What is An Intensive Outpatient Treatment Center?

Intensive outpatient treatment centers (IOPs) provide treatment for people with mental health disorders and substance use disorders. Unlike larger, more comprehensive treatment facilities, these centers do not offer detoxification services. People who attend IOPs receive therapy and other services to manage their mental health symptoms and stay sober.

Typically, IOPs offer group and individual therapy, medication management, and other support services. These programs can be a viable option for people who need more support than they can get in an outpatient setting but do not need the level of intensive care provided in an inpatient facility. Consider an IOP if you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health disorder or substance abuse problem.

The Type of Care Available

Intensive outpatient programs combine group psychotherapy, individual therapy, family counseling, educational groups, and other activities to motivate patients. People who do not need intensive treatment may benefit from this type of care because it is usually less expensive than residential or partial-day treatment programs.

IOPs allow people to live at home while participating in a highly structured program during the day. A person’s condition typically improves as they move from inpatient treatment to less intensive levels of care. It is common for IOPs to meet for two to four hours per day three to five days per week. As part of treatment, you will work with a team of clinicians to develop a personalized treatment plan. Individual therapy, group therapy, family counseling, and educational groups may be included in treatment. Mental health conditions can be effectively treated and recovered with IOPs.

The Structure of An IOP Program

In most IOP programs, group therapy and addiction treatment programming are provided 6-30 hours per week. A person can participate in their daily affairs, such as work, but then attend treatment in the morning or at the end of the day at a facility that is appropriate for their needs. In an IOP, individuals must adhere to a strict schedule that includes classes, sessions, meetings, and workshops. IOP aims to stabilize symptoms, develop healthy coping skills, and begin the recovery process.

People who need more structure and support than can be provided by outpatient therapy alone may benefit from IOPs. Individuals who participate in IOPs are more likely to have fewer relapses, higher rates of employment, and better overall functioning than those who do not. IOPs, however, are not appropriate for everyone, and they are not always covered by insurance. To find out if an IOP is right for you, talk to your doctor or therapist.

IOPs Encourage 12-Step Program Participation

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) provide therapeutic services during the day but allow patients to return home at night, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is also common for IOPs to encourage active participation in 12-step programs. Originally developed for Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12 steps have been adapted for other types of addictions.

IOP is more effective than individual therapy for chemical dependency, according to a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. IOP was associated with better outcomes at three- and six-month follow-ups, including decreased criminal activity and drug use.

IOPs As Transitional Treatment Plans

Many HMOs use IOP as a transitional treatment for patients just released from psychiatric hospitals or after completing residential treatment. IOP offers patients the opportunity to step down from a higher level of care while still receiving some support and structure. For instance, after being in a psychiatric hospital for several weeks, a patient may be discharged to an IOP program that meets three times a week. The patient can then readjust to life outside the hospital and reduce the risk of relapse. Patients who have completed a residential treatment program but have not yet returned home may also benefit from IOP.

As a result, IOP can provide a more gradual transition and provide the patient with the necessary support. An IOP may be a viable option if you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health disorder or substance use disorder. You can receive the care and support you need at these centers to recover and live a healthy, happy life. Call our counselors at 833-846-5669 if you’re considering enrolling in an IOP.