IOP vs. Rehab: Which is Best for You?

Symetria doctors follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, court records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and their own expertise with decades in the field.

Cummings, N.A. Inpatient versus outpatient treatment of substance abuse: Recent developments in the controversy. Contemp Fam Ther 13, 507–520 (1991).

NIDA. 2020, September 18. Principles of Effective Treatment. Retrieved from on 2022, June 20

All content is for informational purposes only. No material on this site, whether from our doctors or the community, is a substitute for seeking personalized professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard advice from a qualified healthcare professional or delay seeking advice because of something you read on this website.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) offer similar therapeutic services as an inpatient rehab, but patients continue to live at home instead of at the facility.

The Differences Between IOP and Rehab

IOP vs Rehab on Length and Where Patients Live

The success rates of IOP and inpatient rehab are similar and both are typically covered by insurance.

Category: Addiction Treatment > What is IOP

Table of Contents

Should I go to rehab or IOP?

There isn’t one “better” option. We need both rehabs and IOPs, like we need both inpatient hospitals and outpatient clinics for other medical issues.

When is rehab a good option?

Inpatient rehab is a higher level of care than IOP.

Why Patients Choose Inpatient Rehab

Supervision decreases the chances of encountering drugs and physically removes patients from triggers and temptation. 

When is IOP a good option?

IOP is recommended:

If the IOP offers Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), patients struggling with opioids can detox without going to inpatient rehab or detox center. Not all IOPs offer medical services and not all MATs offer IOP, though Symetria has both.

Why Patients Choose IOP
IOP is cheaper and allows patients to continue their life without worrying about missing out or figuring out what to do with kids, pets, work or other obligations.

How do I find the right IOP or Rehab?

Not all IOPs or rehabs are created equal. Finding the right provider can be more important than the level of care.

Be sure the provider has a dual-diagnosis license. The distinction means the provider should treat underlying issues like depression, anxiety and trauma. Some IOPs and inpatient rehabs are 12-step only and don’t treat these related issues that keep patients trapped in negative cycles.

Medication Options
Whether looking for IOP or rehab, look for providers that offer medication options. Anti-craving and dual-diagnosis medications are recommended by all major medical associations.

Accreditation & Reviews
CARF is the highest accreditation for both outpatient and inpatient rehabs. Consistent positive reviews online are also a positive sign.

What is the purpose of IOP?

Just like rehab, the purpose of IOP is to help patients stay sober long-term. In fact, data shows IOP can be just as successful at this as inpatient rehab.

Here’s why IOP can be just as effective as rehab:

IOP Helps in Real-Time

In rehab, patients are sheltered, with limited support to deal with triggers after leaving. With IOP, patients implement coping skills in real life and can see what strategies work.

IOP Gives Longer Support

Rehab is typically 4 weeks (around 30 days), but the risk of relapse is still high for the first 8 weeks. Generally, the longer you stay sober, the easier it gets. IOP usually lasts 6-8 weeks.

What is outpatient rehab?

Outpatient rehab combines IOP with anti-craving medications (like Vivitrol or Suboxone), as well as dual-diagnosis to treat issues like depression, anxiety and trauma. Outpatient rehab matches not just the therapeutic, but also the medical services of inpatient rehab.

The word “rehab” usually refers to inpatient rehab (also called residential rehab), including in this article. But, finding an outpatient rehab that offers not just IOP, but full outpatient rehab services can be the ideal happy medium.

Symetria IOP & Outpatient Rehabs

Still Have Questions?

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Symetria has addiction treatment clinics across Illinois and Texas. You can likely get scheduled TODAY — medications or therapy.