Intensive outpatient programs, or IOPs, are part of the continuum of care for addiction treatment. IOPs are intended to treat people who need something more than early intervention or general outpatient treatment but don’t need medical detox or 24-hour supervision. These are often people with co-occurring conditions such as depression or anxiety disorders. Typically, someone in an IOP will live at home and commute to the treatment center. An IOP includes at least nine hours of treatment per week, usually three hours a day, three days a week. More than 10 percent of people receiving treatment for substance use disorders are treated in IOPs. How do you know if an IOP is right for you? Here are some factors to consider.
Severity of addiction
It may be difficult for you to judge the severity of your own addiction. You may need to discuss it with your doctor or therapist. Typically, how long you have been addicted and how frequently you use are good rough indicators. One particular concern is whether you need medical detox. If you have managed to get through withdrawal, but you need help and support to continue staying sober, then an IOP may be your best option. If you have tried to quit but you couldn’t endure the withdrawal symptoms, you may need to at least enter a medical detox before considering outpatient treatment.
A number of practical concerns enter into whether you should choose IOP or residential treatment. Some people just can’t take a break from their responsibilities to enter a residential treatment program. This is especially common among single parents. People who can’t afford to miss work and students who don’t want to withdraw from classes also frequently prefer IOPs. IOPs require a significant time commitment but they also give you some freedom to keep up with your regular responsibilities. IOPs typically cost less than residential treatment programs too, which will make a difference for people who are paying out of pocket or whose insurance will only cover a certain amount. Studies have also found that for more severe addictions, length of treatment may be more important than whether the treatment is residential or outpatient. If money is a factor, an IOP may allow you to stay in treatment longer. Since you have to commute to an IOP, your decision might be influenced by whether there is a quality program in your area. You can attend a residential treatment program pretty much anywhere, but to attend an IOP, you need a place to stay.
IOPs can be used as a stand-alone treatment for people with moderate substance use issues and a possible dual diagnosis, or they can be used to step down from residential treatment. Whether or not you decide to continue treatment in an IOP after finishing residential treatment is something to discuss with your therapist or counselor. If you’ve had trouble transitioning from residential treatment to living on your own in the past, IOP might be a good intermediate step. It preserves strong social support while allowing you to integrate what you’ve learned in treatment into your regular life.
If you’re struggling with substance use, Recovery Ways can help. We offer intensive outpatient treatment as well as residential treatment. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.