What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program? Is It Right for Me?

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Addiction is a treatable disorder. Medical professionals classify addiction as a chronic disease. The good news is that the relapse rate for substance abuse is lower than that of other chronic diseases.

In fact, studies show that intensive outpatient programs are just as effective as in-patient treatments.

But what is an intensive outpatient program? Read on for the answers you need.

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse is also known as an IOP. This treatment is recommended for people who don’t need a medically supervised detox.

An intensive outpatient program gives participants more flexibility than an in-patient program. This program can be done part-time so that those enrolled can continue to keep their work and family responsibilities. Patients continue to live at home during treatment.

Though this program is part-time, it does come with an intensive schedule. an IOP program allows you to establish a foundation for long-term addiction recovery in your community from the beginning. You don’t need to wait until you return from a rehab clinic to makes these connections.

Duration of Intensive Outpatient Programs

There is a big difference between the intensity in an IOP and other outpatient programs on the market.

Intensive outpatient rehab requires at least nine hours of weekly participation. Typically, sessions last between three and eight hours a day for either five or seven days a week.

As you begin to become more resilient and progress in your treatment, you will gradually decrease the length of IOP sessions.

There is not a set program length for IOPs because everyone progresses through treatment at their own pace.

As your risk of relapse decreases, the frequency of your treatment likewise goes down.

Best Candidates for an IOP Program

Intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse is not for everyone. IOP is best suited for people who are in the early stages of treatment or are about to transition to home from a hospital or inpatient setting.

IOPs are not suitable for those who need supervision full-time. And it is not for those who have no support networks or whose home situation will make sobriety difficult.

Participants in IOPs that do best of all are those who have support from friends and family and who enjoy structured programs but don’t need 24/7 access to treatment.

If you have concerns, speak with an addiction specialist to evaluate the suitability of IOP for you.

What You Can Expect From Intensive Outpatient Rehab

An intensive outpatient program is very structured to help you get the most from the sessions.

Here are the aspects of IOPs that you can expect.

Individual Therapy

During IOP, you will have time to meet with a therapist for a one-on-one session. This is a chance for you to voice your concerns, ask questions and celebrate successes.

You will typically receive at least one hour of individual counseling a week. But they may be held on an as-needed basis.

Group Therapy

Group therapy sessions are another fundamental aspect of IOP. The number of people in a group and the type of group sessions will vary from one program to another.

It also depends on the needs of the group members. These group sessions are led by trained professionals who facilitate relevant topics that the group discusses.

In these sessions, participants will learn tools and skills on specific concerns. It is also a time for each person to get peer support and encouragement.

group therapy helps individuals in IOP feel that they are not alone in their recovery. There are others who understand the struggles and obstacles. These sessions promote acceptance and healing for all.

Other therapies and educational classes in group settings may include life skills training, meditation or yoga, and relapse prevention.

Family Therapy

Many IOP programs include a family therapy component. This can be so beneficial for both the patient and his or her family.

No addiction leaves a family unscathed. During family therapy, a therapist will help the family work through the damage caused by their loved one’s addiction.

As the family unit processes and confronts the hurt and damage, they can unburden and reach for forgiveness. True reconciliation is a huge benefit of family therapy.

Also, family members will learn ways that they can help and support their family member during the path of recovery.

Family therapy is usually held on an as-needed basis.

Medication Management

An intensive outpatient program may also have a medication management component for some participants.

Using psychotropic medications can be useful for some individuals. These medications are coupled with therapy in order to reduce the physical or psychological distress of recovery.

A licensed psychiatrist must prescribe and oversee the use of these medications. Follow-up appointments with the psychologist are part of medication management.

Discharge Plans

Intensive outpatient programs look to the long-term recovery of their participants.

From the first day that a person begins an IOP, staff work on a discharge plan to help that individual transition back to their regular lives.

Discharge plans help to ensure that individuals have the guidelines they need in order to keep their hard-won sobriety after the end of IOP treatment. These plans are sometimes called continuing care plans.

Bottom Line on Intensive Outpatient Therapy

Thanks for reading. We hope we’ve answered your questions about what is an intensive outpatient program.

At DreamLife Recovery, our IOP includes goal-setting and regular meetings with various support teams to turn your ideas into successful, life-enhancing habits.

Take the first step and contact us to get started.