Once you realize that substance abuse is becoming an issue in your life, it’s hard to ignore. Even if you’ve been able to hold it together so far, the fact that you have a problem is inescapable — and it’s not getting better on its own. Racing around, trying to fulfill all your responsibilities while feeding the monkey on your back — it is exhausting. Before long, real-world consequences will catch up with you. But, you don’t have to live that way any more. If you feel stuck, wondering how to get help without completely disrupting your life, an intensive outpatient program may be just what you need. Learn more about how intensive outpatient programs work through our IOP FAQs.

IOP FAQs: What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

IOPs are a form of substance abuse and mental health treatment that exists as an alternative to inpatient and residential treatment programs. It is a treatment option for clients that do not require around-the-clock supervision or any kind of medical intervention such as detoxification, withdrawal management, or psychiatric stabilization. This style of programming is meant to provide accountability, foster a supportive environment, facilitate relapse management, and develop coping skills — all while giving clients a sense of autonomy.

IOP FAQs: How do Intensive Outpatient Programs Work?

While residential addiction treatment requires clients to live on site twenty-four hours a day for thirty days or more at a time, outpatient programs offer much more flexibility and independence. A typical intensive outpatient program will meet anywhere from three to five times per week. Each session can last from two to five hours. The entire program generally runs the course of eight to twelve weeks.

Intensive outpatient programs are predominantly used in one of two ways. The first way is as a standalone program for someone who does not need or does not meet the requirements for inpatient treatment. The second way is as a piece in the continuum of care for someone who started out in residential. Whenever possible, entering into an IOP immediately following the completion of rehab sets one up for a greater chance of long-term recovery. Regardless of how they are used, though, intensive outpatient programs play a critical role in the treatment of substance abuse. When used alone they can even be as effective as inpatient treatment for most individuals. 

IOP FAQs: What Goes on in an Intensive Outpatient Program?

While enrolled in a substance abuse IOP, clients’ time will be split between a number of therapeutic activities and sessions. Group therapy is the primary treatment modality, but it is by no means the only one. Group therapy is especially helpful as it facilitates the creation of a supportive community, where people suffering from the same disease of addiction can come together to voice their issues, offer support to one another, and assist with processing. Alongside group therapy, each client will have their own primary therapist for one-on-one clinical sessions. Your therapist can help you address anything you do not feel comfortable speaking about in the group setting. These sessions also provide a much needed outlet for trust, vulnerability, and honesty. It can be quite surprising how much relief, support, and accountability can come when working within group therapy and with an individual therapist for twelve weeks. You’ll experience true healing of the mind, body, spirit, and family through that process.

Many intensive outpatient programs for drug and alcohol addiction also offer life skills training, trauma education and processing, relapse prevention techniques, and some even have a family component. Drug and alcohol abuse is an illness with roots that spread far past the substance being consumed. It is important to address the disease from a holistic approach, including the family, friends, and loved ones who have been affected by your disease. Only then can you truly heal from the roots.

Finally, once your treatment plan begins, you will be assigned a case manager. The role of the case manager is to develop a plan of continued treatment once the intensive outpatient program ends. Long-term recovery requires long-term support. To achieve that, it is best to have a plan of action in place for how you will continue to foster your sobriety. Often, this looks like having a therapist, committing to a program of recovery (such as AA or NA), and getting signed up with a GP or psychiatrist if medication management is needed. Case managers also randomly drug test all their clients, adding another layer of accountability and support. 

IOP FAQs: How Do I Get Started in an Intensive Outpatient Program?

The great news is that nearly every major insurance company provides coverage for IOP. Getting started is as easy as a phone call or visiting our website and filling out our Contact form. Once we get connected, there will be a quick fifteen- to thirty-minute phone call to learn more about you, your situation, and how we can help you. Have your insurance information handy, since we can also verify your benefits. That process requires no commitment from you, but allows you to get an idea of what your insurance plan will cover. After that, it is simply a matter of picking a date to start.

You don’t have to keep fighting. Relief, support, and deep healing are here for you — on your terms. If you believe an intensive outpatient program could be just what you need, give Longbranch Recovery a call today. 

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