Addiction Treatment

How Does IOP for Drug Addiction Work?

how does iop work for addiction

Popular images of rehab see people locking themselves away for weeks or months at a time to beat their addictions before re-entering their world.

These in-patient programs do exist, and they are wildly successful. But they do require you to press pause on your life while you recover.

Not everyone needs an in-patient rehab program, and most of those programs end with some form of outpatient treatment anyway. Instead, many people benefit from intensive outpatient programs (IOP).

An IOP is an opportunity to go to counseling, therapy, and skills sessions while also remaining in your home. You’ll learn to re-work your life without substance abuse as you live it.

Is an IOP the right program for you? Keep reading to learn more about how and why these programs work so well.

What is An Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program?

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) are clinically-recommend programs designed for people who do not require a medically-supervised detox or require full-time supervision.

The outpatient program allows enrollees to detox and recover in their homes and communities rather than in a facility. Although the program schedule is only part-time, it remains intensive.

What Kind of Therapy Does an IOP Use?

IOP treatment offers a range of services including:

  • Group therapy
  • Family counseling
  • Individual counseling
  • Withdrawal management
  • Relapse prevention training

Patients participate in nine hours of therapeutic programming per week. But you may receive more or less depending on your assessed needs. In some cases, patients may spend 70 hours or more in programming each week – even as an outpatient.

The big focus for most patients is on group therapy and individual therapy. Often patients receive a combination of the two while also participating in self-help support groups.

Do You Still Get Drug Tested?

Yes, random drug testing is still very much a part of IOPs programs.

Drug tests motivate you to avoid the substance you are in treatment to beat. They also provide a measure of accountability for both you and the treatment provider.

Stages of Outpatient Programs

How do you get started in an IOP? Getting involved doesn’t differ much from inpatient programs for the first few weeks.

Stage 1: Intake and Beginning Progress

Before you enroll in an outpatient program, you will first receive an assessment to ensure that it’s the right choice for you.

Outpatient programs are only available to those who do not need medically-supervised withdrawal programs. If you have a substance use disorder that can produce potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms or complications, then you may not qualify for an outpatient program – at least at first.

Patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal, heroin withdrawal, benzodiazepine withdrawal, or who are experiencing withdrawal while also managing a debilitating psychiatric disorder aren’t good candidates for patient care.

You also may not be a candidate if your home environment is considered toxic or dangerous. If someone else in your home abusive towards you or is still using drugs or alcohol, then your home environment isn’t conducive to the first few weeks of withdrawal.

Once you are accepted, you’ll work with your program manager to:

  • Identify goals and responsibilities
  • Resolve serious crises
  • Prepare a treatment plan that fits your needs perfectly

With the plan of action set, you’ll move into the intensive part of the IOP to put it in motion.

Stage 2: Intensive Outpatient Programs: Weeks 6-12

The first few months of the program are the most structured and intense.

Everything you do here will help you reach the goals you set in stage one. You’ll attend counseling, educational sessions, therapy, and any other sessions in your plan.

It may last six to twelve weeks, but by the end, you should have achieved abstinence from your substance and be able to identify strategies to help you maintain your behavioral changes.

Some of the common goals set for this stage include:

  • Abstaining from drugs/alcohol
  • Replacing drug-using lifestyles with new activities
  • Identifying triggers to find strategies for relapse prevention
  • Sustaining behavioral changes and practice routines
  • Identifying personal problems and beginning resolutions
  • Participating in mutual-help programs

These goals will be tailored to your life and needs.

What Are the Benefits of IOP Programs?

There are four overarching benefits of choosing an outpatient program.

First, these programs offer the structure many find they need as they battle addiction. However, the programs are also flexible and tailored to your unique needs and family life.

Second, remaining at home or in your community allows you to begin to do the work in front of your family and friends. Not only do you start re-building bridges and trust from the beginning, but you also show your family how to support you both during recovery and after.

Third, outpatient care prevents the therapy bubble and offers you one foot in the real world. As you work to learn new coping and management skills and strategies, you have an opportunity to practice them in everyday life.

Finally, patient programs allow you to minimize the disruption in your daily life. You can stay in school, continue going to work, and care for your children or other family members without worrying about finding a way to maintain your life.

Do IOPs Keep Patients Sober?

A review of the scientific literature on IOPs found that there’s a significant amount of research available on the effectiveness of IOPs. All studies in the review found that IOP participants experienced a substantial reduction in their drug or alcohol use between their initial assessment and the follow-up assessment.

The review also found that IOPs had comparable outcomes with inpatient and residential care.

In other words, IOPs do work – when you choose the right program – and you won’t be robbed of the experience of getting sober by choosing a part-time non-residential program.

Are You Ready for Treatment?

Are you ready to call it quits on addiction? You can do it – and you don’t have to uproot your life to accomplish your goal.

An IOP is an excellent idea for those who have the option and want to remain in their homes as they recover. These programs are just as intense as inpatient care, but they are more flexible and allow you to practice your skills in real time. Most importantly, IOPs help you get and stay clean.

Get in touch today to find substance abuse programs that work.