There are various types of drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs to fit the needs of each individual and their unique case. There is no one size fits all approach to substance abuse treatment and the best addiction treatment programs will reflect that through personalized treatment plans. Addiction treatment programs range from intensive formats such as medical detox and residential inpatient treatment, to more flexible options in outpatient care, including partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOP). IOPs can provide the flexibility to continue working or going to school full time which makes them a popular option for those with milder addictions or as a step down from more intensive care.
Here are some frequently asked questions about IOPs:
1. What Does IOP Stand For?
IOP stands for “intensive outpatient program” and treats substance use disorders and mental health disorders, which may be co-occurring. As an outpatient program, participants will go home or to a sober living facility at the end of each day. IOPs are intensive because they follow a structured schedule of treatment. These programs require a minimum of 9 hours a week dispersed over 3 to 5 days. IOPs can be scheduled around home, work, or school obligations.
2. What is the Purpose of Intensive Outpatient Programs?
IOPs can serve several purposes. Individuals who want substance abuse treatment but do not meet the criteria for inpatient treatment because their addiction is not severe, can start in IOP. It is also used as a step down program from inpatient treatment to help individuals slowly and easily readapt to their day to day lives with enough support. They can also be used for individuals coming out of a short relapse and need some structure and support to get back to their recovery successfully.
3. What is the IOP Process?
Upon admission to a treatment facility, a clinical team will conduct a thorough evaluation to determine your treatment plan. You will live at home or a sober living facility and travel to the rehab center 3 to 5 times a week for an allotted block of treatment, which is often about three hours. IOPs are centered around about 10 to 12 hours of group and individual therapy each week and participation in 12 step programs or meetings is highly encouraged. IOPs includes a higher level of care than general outpatient programs with more structured schedules. As you progress through treatment, you will be required to attend fewer weekly hours of treatment.
4. Is IOP the Same as Day Treatment?
Day treatment is very similar to IOPs. The difference between the two levels is the number of hours spent in therapy each week with day treatment providing a higher level of care than IOPs. Day treatment requires more commitment to treatment and hours per week but may still allow for part time jobs or school. IOPs are more flexible and will allow you to carry on with work full time or dedicate plenty of time to school or family while in recovery.
5. What is the Success Rate of IOP?
When an IOP is a good fit for the individual, they are just as successful as inpatient treatment. IOPs are intensive in design despite being outpatient care. Because they allow so much flexibility, IOPs can have high patient retention rates and participants are more likely to complete the program. Research has indicated that IOPs have between a 50 and 70% success rate, which is comparable to inpatient treatment. IOPs include many of the same therapies and access to medication assisted treatment as more intensive programs as well.
6. How Long are Most IOP Programs?
Just as with other rehab programs, IOPs can vary in length depending on the individual and their circumstances. Typically, IOPs will last between 8 to 12 weeks, but can always be extended if needed. Those with more severe or prolonged addictions will need longer treatment programs than those with milder addictions. The presence of co-occurring disorders can also lengthen treatment programs. As you progress, you may move down a level of treatment and lessen the number of weekly hours. If you feel you are not progressing, you can also adjust your treatment intensity to provide you with the right level of care.
7. Does Insurance Cover Intensive Outpatient Programs?
Most health insurance plans cover mental health treatments, which includes substance use disorders. Health insurance plans may cover intensive outpatient programs, it all depends on your specific plan. They may cover some or all of your rehab treatment in outpatient care. For example, you have a lower monthly premium but your insurance will only cover 60 to 70% of rehab costs. Your insurance provider will also require you meet an annual deductible before benefits can be applied to the cost of treatment.
8. What is the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?
Generally, addiction treatment programs fall into either inpatient or outpatient treatment. Both equally focus on rehabilitation but each has their own unique features and benefits. Inpatient rehab is intensive and meant to treat serious addictions. However, all addiction severities would benefit from time in inpatient treatment. They require patients to live at the treatment facility full time for the duration of the program. Outpatient rehab are part-time programs that allow participants to live at home or a sober living facility, offer more freedom, and may even allow them to continue with full time work or school.
9. Who is IOP For?
IOPs are best suited for those with mild drug or alcohol addiction or if they have already completed a more intensive program like inpatient treatment or a partial hospitalization program (PHP). The person must also be highly motivated in their recovery, have a stable and sober living environment, and be able to stay away from drugs and alcohol. IOPs are also a good choice for those who cannot commit to inpatient treatment because of their home, work, or school obligations. The person may have dependents to take care of such as small children, elderly, disabled loved ones, or even pets. This is also a good option for those who are paying out of pocket and cannot afford inpatient treatment.
10. How Can I Find the Right Intensive Outpatient Program for Me?
Finding the right intensive outpatient program will depend on your personal needs. However, some factors you can look for include a licensed and accredited program, certified clinical staff, a variety of evidence-based treatment approaches, acceptance of your insurance, and specialized treatment options if needed, such as dual diagnosis treatment. You can always tour a facility and even talk to alumni to get a feel about the program to see if it is the right fit for you.