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      Sober Nation

      Putting Recovery On The Map

      06-02-13 | By

      What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

      When an addict is ready to get clean and sober, there are several ways they can go about it. An inpatient rehab is often recommended, because it gives the person a heavily controlled environment that removes all access to drugs or alcohol. An intensive outpatient program is another option, and unlike a rehab the person does not sleep there at night. Let’s go over the basics of what an intensive outpatient program is and who it can help.

      Intensive Outpatient Program
      Example of what a therapy session looks like

      The Basics of an Intensive Outpatient Program

      The first main distinction of an intensive outpatient program (IOP) is that participants live and sleep in their own homes or at a separate sober-living facility. They do not spend all their free time and nights in the same place where they are receiving their addiction treatment. The second main distinction is that intensive outpatient programs do not include detox assistance.

      An intensive outpatient program usually includes the same types of treatment as an inpatient program. Participants may attend group counseling sessions, 12-step meetings, individual counseling sessions, addiction education classes, and relapse prevention training. Most IOP consist of 10-12 hours of therapy per week.

      When a participant is not partaking in IOP therapy, they are living and working in their normal environments or in an independent sober-living facility. Participants are able to go to work or school as they normally would, and they can participate in whatever activities they choose during their free time that is not spent in therapy. Drug-free activities are encouraged, of course, and IOP counselors may help participants get involved in sports, hobbies, or other healthy diversions.

      People Who Can Benefit from an Intensive Outpatient Program

      Intensive outpatient programs can help a variety of people, but they are not for everyone. They have a much lower level of supervision, and many addicts will benefit the most from an entirely controlled environment when they first stop using drugs or alcohol. There are lots of circumstances, however, when an IOP may be a more realistic or appropriate choice.

      -People who have recently completed inpatient treatment: Oftentimes people will go directly from inpatient treatment to IOP. After they’ve been at an inpatient facility for a few weeks to a few months, an IOP provides a good transitional period by giving them more freedom while still providing them with a supportive, treatment-based environment part of the time.

      -People who need to attend work or school: Sometimes people are unable to put their work or education obligations on-hold in order to receive inpatient treatment. For example, when a person cannot stop working for any extended period of time because of their need to provide for their family, an IOP gives them a chance to receive treatment while still working.

      -People who have recently relapsed: Occasionally people who have been in recovery for some time will relapse, and they may benefit from an IOP. Because they’ve had some time sober already, they may be able to bounce back from their relapse with less supervision and the part-time treatment model of an IOP.


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