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How Does IOP Improve Healing in Addiction Recovery?

Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) for substance abuse disorder or for co-occurring mental health conditions and substance use disorders.

An IOP can be appropriate if you don’t need medically-assisted detox, and if you can get away without around-the-clock medical supervision.

This form of treatment is an alternative to inpatient treatment. An intensive outpatient program is a step up from a conventional outpatient treatment program on the continuum of care. Despite the name, an IOP is a step down from partial hospitalization programs.

Studies into the effectiveness of inpatient and outpatient treatment for addiction has shown favorable outcomes for outpatient treatment with broadly similar outcomes expected, assuming you make a viable fit for this form of treatment.

An intensive outpatient program will offer at least nine hours of treatment, typically delivered in three sessions of three hours each on weekdays. You may find an IOP offers more sessions, and you may also find your time commitment decreases as you hit your recovery goals. Nine hours weekly is the norm, though.

While intensive outpatient programs don’t work for everyone, we’ll look next at some of the main advantages of IOPs.

Core Benefits of an IOP

1. Intensive outpatient treatment is a discreet method of recovery

2. IOPs are more affordable than residential rehab

3. You’ll get a structured program that’s more flexible than inpatient treatment

4. Get help from friends and family

5. Build a strong local support network

6. Put what you learn into practice in the real world

7. Dual diagnosis treatment during your IOP can address any underlying mental health conditions

8. Get many of the benefits of residential rehab without the cost or the inflexibility

1) Intensive outpatient treatment is a discreet method of recovery

Denial is a common symptom of addiction. Many people find it hard admitting to themselves they have a problem, so coming clean to others is even tougher.

Unfortunately, shame, stigma, and embarrassment prevent many people from engaging with the addiction treatment they need.

An intensive outpatient program allows you to benefit from the medication-assisted treatment and behavioral therapies offered in residential rehab with far more subtlety and discretion.

2) IOPs are more affordable than residential rehab

Inpatient treatment for addiction is not cheap, and it’s by no means always necessary. If you have a mild or moderate addiction, an intensive outpatient program or partial hospitalization program is often sufficient.

Outpatient programs typically cost $10,000 or less, while inpatient treatment costs $40,000 and upwards.

Beyond this, most insurance policies offer coverage for IOPs, while they seldom meet the cost of residential rehab.

3) You’ll get a structured program that’s more flexible than inpatient treatment

An IOP will mimic the intensity, focus, and energy of an inpatient program, but without the attendant restrictions.

You’ll attend group and individual counseling sessions and engage with a range of therapies during the day at a treatment center or in a mental healthcare professional’s office or doctor’s surgery. You’ll be based at home for the duration of treatment.

4) Get help from friends and family

Many people suffering from isolation find the community of an inpatient program valuable during detox and the early stages of recovery. If, though, you have a strong and supportive network of friends and family, you may have everything you need in combination with counseling to avoid committing to residential rehab.

5) Build a strong local support network

Outpatient programs put you in close contact with peers undergoing the same challenges as you. You can get valuable support when you’re finding things hard, and you can also share your experiences with others.

If you attempted to quit using drink or drugs solo without engaging with an IOP, you would not have access to this same network of peers.

6) Put what you learn into practice in the real world

As you’ll be living at home for the length of the intensive outpatient program, you’ll be able to segue neatly from counseling sessions into real life. At residential rehab, by contrast, everything takes place with the cocoon of the treatment center. An IOP allows you to implement the theory you’ve been grappling with in a real-world setting.

7) Dual diagnosis treatment during your IOP can address any underlying mental health conditions

If you have a mental health condition co-occurring with alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, an intensive outpatient program allows you to tackle both issues simultaneously.

8) Get many of the benefits of residential rehab without the cost or the inflexibility

As long as you don’t have a severe addiction, an IOP returns many of the core benefits of inpatient programming with neither the cost nor the restrictions.

When is an IOP Beneficial?

IOPs can be especially useful in the following circumstances:

  • If you don’t need acute medical care to manage withdrawal symptoms
  • When there is no meaningful risk of complications from withdrawal and detox
  • If there are no co-occurring mental health conditions requiring acute hospitalization
  • For anyone who has attempted recovery through a lower level of care but then relapsed
  • When you present a high risk of returning to use outside the structure of a formal treatment program

Intensive Outpatient Program at Renaissance Recovery

If you have a milder addiction to drink or drugs and you need help without the restrictions or the expense of residential rehab, an intensive outpatient program might work well.

When you’re ready to commit to recovery, we can assess whether you would benefit from an IOP. If so, we’ll personalize a program so you can kickstart your recovery while still remaining anchored to your daily life.

All you need to do in the first instance is call the friendly Renaissance Recovery team at 866.330.9449.

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Pat C

“I owe my life and my happiness to these people. October 8th, 2019 marked two years of sobriety for me, and prior to finding Renaissance I hadn’t had 24 hours sober in nearly 20 years.”

Paige R

“Renaissance Recovery truly changed my life.”

Courtney S

” I’m grateful for my experience at Renaissance, the staff are very experienced, they gave me the hope I needed in early sobriety, and a variety of coping mechanisms that I can use on a daily basis.”

Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country