Intensive Outpatient Program for Addiction

What is IOP?

Government agencies and medical institutions classify drug addiction as a mental disorder. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states “Addiction is considered a mental illness because it changes the brain in fundamental ways, disturbing a person’s normal hierarchy of needs and desires and substituting new priorities connected with procuring and using the drug.” The compulsive behavior caused by addiction overrides a person’s ability to manage their cravings and control their impulses. I person in this state does not consider the consequences of their actions, or how their addiction can harm them physically and emotionally. This way of thinking allows addiction to be classified as a mental disorder, to which mental health professionals should treat with known therapies.

A large percentage of people who suffer with addiction to drugs or alcohol never seek the care they need to change their behavioral and thought processes in order to maintain sobriety. Once a person decides they need help for their addiction, the initial treatment options they are presented with can be intimidating. While there are multiple types of addiction treatment programs in communities across the country, one of the most commonly utilizes and effective form is Intensive Outpatient Treatment. This type of treatment is intensive, but allows the person seeking help to maintain a sense of normalcy by not having to live within a medical facility.

An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a comprehensive treatment program for addiction and co-occurring disorders provided as outpatient services. Outpatient services are medical services that are performed in a medical center without the need for an overnight stay. Our Intensive Outpatient Program is an conforms to ASAM Level of Care 2. This Level 2 program provides services that can treat individuals with complex needs for addiction and co-occurring conditions. It is an outpatient service that delivers treatment services during the day, before or after work, and in the evening. Our IOP is operated on weekdays. We currently do not offer IOP treatment the weekends. We offer a 5-day IOP in which our clients are required to attend 3 hours of group therapy each day and at least 1 individual therapy session per week. We also offer a 3 Day IOP, in which individuals participate in 3 hours of group therapy per day and at least 1 individual therapy session per week. During IOP, clients will participate in counseling services, relapse prevention education, and clinical therapy based on 12-step recovery treatments. The duration of intensive outpatient programs is typically 6-12 months, but like all other medical services, the actual length of services is based upon the client’s unique needs.



The Goals of Intensive Outpatient Program

The goals of Intensive Outpatient Treatment for addiction are just like Outpatient Treatment goals. The main purpose is to assist individuals struggling with alcohol or drug addiction to prevent abuse by managing cravings, which in turn allows them to live a sober lifestyle. A sober lifestyle is one in which the person lives a health-focused life consisting of stable relationships, normal rational thinking process, balanced judgement, and a positive outlook on the future. Like any forms of recovery, Intensive Outpatient Treatment involves a dedication to the process, support from peers and family, and a healthy level of determination. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) the goals outpatient treatment includes the following:

  • To identify internal & external triggers
  • To prevent relapse
  • To introduce a support system through 12-step programs
  • To educate the client on body chemistry and how it affects recovery
  • To address and overcome challenges faced in recovery
  • To address the way addiction has affected their relationships
  • To help maintain complete abstinence during recovery



Who Can Benefit from an Intensive Outpatient Program?

We recommend our Intensive Outpatient Program for individuals suffering from a mild to moderate substance use disorder and are continuing their recovery after successful completion of a residential, inpatient, or PHP addiction treatment program. Since these individuals have undergone previous life skill and relapse prevention training and therapies, they have the skills, responsibility, and aptitude to make it through IOP. ‘

Intensive Outpatient Therapy may be right for:

  • People who have daily responsibilities but still need to manage or make progress in their addiction recovery such as people with children or jobs.
  • People who have completed higher levels of addiction treatment and have mild or moderate substance abuse disorder tendencies.
  • People who have a strong support system and can live outside of a medical setting while managing their addiction.
  • People who have a history of relapse when not actively engaging in a form of addiction treatment.
  • People who have a lack of confidence that a traditional Outpatient Program will be intensive enough to help them prevent relapse and manage their addiction.



Benefits to the Client

Research shows that IOP models are proven to be as effective as residential treatment programs for those managing a moderate substance abuse addiction.

