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Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) For Rehab

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With some people who suffer from Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD), a big hurdle to entering a rehab or recovery program is the fear of having to interrupt their daily lives. “I have to go to work every day.” “I have to take care of the kids.” “I have school.” These are common concerns.


Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) for recovery are designed specifically for people in these situations. IOP’s enable people to participate in a recovery program while they continue their normal day-to-day lives. There are many different models and levels of treatment for IOP. Many include counseling, family programs, psychotherapy sessions, and strategies to managing stress, finances and other avenues to maintaining a normal life while recovering. Studies have shown that, for those who qualify, IOP can be more effective than a residential recovery program, particularly for opioid addiction.


IOPs are designed to help a patient:

  • Maintain abstinence
  • Work toward changing behaviors that cause SUD
  • Develop and work within a support system
  • Improve problem solving skills

Some of the benefits of IOP include:

  • Lower cost than a residential program
  • A person stays at home throughout the program
  • Flexibility, so you can work, take care of your family, or go to school.
  • A range of treatment options to fit your situation and the kind of care you require.

A person’s eligibility to enroll in an IOP relies on several factors, based on a clinical and medical assessment of the patient. Sometimes, patients will be required to enter a residential program initially, before they can move on to an outpatient program - if they have a severe disorder or a comorbidity.


During Covid-19, some recovery facilities have added virtual sessions to their IOP programs (vIOP). These virtual meetings can include individual, group and family sessions with counselors.


Talk with a recovery professional or a doctor about whether IOP might be appropriate for you or a loved one. When combined with Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) and ongoing programs to maintain sobriety, highest recovery rates are achieved.  





Dale Willenbrink
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