Intensive outpatient treatment can be an effective and convenient form of addiction and recovery care for many people. While not everyone finds it possible to be in a 24/7 rehabilitation environment, intensive outpatient programs offer the same treatments and services without having to stay overnight, and they differ from standard outpatient programs. Intensive outpatient rehabilitation programs might meet several times a week, but just for a few hours at a time.
For those with busy lives, outpatient care lets them make recovery a priority. Continue reading to learn about intensive outpatient care and how it can help if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction.
An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a structured treatment plan for substance use disorder. Unlike residential treatment, IOP doesn’t require around-the-clock supervision, and clients may attend treatment a few times a week, though they can go more frequently, even daily, depending on their treatment plan. Most people opt to continue living from home and tending to tasks at home or work while receiving addiction treatment. It’s an excellent option for those who cannot devote most of their time to a residential program, with IOP fitting into an otherwise full schedule.
Intensive outpatient programs are not the same as a standard outpatient program. While standard outpatient programs typically involve weekly therapy and monthly medication management — or a similar variation — intensive outpatient treatment is different.
In IOP, you can expect treatment from therapists, counselors, and health providers. In group therapy, you can discuss any challenges with those who are also in recovery and learn coping mechanisms to replace substance or alcohol use. These programs can also help you identify the underlying causes of your addiction and learn aftercare tips to stay sober after treatment.
There are different levels of addiction and recovery treatment that patients can participate in at one time — inpatient or residential, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), or IOP. Someone would not be in both IOP and PHP simultaneously, for example. IOP can also help clients transition seamlessly from residential care to their daily routines while recovering from addiction.
Addiction recovery is often a lifelong process, though intensive outpatient care can provide the tools you need to stay sober and achieve better health and wellness. Healthcare professionals will meet you wherever you are in recovery to design a program tailored to your unique needs. Whether you’ve already completed PHP, a residential program or you’re looking for the first step in the recovery process, IOPs can help.
There are many differences between inpatient and outpatient addiction care. Both types can provide detox, therapy, and group counseling programs for addiction. However, the main difference is that inpatient treatment is offered in a supervised setting, while outpatient programs can be attended while living at home. Neither plan is better or more effective than the other.
Intensive outpatient programs are sometimes used as an alternative or step down from standard residential or inpatient programs, though not always.
The program that’s best for you will depend on your specific needs and the severity of your addiction.
Inpatient and outpatient programs deliver different levels of care. Inpatient care is an excellent fit for people with more severe addictions or those who would benefit from getting out of a triggering or stressful living situation that may contribute to substance use. It provides much-needed supervision away from substances and triggers. These programs will also include more frequent, intensive treatment options to overcome addiction.
Both inpatient and intensive outpatient treatment can be equally effective for treating addiction — the best one depends on your specific needs. Keep in mind that intensive outpatient care generally provides more weekly sessions than traditional outpatient care.
Intensive outpatient programs let people schedule their treatment at times that work best with their schedule. A person’s time at the IOP center per week depends on many factors, such as the substance being misused and the services required.
Inpatient and outpatient care differ in that inpatient care provides supervision as you live in the center while receiving treatment. Inpatient programs can last 30 to 90 days or more long-term, depending on the level of care a person needs.
People with multiple relapses could benefit from living in a supervised setting away from substances or alcohol for long periods. Residential treatment is also beneficial for those who live in unstable or triggering home environments or people with underlying mental health conditions that require dual diagnosis treatment. However, many outpatient programs will also include dual diagnosis care and medications.
Outpatient care allows clients to get treated on a part-time basis and return home after each session. These programs are typically well-suited for people with less severe addictions who have a solid foundation of support and minor mental health issues. For people in residential care, the treatment can be challenging since it requires you to stay away from home for extended periods. This is when IOP may be helpful, provided it’s the right level of care for that person.
Most IOP treatment programs offer similar services to inpatient programs, such as detox, therapy, and support groups. The main difference between these two types of care is the amenities.
While some intensive outpatient programs provide recreation and access to medical care, these services are emphasized in residential treatment centers. Inpatient programs also offer housing and nutritious meals.
Residential care provides a structured, substance-free environment and distance from triggers, though it requires a time commitment and higher cost than outpatient due to the accommodations and extra services. In outpatient care, you only pay for physician fees and the charges for treatments and tests.
IOPs differ from residential care with their hands-off approach. These programs allow flexibility and help you recover while caring for daily obligations. Most treatment centers also follow a step-down approach, which means programs will decrease in intensity as you progress in recovery. Since addiction can range in severity, they’ll provide different methods to meet your needs when you enter IOP. Many utilize the same approach as residential care, combining evidence-based and holistic therapies.
While treatments and care for IOPs will vary depending on the treatment center, they generally consist of several hours of weekly group and individual counseling and encourage participation in a 12-step program.
You can expect to receive the following types of care in IOP:
People attending an IOP often participate in individual therapy and counseling. Sessions include one-on-one time with a licensed mental health professional. These discreet settings can help you determine the underlying causes of addiction, work through difficult emotions in a safe environment, ask questions about the recovery process and celebrate recovery successes.
Cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy sessions can help you reflect on thoughts and behaviors that can contribute to substance use. You’ll develop coping strategies with your therapist and work toward overcoming maladaptive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to beat addiction.
