Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired? Drinking and drug use take a serious toll on your body, mind, spirit, and family. Even if you’ve managed to hold onto all of your “things” so far — your job, your money, your relationships, and more — there’s probably part of you that wonders if it all could be better without substance abuse in the mix. The answer is, it probably could. Getting help for substance abuse and its underlying causes can change your life — and it’s easier and more affordable than you think. Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) allow you to get help for drinking or drug use on your own terms. Here’s how it works.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) for Substance Abuse: How it Works

Intensive outpatient programs for substance abuse offer addiction and mental health treatment in a flexible, convenient way. In IOP, you commit to spending a few days a week, for a few hours each time, in treatment. (Industry standards recommend at least nine hours per week, broken up throughout the week.) In between sessions, you can work, attend school, or take care of your family as normal. During treatment sessions, you’ll experience a variety of addiction treatment therapies to help you heal from the roots: from one-on-one counseling to group therapy, relapse prevention classes, and more. 

At the same time, IOP lets you practice your new recovery skills as you learn them. By returning home in between sessions, you’ll have the autonomy to put your new coping mechanisms to the test in the real world, with a support system you can fall back on. What’s more, you’ll be putting down roots in recovery in the community where you already live. Instead of leaving home to attend residential addiction treatment, you’ll meet treatment professionals and new friends in recovery in IOP that you can depend on even when your treatment is finished. 

One last note: IOP is much less expensive than residential addiction treatment, and studies have shown that for the right candidates, it can be just as effective. 

Who is a Good Fit for Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)?

Intensive outpatient programs can heal your mind, body, spirit, and family for good — in certain circumstances. It is nearly always an appropriate step down from residential addiction treatment, if recommended by an individual’s treatment team. If you are considering IOP as your first step towards a life in recovery, however, you should keep a few things in mind.

First, it’s important that you believe you can stay clean and sober with a little extra support. Abstinence is important in order for you to receive the maximum benefit from the therapy and education you will receive in IOP. If you think it may be hard for you to stay clean and sober for your sessions, you may want to consider a higher level of addiction treatment care. At Longbranch Recovery, we can work with you to pivot as needed if you find additional support is required.

In addition, people who have been drinking or using drugs in large quantities for a long time are often in need of more professional help than IOP can provide — especially when it comes to detox. If you get the shakes or feel sick every time you put together a few hours or days of clean time, medical detox could be a smart first step prior to IOP treatment. You deserve to get clear-headed and stable as safely and as comfortably as possible before beginning the work of recovery. Let us know what you’re dealing with, and we can help you decide whether detox is an appropriate first step.

Aside from withdrawal, do you have other physical health conditions that need professional care? Medical difficulties like surgeries or serious illnesses might make it challenging for you to fully participate in your treatment. You are the best judge of what you can handle, so reach out to our team for a confidential conversation if you’re wondering whether you can make it work in your current state of health.

Mental health difficulties can be addressed in IOP as long as they don’t distract too much from your treatment. In fact, one of the benefits of intensive outpatient treatment for mental health is that you can do deeper work on your past traumas and emotional wounds than you might be able to attempt in weekly therapy — all while working on your substance use issues at the same time. Substance abuse and mental health challenges go hand in hand, and IOP is perfectly structured to help you heal both.

Finally, entering IOP doesn’t have to mean you’re committing to staying clean and sober forever. If you already know you want to, of course, we can help you get there. If recovery seems overwhelming, though, IOP can give you the structured support you need to change at a pace that feels comfortable to you. You might be surprised where it all takes you.

Does IOP Work?

Studies have shown that IOP is just as effective as residential addiction treatment — for the right clients. At the very least, intensive outpatient programs for drinking and drug use can help you cut down on your substance abuse, allowing you to stay clean and sober longer and to reduce the negative impact of substance abuse in your life. One national study of veterans even found that those who attended IOP after detox were more likely to be alive two years later than those who didn’t. This is all because IOP helps you heal your body, mind, spirit, and family from the inside out. Addressing the issues that lie beneath your substance abuse can help you to stay clean and sober. More importantly, though, it will help you live a happier, more peaceful life all around.

Get Help for Addiction & Mental Health 

Starting an intensive outpatient program for drinking or drug use could plant the seed of new growth in your life. To learn more about how it works and whether it’s a fit for you or a loved one, contact our caring admissions team and heal your mind, body, spirit, and family from the roots.

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