The flexibility of IOP allows for several benefits to the client. These include:

  • More structure than a traditional Outpatient Program (OP)
  • More affordable than other higher levels of care
  • Time to spend with family, friends, and coworkers
  • A feeling of normalcy
  • Access to peer support after treatment
  • Access to medical professionals and medical care during treatment
  • Access to mental health care for those suffering with co-occurring mental health disorders



Therapeutic Components of IOP

Our IOP consists of 10-16 hours therapy per week depending on intensity of the IOP program the client is participating in. At first, a client will visit our Delray Beach, FL treatment center 5 days a week, totaling 16 hours of treatment. As the client makes progress and reaches treatment milestones, they will then attend IOP 3 days a week for a total of 10 hours per week. During this time, all clients are encouraged to participate in a 12-step program affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.

The therapeutic components of our IOP include:

Group Therapy

Group therapy is the main therapeutic component of our IOP. Our groups are specialized to focus on our client’s specific needs. Therapy sessions are led by our licensed professional therapists that have an extensive history dealing with substance abuse disorder, mental health issues, and treating people with a history of traumatic life experiences. All discussion topics are relevant to the needs of the individuals who participate in the program. These sessions allow patients to receive valuable education, professional advice on addiction topics, and receive support from peers. Group therapy creates an environment where people from all backgrounds that share common ground with addiction can receive and provide acceptance, comfort, honest feedback, and support for one another.

Individual Therapy

Individuals attending an IOP will oftentimes patriciate in individualized therapy and counseling. Individual therapy sessions serve as a time for patients to meet one-on-one with a licensed professional in a confidential setting. These sessions can be a time for individuals to find the root cause of addiction, process their experiences in treatment, ask any questions they may have, and celebrate recovery successes. In an intensive outpatient program setting, these therapy sessions are most commonly held weekly or bi-weekly and on an as-needed basis.

Family Therapy

Pride Recovery Center includes family therapy sessions as a part of IOP. Studies have shown that including family members into a client’s treatment process increases the chances they will maintain long-term sobriety and better manage their addiction. Family therapy allows family members understand what their loved one is going through and allows the healing process to being. This healing helps to mend relationships that may have been damaged by the client’s drug or alcohol abuse. Family therapy is provided when deemed necessary by the client’s therapist as part of their individualized treatment plan.

Additional Types of Therapy

Common types of therapies we may offer during IOP include Yoga & Mediation, Adventure Therapy, Neurofeedback Training, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Acupuncture. Every therapy we offer is implemented according to individual need to treat the person as comprehensively as possible. We focus on more than one component of the client’s behavior or their symptoms. These holistic techniques have been clinically proven to increase the likelihood of long-term recovery and addiction relapse prevention.

Support Groups

We encourage al clients to participate in support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These types of support groups are attended by people facing the same challenges and can offer guidance about how to manage day to day life without the use of drugs or alcohol. Other people share their coping skills giving the attendee the chance to learn from their peers.



Intensive Outpatient Programs vs. Inpatient Treatment Programs

Inpatient Treatment isn’t the best solution for everyone. There is no “one size fits all” approach to addiction recovery. For those that find the requirements of Inpatient Treatment to be too intrusive, an Intensive Outpatient Program at a licensed and caring rehabilitation center may be the best solution, especially for those with jobs, kids, or a solid support structure in place. These days it is difficult to take an extended leave from you job or find quality extended care for your children. IOP can provide the necessary addiction treatment the person needs to stay sober without the invasive aspects Inpatient Treatment.

For those without insurance to cover the cost of addiction treatment, Intensive Outpatient Treatment helps reduce the cost of treatment. For less money, IOP offers most of the same benefits as Inpatient Treatment, except for 24/7 monitoring. If a person has already completed an Inpatient Treatment Program or has mild to moderate addiction tendencies, IOP is an great choice for continued addiction therapy.

Family support is valuable aspect of IOP that helps to ensure the person heals familial wounds and restores relationships with their loved one. This helps to ensure sobriety in the long term. Since not all Inpatient Treatment Programs offer this therapy, more may be gained from IOP.

If you have any questions about Pride’s IOP or if you would like more information on how this program can benefit you, we encourage you to contact our Admission department.


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