Motivational interviewing is another therapeutic method that can help you prepare for treatment and a life of sobriety. In these sessions, counselors will outline the benefits of addiction care and encourage you to imagine a healthy life without substances.
In intensive outpatient programs, these therapy sessions are commonly held weekly or bi-weekly and on an as-needed basis.
Group therapy sessions are another vital aspect of IOPs. The number and types of groups that meet will vary depending on the program and the needs of each participant. Some groups are specialized and may focus on sexual orientation or victims of abuse, for instance. Therapists or other experienced leaders will facilitate discussion about specific topics related to those participating in the program.
In group therapy, you can also learn about addiction while giving and receiving support from peers. These programs can help you feel less alone and more motivated to work on sobriety. Group therapy also fosters an environment of acceptance, comfort, and honest feedback from each participant. You might attend multiple group therapy sessions per week in IOPs.
Depending on the treatment center, some IOPs also include family therapy services. Studies show that incorporating family members into a client’s treatment process can increase their chances of maintaining lasting sobriety. Family therapy provides a space for family members to educate themselves on addiction and understand what their loved one is going through. Similar to individual therapy, family therapy is often provided on an as-needed basis.
Holistic therapy is often provided in IOPs and can be an effective complementary treatment. Standard holistic therapies include therapeutic art, mindfulness techniques, yoga and adventure, and animal-assisted therapy. These programs are created to help treat the person as a whole, rather than just their behaviors or symptoms. Holistic methods can increase a person’s likelihood of long-term recovery, helping clients feel more productive and at ease during the IOP treatment process.
People in IOPs are encouraged to attend support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to help them transition into everyday life. These support groups guide and encourage a lasting recovery beyond IOP treatments.
Many intensive outpatient programs offer 12-step meetings at the treatment center to make it easy for clients to attend them after counseling sessions. The goal of these groups is to ensure you have ongoing care to maintain recovery success. You can even become a sponsor to encourage others on their journey to sobriety.
The recovery process can be unpredictable, though outpatient care can benefit many people. You might do well in intensive outpatient programs if you:
At Gateway Foundation, we can help you if you are struggling with addiction. Here are a few questions we receive about our Illinois intensive outpatient program:
While intensive outpatient care can be very effective in treating addiction, it’s best for people who already have a support system at home and don’t require supervision or immediate medical care. IOP is also great for those who can already maintain their sobriety on their own and avoid triggers.
Sometimes, people can transition to an intensive outpatient program after completing their inpatient or residential level of care. That way, you can ease back into your daily routine while still building sobriety skills and receiving treatment. At the same time, some people may move up to a more intensive outpatient program if standard outpatient treatment isn’t helpful for their recovery. For instance, they may increase the number of support groups they attend in their schedules each week.
If you have a busy life and are the sole caretaker for family members, IOP care can be highly beneficial. They provide more flexible treatment schedules so you can maintain responsibilities while in treatment. However, some people require more intensive care and 24/7 supervision. In that case, residential or PHP may be more helpful in treating addiction.
At Gateway Foundation’s intensive outpatient program in Chicago, individuals undergo a medical assessment to design a treatment plan based on the level of care they need. They can start receiving services like therapy and support groups.
Clients in IOPs typically visit a center for treatment five to seven times a week, with sessions decreasing as they improve. Our programs require fewer hours in treatment than inpatient care and more weekend and evening sessions.
Gateway is proud to offer virtual outpatient services for people who require even more flexibility in scheduling. Our intensive outpatient program provides the same services as in-person treatments using a different medium. That means you can appreciate the same hours, methods, intensity levels, and commitment to personalized treatment.
Substance use disorder is a lifelong disease that requires ongoing care and support. At Gateway, we are with you for life. We provide intensive outpatient services that can help you overcome addiction and stay on a healthy track. Our services include evidence-based therapies, support groups, recreational activities, and other types of addiction care that can fit any schedule.
To learn more about our outpatient programs, contact us today.
An intensive outpatient program offers clients a path to recovery that can fit into their schedule. At Gateway, with locations in and around Chicago, Illinois, it is just one of many options for recovery. Work toward sobriety starting right now by calling 877–377–2027.
Gateway was one of the best decisions of my life they truly saved me from the road I was headed down! I would love to thank the staff and of course my amazing counselor Adrain really helped me refocus my life on the right path without gateway I wouldn’t have made it thank you and I love this place I always come back to alumni meeting and events.
My family member just competed her 28 day stay she had a great experience the staff is wonderful and treated her with respect and went above and beyond to help her. Gateway saved my family members life. It was not easy finding a nice inpatient rehab and gateway made the whole process very smooth we are so thankful we found this facility. Thank you gateway.
Spent some time here and got some great tools to help me in my recovery. My counselors in the women’s unit were great and supportive. Love the monthly alumni meetings after treatment, great way to stay connected.
A little over 7 years ago I decided to seek treatment for alcohol and drug addiction and chose this facility as a place to try and arrest my disease and I have been clean and sober ever since. After 30 days inpatient treatment and 9 months outpatient I was able to achieve that goal. I recommend this facility to anyone who truly wants freedom from active addiction.
This place honestly saved my life. I was so bad my counselor said in the 2 years she was working there my case was the most unique she’s ever had, and now I’m almost 15 months clean!