What is Virtual IOP?

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A virtual IOP is an online intensive outpatient program, ideal for anyone committed to recovery, unable to detox and withdraw from drink or drugs alone, but unable to attend a treatment center, like our drug rehab in California, in person.

Virtual IOPs offer an online alternative, with daily group meetings, online counseling – individual and group – as well as talking therapies like CBT and DBT.

All of these meetings are held using Skype, Zoom, or similar teleconferencing software. If you have a smart device and an internet connection, you can kickstart your recovery without needing to make three or four weekly trips to a treatment center.

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Clinically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated:


Finding a Virtual IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program)

For less serious substance use disorders intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are proven as effective as inpatient rehab, but how about a virtual IOP?

Well, in order to explore virtual outpatient programs, we need to first clarify what an IOP is and look at the benefits of IOP.

While not everyone needs residential rehab, some people need more support and structure than a traditional outpatient program for addiction offers. This is where an IOP helps to bridge the gap.

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Intensive outpatient programs are a step up on the continuum of care from regular outpatient programs, and a step down from the more intensive PHPs (partial hospitalization programs).

Instead of spending 30 to 90 days in a treatment facility, you attend IOP sessions at a treatment center, usually for a minimum of 9 hours weekly. IOPs are the part-time equivalent of PHPs, where you often spend 35 hours weekly in counseling and therapy sessions. At the end of each day, you return home, or to a sober living home if your living environment is unsupportive.

An IOP, then, delivers a combination of medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy without the cost or the restrictions of residential addiction treatment.

Since the pandemic set in at the end of 2019, many people with alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder initially found physical barriers in place blocking the treatment they needed. Virtual alternatives soon started springing up to fill this gap, and a virtual IOP has many applications beyond sidestepping social distancing limitations.

Do Virtual IOP Programs Help?

To get started with a virtual IOP, you’ll first need to find a suitable addiction treatment center offering this programming. You can then expect a thorough assessment from a licensed addiction specialist.

Once enrolled in the virtual IOP, you’ll attend your therapy sessions online alongside others at various stages on their own recovery journeys.

These Programs really help for those that need the intensive outpatient treatment but also the increased amount of flexibility that the virtual aspect provides. Our clients are able to focus on recovery in the comfort of their own homes whilst continuing on with their daily lives.

an image of someone in virtual iop

2) Evidence-based treatment

Even though virtual IOPs deliver treatment remotely, that doesn’t mean you miss out on evidence-based addiction treatment.

Psychotherapies are delivered by cognitive-behavioral specialists. You’ll learn to identify what triggers you to use drink or drugs, and you’ll then explore healthier coping strategies for the stress of everyday life that don’t involve substance abuse.

Counseling also works well, both one-to-one and in group settings. Both of these are core components of all the best virtual intensive outpatient programs.

You can also benefit from online access to holistic therapies and experiential therapies, helping you to pursue a whole-body approach to healing.

an image of people learning what to say at an intervention

5) Progress with your recovery at all times

Maybe you don’t want to attend a treatment center but you don’t feel you can stay on track with your recovery without support and accountability in place.

Virtual IOPs allow you to stay firmly anchored to the progress of your recovery, charting your goals as you progress with your online treatment team.

So, while a virtual IOP might not always be the optimum outcome, it can often represent the least bad option. In some cases, online treatment is preferable to that delivered in a physical location.

an image of a man in a virtual iop

Benefits of IOP Classes Online

Depending on your treatment goals, the scope and severity of your addiction, as well as any co-occurring disorders, a virtual IOP might be just what you’re looking for, or entirely unsuitable. You should now know enough to determine whether you feel online addiction treatment  would work for you.

Here are five of the most prominent benefits of virtual IOPs:

  1. Convenience
  2. Evidence-based treatment
  3. Highly personalized
  4. Minimized contact
  5. Progress with your recovery at all times

1) Convenience

If you have a hectic schedule, finding yourself continuously crunched for time and juggling responsibilities, packing your bags, and heading to residential rehab might be impractical.

For some people, even attending sessions at a treatment center around existing commitments can be too challenging, and this is where the super-convenient virtual IOP comes into its own.

As long as you have a few hours to yourself and access to an internet connection, you can pursue your recovery remotely with all the support you need on hand.

an image of someone searching online for an orange county rehab

3) Highly personalized

Addiction and recovery are both highly individualized experiences. No two addictions are identical, and there is no universally effective treatment.

Remote addiction treatment may lack some of the benefits of a program delivered at a physical treatment center, but in return, you can expect an even more personalized program.

Everything about a virtual IOP can be tailored to you and your long-term sobriety.

4) Minimized contact

With the pandemic still not fully resolved, any time social distancing returns, you can continue with your treatment virtually.

In many situations, physical contact is a vital component of recovery. As we have seen over the past year, though, external circumstances can change dramatically and overnight. If the unimaginable happens, you can still keep attending your online therapy sessions. 

an image of a man who went through a program at a meth rehab

What to Look for in a Virtual Outpatient Program?

What to look for in an online outpatient alcohol, substance abuse, or mental health treatment program will depend on your needs. The most crucial thing is to ensure that the treatment center in question specializes in treating your specific metal health disorder, addiction, or substance abuse issue.

Beyond this, investigate the quality and commitment of the treatment team. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, and healthcare professionals.

If you live in the Orange County area, we can help you through our online addiction treatment programs here at Renaissance Recovery Center.

Virtual Alcohol IOP

Alcoholism can affect all aspects of someone’s life. Having access to a virtual IOP program that is catered to those with alcohol addiction can help them continue with their lives but also find sobriety. 

We also offer programs like sober living homes, alcohol rehab, and addiction therapy to ensure long-lasting recovery.

Substance Abuse Virtual IOP

One important part about finding an intensive outpatient program that is right for you is receiving treatment from an experienced team of addiction experts that specialize in your addiction. At Renaissance, our therapists and addiction treatment professionals can treat all kinds of substance abuse disorders and individualize a treatment plan to your specific needs.

Mental Health Virtual IOP

Out mental health Virtual IOP programs incorporate different therapies and evidence based psychiatry methods to individualize a treatment plan that caters specifically to your metal health and wellness needs. Our experienced teams offer cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, adventure therapy and other programs to promote your mental well-being.

Online Outpatient Alcohol Treatment at Renaissance Recovery

If you have found yourself drinking more over the past year and you find you have developed alcohol use disorder, we can help you get back on track here at Renaissance.

For anyone unable to attend IOP treatment sessions, we can deliver therapy sessions remotely in line with your needs.

Reach out to Renaissance Recovery today to discuss personalizing a virtual IOP by calling 866.330.9449.

Rehabilitation can put an end to addiction

Call and ask the facility directly or call your own provider to determine if your insurance covers the treatment.

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