How an Intensive Outpatient Program Can Help on Your Road to Sobriety

Recovery can be a way for someone to reset their life, but also reinvent how they see their future. Intensive outpatient programs offer the best of both worlds for many people who can’t step away from their lives but need support in their road to sobriety. 

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are specially designed recovery programs that help patients overcome issues with drug or alcohol dependence, depression, eating disorders and a variety of mental health problems

Patients can maintain a routine for their daily lives because they don’t necessarily need help with detoxification or need consistent supervision from medical professionals. Someone working on their recovery can live at home while they also focus on their recovery.

By allowing patients to live at home, treatment programs can focus on avoiding potential relapses and creating coping tools strategies.

Is this a good fit for me?

A strong support network is a key to a successful recovery.

Most people can find inpatient care challenges, whether in a hospital, rehab facility, or some other type of program, make a recovery more complex. These inpatient treatment programs focus on providing high-level care to those on the road to recovery.

Inpatient treatment programs aim at removing any access to drugs or alcohol and other people who may sabotage the patient’s recovery process.

This isn’t always practical.

Real-life has work responsibilities, relationships with family and friends, and other things that make entering full-time care programs impossible.

Are you worried that maybe inpatient care won’t work for you?

Not to worry!

Intensive outpatient programs can provide the care you need to recover while still keeping a level of normalcy in your life.. As a patient, you still receive the intensive care needed to recover but while living at home.

A key factor for any intensive outpatient program to work is safe home life.

This means that family members and close friends are ready to help as the patient begins their road to recovery.

This kind of environment won’t work if other household members are actively using drugs or alcohol; inpatient care would be highly recommended. Along with that, if a patient is struggling with severe addiction problems or multiple drug or alcohol dependencies, 24-hour supervision is usually needed.

What To Expect

Depending on the rehabilitation facility you enter, intensive outpatient programs can vary based on the providers. Typically, most intensive outpatient programs schedule 10 to 12 hours of weekly group and individual therapy sessions. Most intensive outpatient programs are usually partnered with a 12-step program too.

Most programs require therapy sessions to be held 3 to 4 times a week, with each session usually lasting for around 3 hours.

These therapy sessions are traditionally held on-site at the rehab facility. Some new initiatives are being done to make online programs an option for those who live in more remote areas.

Treatment Types

Group Therapy

Most intensive outpatient programs have group therapy which can have 8 to 15 members as a core form of treatment for patients. Group therapy sessions are thought to be a helpful way to treat drug or alcohol dependencies by offering sincere support from others who understand what recovery is like.

Members who are farther along in their recovery process can offer advice and guide others who are just beginning their road to recovery.

By supporting each other, all members can learn new skills to manage their issues with drug or alcohol dependence without feeling judged.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is seen as another crucial element in any intensive outpatient program because it focuses on helping patients understand the root of their addiction. These individual therapy sessions are designed to help patients discuss problems that they may feel uncomfortable sharing in a group setting.

Support Groups

Entering a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, can help maintain sobriety for the long run. Most intensive outpatient programs highly recommend joining a support group with many meetings usually being held on-site.

The majority of support groups have structured 12-step programs developed to help those in recovery smoothly move from their treatment program once completed. Support group meetings are held at various times throughout the day, allowing anyone to fit it into their schedule easily.

Moving Forward

If you wonder what treatment program type is best suited for you and your needs, there are several factors to consider before signing up for any program. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has created a list of what you should look for when considering any treatment program:

  •  the treatment program should be accessible, and you shouldn’t have to wait a long time to be admitted into the program
  • your care should be personalized and specific to your needs
  • high-level medical treatment should be provided and accessible
  • all treatment programs should use legitimate, evidence-based research 
  • social support should be offered to avoid relapse
  • treatment should be ongoing and last as long as needed (typically on average anywhere from 30 to 60 days)

By considering all these factors, you can rest easy knowing that you picked the best facility to deliver the programs needed to fit your needs and history of drug or alcohol dependence.

Aspen can Help

Taking the first step into treatment for drugs or alcohol dependence can be scary if done alone. Let our team of medical professionals and recovery experts guide you as you begin to learn how to handle the stressors of a sober life.

Our team is ready to help you every step of your road to recovery and to help change your life for the better. Contact Aspen Behavioral Health to learn how we can help.


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