What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Hello friends!

I’m back to talk about addiction treatment and today I’m going to focus on “IOP” or intensive outpatient programs. There are so many different types of treatment and acronyms in addiction treatment, that trying to sort out what each means can be confusing.

Intensive outpatient programs are outpatient programs that generally range in 3 to 9 hours of outpatient groups per week. In order to be admitted into an intensive outpatient program, the patient normally needs to meet criteria for substance use disorder moderate or severe. However, in order for IOP to be an appropriate level of care, the patient must not need to be medically detoxed, and they must have a healthy home environment that is supportive of their recovery.

Patients in intensive outpatient programs attend more groups per week in the beginning, and then attend less groups per week as they progress through the program. Most IOP treatment lasts between 8 and 16 weeks, and that includes different phases that each patient progresses through.

The goal of IOP is to help the patient maintain sobriety while also learning and implementing healthy coping skills into their daily life. The benefit of IOP is that the patient can remain in their home while they are practicing new behaviors and coping skills. Throughout IOP the patient will be doing drug tests and breathalyzer’s in order to help them stay sober, and they will also start attending self help support groups like AA.

As the patient progresses through the program, they attend less treatment groups, but are expected to increase their level of participation in self help support groups and communities. Most IOP treatment also have a “relapse prevention”phase of treatment, which is a shorter, weekly group that the patient can continue to attend for at least a year after they have completed IOP. This helps the patient stay connected to healthy support systems, and can increase the chances of long-term sobriety.

I hope this article is helpful in explaining intensive outpatient programs. They are an effective type of treatment for the appropriate patient. If you are considering treatment for addiction, it is best to have an evaluation with an addiction professional.