Before beginning an intensive outpatient program, you’ll likely have a bunch of questions. Mainly, “What is an intensive outpatient program and what am I getting myself into?” The name itself and the process of asking for help might give you a bit of anxiety. After all, it sounds… intense. But fear not! We’re here to explain. To help eliminate any fear of the unknown, let’s break down what exactly an intensive outpatient program (IOP) is, so you know what to expect when you begin your program.
What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program?
Intensive outpatient programs are treatment programs that address addictions, depression, eating disorders, mental health issues, and other problems that do not require detoxification or round-the-clock supervision. Residential treatment, or inpatient programs, typically require 30 days of full-time, in-residence treatment and withdrawal from your life in the outside world. IOPs enable patients to continue with their day-to-day lives and patients can live at home, go to work, and resume their family responsibilities while continuing their treatment and recovery.
Who Is Intensive Outpatient Care For?
We know, the name is always a bit jarring, but it’s really not that extreme.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines five levels of treatment as part of a continuum of care.
- Level 0.5: early intervention services
- Level 1: outpatient services
- Level 2: intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization services
- Level 3: residential or inpatient treatment services
- Level 4: medically managed intensive inpatient treatment services
As you can see, IOP programs sit at level 2, right in the middle of the spectrum. IOPs serve as an important transitional phase for those who need help to overcome addiction or mental health issues. Often times patients have first completed an inpatient program and are now ready to continue recovery in the outside world and resume their responsibilities.
Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Programs
While we’ve already established that maintaining daily responsibilities is the biggest benefit to IOPs, there are also many others worth noting.
Strengthen Your Network
Entering an IOP program helps you build a network of people to help you with your recovery. It starts at home with your friends and family, as the program involves them in your treatment process. You will also engage in group meetings and therapy sessions with other people who are going through the same struggle.
These people will form the support network that will help you through the difficult process of recovery and sobriety.
Maintain Your Privacy
Often, the embarrassment of disclosing that you are in recovery or have an addiction is an obstacle to seeking treatment. IOPs actually allow you to maintain your privacy because they do not require you to explain where you’ve been for the past month.
The added privacy and anonymity help you feel confident and safe during your recovery process.
A More Inexpensive Option
Unless your inpatient treatment is covered by insurance, you’ll end up paying out of pocket, and these programs are much more expensive than IOPs. Round-the-clock supervision, programs, doctors, therapists, meals, and boarding are all factored into the price of residential treatment.
With an IOP, you not only have the added flexibility to your life, but it’s much less expensive without needing to stay at a facility for an extended period of time. Not to mention, since you can remain in the workforce, income is not lost.
What to Look for In an Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program
If you think an IOP program is the right fit for you, try to find a program that meets the following requirements:
- Easily-accessible treatment: You can’t wait to enter a program. Find one that doesn’t have a waitlist, whether it be public or private, and ensure your meetings and appointments are at locations and times that fit within your schedule. Remove as many obstacles as you can. Make the program convenient to you and you won’t have excuses to not go.
- Personalized care: Your program should not be one-size-fits-all. Make sure the program is tailored to you and your specific needs, situation, and stage of recovery.
- Medical treatment should be provided or readily available if needed.
- Seek research and evidence-based treatment over alternative treatment methods. A mix of the two is ideal, but the basis of any treatment program should be on medical detox and therapy.
- Social support should be encouraged. You need a strong support system to avoid relapse. This should involve peer support in group therapy, meetings, and an aftercare plan that encourages you to build your network and involve your friends and family.
- Ongoing treatment should be encouraged. The duration of your treatment is a critical component of successful recovery. Your specific plan will be based on your individual circumstances, but addiction recovery is a lifelong endeavor, not a catch-and-release.
Is An IOP Program Right for You?
An IOP therapy program might be right for you if you have responsibilities at home that you simply cannot leave for an extended stay at an inpatient facility. An IOP is also a great option if you have already conducted your detox program and want to continue your recovery. It gives you the opportunity to practice the skills you’ve learned in residential treatment and put them to use in the real world while you build your sobriety network.
If you’d like to learn more about intensive outpatient programs or find one near you, reach out to a member of our team today.
Help is available
Call us at 833-398-2453 for a free, confidential assessment.