Is an Intensive Outpatient Program Right for You?

If you have finally decided to get help for a Substance Use Disorder such as alcoholism, an addiction to illicit drugs, or the misuse of prescription medications, you are to be congratulated. Admitting that you have a problem and asking for help is the first, most important step you will take on your road to recovery. But what now? With so many treatment and rehab options available to you, how do you know which one is the best choice for you and your recovery needs?

One of the biggest objections some people struggling with alcohol or drug addiction bring up when they are confronted with the necessity of seeking treatment for their compulsion is a lack of time. They state that because of work and family obligations, they are simply unable to attend an inpatient rehabilitation program that can last weeks or even months.

For those people who voice that concern, Intensive Outpatient Treatment is becoming an increasingly popular option, because it affords patients much more flexibility and allows them to meet their work and family needs.

What Is Intensive Outpatient Rehab?

Intensive outpatient treatment combines aspects of other drug/alcohol treatment models to form an intense, yet flexible program. Although the program is less intense than that offered by a typical inpatient facility, it is of longer duration than most outpatient programs.

IOP Programs allow you to receive the treatment and support you need to safely and successfully regain your sobriety and manage your illness while still living at home. When you participate in an IOP, you can still work, go to school, spend time with your family, sleep in your own bed, and fulfill your other personal and professional responsibilities. In fact, because an IOP typically consists of weekday sessions held either in the morning or the evening, it affords you the convenience and flexibility to get the help you need without disrupting the other areas of your life.

An IOP program will utilize most of the same evidence-based treatment services that you would find at a costlier residential facility, such as detox (although many facilities require prior detoxification), regular therapy sessions, individual, group, and family counseling, random drug testing, and aftercare support services that can last up to a year.

As per industry standards, clients will meet with qualified professional addiction specialists, therapists, and physicians a minimum of nine hours each week, with both day and night sessions offered.

It is this flexibility that makes the program more attractive and acceptable to patients in need. It is the intensity of the program that makes it so beneficial to those patients.

Are You a Good Candidate for an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Unfortunately, IOPs aren’t for everyone. You are a good candidate if you:

  • Have completed alcohol or drug detox — Before you can learn and apply the lessons and develop the skills learned in rehab, you must first be completely free from the physical compulsion to drink and use. During your initial assessment, a specialist with the rehab facility can help you arrange for a safe, medically supervised detox, and afterward, treatment with an IOP can begin.
  • Are ready for a lower level of care – Even if you have completed a stay in a residential facility, an Intensive Outpatient Program can give you the continued treatment and support that you need during early recovery. An IOP helps you safely transition from a controlled inpatient environment back to your everyday life.
  • You don’t need round-the-clock supervision — Individuals with a long history of severe addiction may need the constant monitoring provided by inpatient treatment, then they can benefit from a full day outpatient Partial Hospitalization Program. But if you struggle with mild-to-moderate substance abuse issues, IOP Programs allow you to receive treatment services without the need to put your life on hold.
  • You have a stable home environment — your surroundings and environment during recovery matter a great deal. It can be next to impossible to successfully recover if your home life is unstable, violent, or dysfunctional, or if other people in the home are abusing drugs or alcohol. However, for those with an already stable home environment, an IOP Program can be an ideal fit.

Who Can Benefit From Intensive Outpatient Rehab?

IOP is tailor-made for individuals who cannot afford to be absent for the length of time necessary to attend an inpatient rehab facility.

  • Single parents – The precious bond between parent and child does not need to be broken because a parent needs to go away for weeks or months at a time. There is no need to make stressful long-term child care arrangements.
  • Individuals with families – Positive family activities can still happen during IOP. Patients still live at home and can still cook dinner for their families every night, read bedtime stories to their children and tuck them in, and attend their children’s activities. Patients can also benefit from having regular, daily support from their families. Supportive bonds are strengthened when a patient can undergo an intense day of treatment and then share everything they have learned and accomplished with their spouses and loved ones.
  • Workers – Many high-functioning alcoholics/addicts decline inpatient therapy because of the demands of their jobs/careers, saying that it will hurt their chances at promotion or perhaps even cost them their job if it is known that they are receiving treatment. The flexibility of an IOP program makes it possible for them to attend treatment sessions around their work schedules.
  • Students – Inpatient rehab might mean that a student has to completely drop out of school to receive treatment. IOP programs, on the other hand, can allow a student to continue attending school.

The Bottom Line about Intensive Outpatient Programs

Here’s the good news — because IOP Programs offer virtually all of the same treatment services and last at least three times longer, they have been found to be equally as effective as inpatient rehab programs.

The emergence of IOP programs as a viable drug or alcohol rehabilitation option is a great leap forward in the battle against addiction because it removes one of the biggest objections thrown up by those most in need. By eliminating anxious concerns about rehab possibly interfering with family obligations and work responsibilities, it makes it much easier for a person struggling with addiction to get the treatment and support they need.

But it is important to keep in mind that NO treatment option will “cure” your addiction. Real recovery takes a lifetime of work, one day at a time. In fact, that is precisely why an IOP is such a good option — the longer you are in treatment, the more opportunities you will have to develop and practice the skills you will need to stay sober.

If you live in San Diego County, you can find help, support, and evidence-based treatment with the Lasting Recovery afternoon and evening Intensive Outpatient Program. Contact us today to help you break free from the vicious cycle of addiction.

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