy for decades. You likely know them as the basis for Alcoholics Anonymous. Since then, the 12-step framework has also been used to treat other compulsive behaviors, such as drug misuse and eating disorders.

One of the greatest benefits of 12-step programs is access to ongoing support. The group aspect allows most people to continue their progress by attending community meetings after completing their IOP or similar program. Furthermore, learning about the 12 steps helps provide most with a base from which to start their long-term recovery.

All in all, 12-step programs and support groups are incredibly helpful. While they might not be a part of every IOP, they’re a great option to explore after you complete your treatment.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an increasingly popular type of therapy. In a clinical setting, it can help people with the following:

  • Identify and renounce cognitive distortions
  • Increase self-regulation
  • Build coping skills

In most contexts, you’ll hear about CBT as a treatment for depression or anxiety. However, cognitive behavioral therapy is especially beneficial in an intensive outpatient treatment program. It helps teach those in recovery the necessary tools for healthier problem-solving and managing stress more effectively in the future.

How does it do that? What’s the secret behind this type of therapy? CBT is about helping you recognize cognitive distortions that might lead you back into your old behaviors. Once you recognize them, you’ll learn how to manage them. CBT teaches you how to use logical thinking to manage and overcome your distortions.

Additionally, cognitive behavioral therapies focus on teaching relapse prevention techniques. This can help you avoid triggers that could put you at risk of returning to substance use or other negative behavior patterns.

In short, cognitive behavioral therapy is an essential part of any intensive outpatient treatment program. It helps equip you with the skills needed to manage your conditions effectively.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a type of counseling that emphasizes the importance of wanting to change behaviors. This evidence-based treatment is designed to help individuals struggling with substance abuse overcome their challenges. It helps by providing an environment where they can openly discuss any doubts or concerns about making changes.

Overall, motivational interviewing encourages you to explore your thought patterns, values, goals, and long-term aspirations. If you’re interested in ditching drug and alcohol addiction for good, this will be an important part of your recovery.

It also provides ongoing support throughout recovery by helping you stay focused on positive outcomes. It can also help you learn how to attainable goals. In short, motivational interviewing is a very effective way to move beyond your current circumstances toward a healthier life.

Other Therapies

Some IOPs will help connect you with other beneficial therapies. Typically, a specialist will work with you to identify your triggers, issues, and root cause. If they think another treatment or therapy could help you, they’ll try to connect you with an approved specialist in your network.

What kinds of therapies are we talking about here? It depends, honestly. For example, EMDR is often a great option. It’s a type of psychotherapy developed specifically to treat psychological trauma. It works by helping patients reprocess emotions and memories attached to traumatic experiences that may be contributing to their addiction.

On the other hand, ketamine therapy can modulate glutamate activity in the brain, reducing cravings and symptoms of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. Overall, it’s best to speak with your program manager about your options.

There’s a solution out there for you, we promise.

Intensive Outpatient Program Requirements

Do you think an intensive outpatient program sounds right for you? Perhaps it sounds like the ideal option for a loved one. At New Life Recovery, all you have to do is get in touch. You can fill out our form online or call us directly. We’ll work to schedule you for an assessment quickly. Based on the assessment, one of our specialists will recommend the right program option for you.

Get Substance Use Disorder Treatment

So, what is an intensive outpatient program? It’s a potentially life-saving treatment program that can help you overcome addiction once and for all.

At New Life Recovery, we’ve been helping individuals and families take on the challenge of sobriety since 1991, so we have the expertise and experience to put your recovery first. Contact us today to find out how we can help. Never underestimate the power of having professionals on your side.