Intensive Outpatient

What is IOP?

In general, there are two main types of addiction treatment: inpatient and outpatient.
An inpatient is a patient who is required to stay at the determined facility throughout the duration of the treatment. The medical care plan that they are under is often referred to as a residential program. An outpatient, on the other hand, is required to come in for treatment sessions and allowed to leave afterward. An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a highly structured form of outpatient treatment.

How Does an IOP work?

Although very similar in structure with a residential program, as the patient will often have to spend all day at the treatment facility, a patient in an IOP is still allowed to go home after the session is over. It is a common option for patients who require a detox program for addictive substances. IOPs differ in the inclusion of treatments, as the services will have to follow the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Treatment Improvement Protocols (SAMHSA TIP), which include:

Group and individual counseling sessions
Behavioral therapy sessions (both individual and in a group setting)
Monitoring of alcohol and drug use
Case management
Medical and mental health treatment
Pharmacological tools
Life skills training
Educational opportunities
Support group meetings
Access to 24-hour crisis management

Additional services may include nutritional consultations, physiotherapy, day-care services, career guidance, anger management programs, and more. These services may be included in the IOPs to help patients to re-acclimate themselves to the society while maintaining their sobriety. Substance abusers often require communication re-learning and stress management aid. These programs aim to provide the help necessary to ensure long-lasting and sustainable changes in the behavior and mindset of each patient.

Treatment providers may use medications, consultations, and physical support in conjunction with the core therapeutic programs to ensure the best results. They may also recommend that patients participate in group therapy sessions in order to learn to open up about their conditions and bolster the recovery process. The more willing the patient is to speak about their issues, the less stressed they will be, which will subsequently reduce the risk of relapse.

What to Expect from an IOP

An IOP includes rehab activities, life skill classes, therapy sessions, doctor meetings, and reintegration workshops that the patient has to attend for each session. There may be single or multiple activities in one day, depending on the treatment program. According to the SAMHSA TIP, most IOP programs range from 6 to 30 hours per week of treatment time depending on the severity of the case. If the patient lacks basic communication or social skills along with destructive tendencies, they will be required to attend more extended sessions.

On the other hand, if the patient does not show any severe symptoms or signs of relapse, the weekly hours they will need to attend will be much lower. On average, patients will attend IOP sessions for around 3 to 4 hours per block. The time slot and activities will depend on their conditions and preferences to ensure that they receive the proper treatment for their needs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests that an addiction program should last at least 90 days, as they claim this to be the optimal amount of time to minimize recovery time and chances of relapse.

During group therapy sessions, patients are encouraged to tell personal stories, share struggles, and address the difficulties in their lives. These sessions are designed to help people who may have a hard time adjusting to society learn that everybody has issues and that it is okay for one to find rehabilitation difficult. Stress, coping, anger management, and handling craving triggers are all essential elements of successful addiction treatment. Group therapies will help patients find common ground among one another and become more inspired to quit their vice. The calm, controlled, and supportive environment will help patients to become more willing to open up to changes in their lifestyle as well.

Patients with co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder will require additional treatment for those conditions. The treatment plan for these conditions will be included in the treatment plan. In most cases, 12-step meetings will be incorporated into the IOP, along with community-based peer support groups, group therapy sessions, medications, reintegration programs, and more. The key to treating these illnesses is to be compassionate towards the patient. The patient needs to learn to be sympathetic towards themselves as well. A common issue that many people with addiction have is a lack of self-worth. When this occurs in tandem with addiction, it can cause a myriad of mental disorders to follow. These workshops will allow patients to learn to have faith in themselves and those around them, giving them hope and support to fight against the cravings. It is an effective way of reducing relapse and promoting sustainable sobriety. Crisis Services offer a 24/7 hotline that patients can call at any time, should the need arise.

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