With so many available treatment options, it can be hard to determine what program you need and when. While you need a full continuum of care, going out of order or skipping a step could mean increasing your risk at a relapse. Understanding when and how an intensive outpatient addiction treatment program will fit into your overall addiction treatment plan is crucial to your success.

What Is an Intensive Outpatient Addiction Treatment Program?

man and therapist having a session in his intensive outpatient addiction treatment program

Before you consider beginning an intensive outpatient addiction treatment program, you must understand what the plan is. An IOP is a program during addiction treatment that a client will enter after a medical and clinical assessment. During the program, an individual will partake in numerous meetings and therapies while returning home each night. 

The majority of their days are spent at the facility even though they don’t live on site. Where an individual resides is the main difference between an intensive outpatient addiction treatment program and a residential program.

Where an Intensive Outpatient Addiction Treatment Program Fits in Your Plan

There are two different scenarios where an intensive outpatient addiction treatment program is best. The first scenario is when the program acts as a stepping stone down from a residential program. Instead of going from a structured routine to being on your own, use an intensive outpatient program to adjust to life outside of your treatment center gradually. 

As you continue to engage in therapy sessions and other meetings, you begin to get an idea of how life will work once treatment is complete. This gradual shift helps to reduce the risk of relapse.

The second scenario is if a medical and clinical assessment shows a residential program isn’t necessary. Professionals will determine what types of programs you need to ensure you only receive the care that will be beneficial to your progress. For those whose addiction isn’t severe or as long-lasting, an intensive outpatient addiction treatment program might be a suitable starting point for treatment. 

However, you should never be the one to make the call on what kind of treatment program works best for you. Always speak with a professional at your treatment center to determine where to begin in your treatment plan.

What to Expect at an Intensive Outpatient Addiction Treatment Program

Various recovery centers will specialize in different approaches. The structure of each program is unique to the individual, as well as the amenities of each facility. One center may focus on one specific type of care over another. 

However, certain components generally make up all outpatient treatment programs. As a patient, you can expect 10-12 hours of group and individual therapy every week. We also encourage participation in a 12-step program. 

These scheduled sessions will take place at the facility. To reiterate, the time spent at the facility will be dependent upon your needs and flexibility. Typically, patients will visit a facility three to four times per week, often for three hours at a time. 

As stated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), most intensive outpatient treatment programs require 9 to 20 hours of participation per week. Compared to a standard outpatient program, an IOP offers a higher level of care. This higher level of care requires more time spent at the center throughout the week.

Components of an Intensive Outpatient Addiction Treatment Program

Therapy allows patients to truly address the underlying roots of addiction. Most importantly, it allows individuals to work through their problems and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Aside from medical support, different evidence-based forms of therapy are a crucial part of treatment. 

Group Therapy 

Group therapy is a core part of the majority of intensive outpatient treatment programs. A handful of research done has shown that group participation is as effective as individual therapy in treating addiction.

Group participation and support benefit an individual during the recovery process in many ways. Some of these benefits include:

  • Group therapy allows patients to work on their communication skills. It also serves as a great resource for socialization. 
  • A support system is a crucial part of working through any issue, addiction included. Individuals will be able to find encouragement, comfort, and honest feedback from peers that understand their struggles. 
  • It reinforces healthy ways of interacting and provides a safe community that is vital in the recovery journey. 
  • Group members who are farther along in their recovery can offer valuable assistance and empathy to those who just started their recovery journeys. 
  • Group therapy serves as a forum for therapists and group leaders to pass on important information, teach new skills, and guide patients.
  • Groups can be a place to witness more positive behaviors associated with the recovery and to practice new modes of dealing with addiction.

Overall, group therapy is a powerful resource during drug and alcohol treatment. It is one of the main focal points of intensive outpatient treatment. If you’ve ever felt alone or like nobody else understands, group therapy targets that exact issue.

Individual Therapy

Another major aspect of intensive outpatient treatment is individual therapy. The patient will receive one-on-one sessions with a trained therapist that specializes in addiction treatment. This kind of therapy is a key part of learning coping mechanisms. 

The goal is to teach the patients the skills they utilize long after the treatment program has ended. There are many benefits to individual therapy, such as:

  • The client is the sole benefactor. In other words, individual sessions allow the patient to receive full attention from the therapist. As a result, this becomes a very focused and intense treatment.
  • There’s a greater sense of intimacy. During one-on-one sessions, the client gets direct feedback regarding their progress from the therapist. The therapist will also have a more concentrated and in-depth understanding of the problems at hand. The alliance between the therapist and patient is a significant aspect of the recovery journey.
  • Confidentiality is one of the main principles of individual therapy. Individuals can freely share their thoughts and worries in a private setting. There may be details you only feel comfortable sharing in a one-on-one setting. That’s where individual therapy comes in.
  • Individual therapy offers a more comfortable pace for the patient. There is no moving too fast or too slow. 
  • Individual therapy will focus on developing coping mechanisms that work for the unique person at hand. Everyone has their unique perspective and various circumstances that influence how they function. Thus, it is crucial to develop skills that work for each individual. 

Complementary Therapies

Intensive outpatient treatment programs also offer alternative therapies. These therapies are meant to complement the core part of treatment. Treatments such as art therapy, music therapy, yoga, as well as other forms of care may be offered. 

These treatments allow clients to tap into holistic care and find fulfillment in a variety of ways. Treating addiction requires treating the person as a whole which makes mental health a huge part of treatment. This makes complementary therapies a crucial part of recovery. 

Support Groups

Another principal of intensive outpatient addiction treatment is support groups. These support groups are a great way to give and get support during the recovery journey. We recommend that patients participate in peer support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. There are recovery meetings for all types of addiction, so no one is left out.

If you’re looking for less of a faith-based approach, SMART Recovery meetings would suit you better. These are centered around evidence-based methods to help with temptation and cravings. They also offer an encouraging and supportive community where those struggling with addiction can stay motivated. 

Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Addiction Treatment Programs

There are many unique benefits to intensive outpatient treatment programs. Since IOPs only require a few hours out of the day and allow patients to reside at home, there are multiple advantages. Some of the many advantages of an intensive outpatient treatment program include:

  • Accountability. Participants in an intensive outpatient treatment program have the opportunity to develop a greater sense of responsibility. Learning and applying the tools to living a sober life helps to build confidence. A sense of self-efficacy comes from meeting the responsibilities of day-to-day life while continuing to meet the commitments of a treatment program.
  • Independence. Outpatient care can teach responsibility in a much different way compared to residential treatment. Patients learn to apply what they learned at the facility daily at home. Staying in the same environment can be testing, but overcoming the obstacles has enormous long-term gain.
  • Lower costs. Inpatient rehabilitation costs cover the price of housing, meals, 24-hour staffing, as well as other living expenses. An intensive outpatient treatment program provides high-quality care, with fewer resources. Thus, making it significantly cheaper.

Maintaining routine. An IOP is also beneficial for those who have obligations they must attend to outside of the rehab center. For example, you may have responsibilities at work you can’t miss. Perhaps, you have a child at home that you need to take care of. Regardless of the situation, intensive outpatient treatment works around your schedule.

Get Help Now

When you find a reason to want to get clean, there’s always a way to accomplish your goals. Through your addiction treatment center, you will find the programs and therapies necessary to give you the best chance at recovery that lasts. Therapies available include:

Are you ready to start living a life in sobriety? To learn more about an intensive outpatient addiction treatment program and how it can benefit you, contact LA Detox now at (866) 932-8563.