The Ultimate Guide to Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Young adults holding hands at an IOP session

Dane O'Leary November 9, 2020

Some people will not enter inpatient drug rehab. They may believe their drug or alcohol problem is not that severe.  For them, intensive outpatient treatment is a good alternative.

If drinking and drugging has not yet seriously interfered with your job and family life, there may not be a need for inpatient treatment. Removing an addict or an alcoholic from positive environments like work and family for inpatient treatment can be detrimental in some ways.  

Instead, attending intensive outpatient treatment offers a higher level of care than regular outpatient treatment. This can be a good alternative for people who are trying to get sober and need some structure.

Intensive outpatient treatment has a level of treatment intensity between regular outpatient and inpatient treatment. But what are IOP treatment centers? Is intensive outpatient treatment right for me or the person I care about?

Look here for those answers and more. Consider this the Ultimate Guide to Intensive Outpatient Treatment.

Safety is Crucial

For a person to be considered for an intensive outpatient program, they need not be a harm to themselves or others. 

Sometimes people with drug and alcohol addiction have competing mental disorders. These conditions together make a dual diagnosis. 

Co-occurring mental disorders can include bipolar mania, PTSD, schizophrenia, and other conditions. Those with dual diagnosis who do not have their mental illness stabilized will find better care in a safe environment at inpatient drug and alcohol treatment.

Some people after detox do not require hospitalization in an inpatient treatment center. They may have a less severe addiction or a strong support network at home. These sorts of patients make good candidates for intensive outpatient treatment.

Intensive Outpatient & Support Networks

A client must have a support network for intensive outpatient treatment. Otherwise, the temptation for a quick fix might be overwhelming during the first 90 days of rehabilitation.

Of course, an inpatient program offers those who suffer from severe alcoholism or drug addiction the best opportunity to achieve lasting sobriety. Meanwhile, there are also twelve-step programs in which newcomers are often instructed to attend “90 in 90,” or 90 meetings in 90 days, which is a twelve-step meeting every day for the first three months. This is a comparable level of commitment to an inpatient program, meaning it’s not always feasible for those hoping to balance their personal and/or professional responsibilities with recovery.

This is when intensive outpatient care can be a major asset. Additionally, the staff at an IOP program can even make recommendations for ways to supplement the curriculum of an IOP, which could include alternative support meetings such as SMART Recovery. 

However, it’s important to be aware that IOPs can be dangerous for a newly detoxed person who has no outside support. Addiction is very difficult to overcome in light of the inevitable relapse triggers that could cost someone his or her sobriety if the individual doesn’t have a strong support network in place.

Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment Affordable?

Intensive Outpatient Treatment is more affordable than inpatient treatment. In lieu of residential accommodations and prepared meals, you can expect a schedule of weekly therapies and support meetings. People in intensive outpatient treatment can generally expect to be at the rehab center for around three hours per day, up to five days per week.

The curriculum in an intensive outpatient program usually includes learning about nutrition, managing triggers, and other practical, actionable information delivered via daily group sessions.

When Inpatient Isn’t an Option

When determined safe for a person seeking recovery, IOPs pair great with clients who can’t take time off work for inpatient treatment. Others may have demands at home such as a young child or an elderly parent.

Again, safety is paramount. If a patient is angry or unpredictable, inpatient is better. It is important to be in a hospital setting when the severely addicted detox. Severely addicted people or alcoholics who care for a loved one need immediate help.

Is an Intensive Outpatient Program Right For You?

Is intensive outpatient treatment a good fit for your drug or alcohol problem? Consider whether you have a strong enough support network.  You need to be healthy and detoxed for IOP.

If you enjoy your work, time away for inpatient rehab could be detrimental. Many people report feeling better about themselves when they work during treatment.

Many lucky people in recovery have strong family units and longtime friends. These people also may do better in intensive outpatient treatment than inpatient treatment.

Your Source for LA Addiction Treatment

So, how does intensive outpatient treatment differ from inpatient treatment or regular outpatient treatment?

At Silicon Beach Treatment Center, an IOP in Los Angeles, consider IOP the middle treatment track in the offerings of Los Angeles rehab. Patients check in sober almost every day at our IOP in L.A. Those receiving standard outpatient care do not come in for several hours daily. Intensive outpatient treatment is for people whose addiction is not severe enough to require 24-hour supervision.

If you believe you need drug or alcohol treatment but not inpatient care, give us a call to see if you qualify for IOP.

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