How Do Intensive Outpatient Programs Work

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) are usually available as an option for those who are in the early stages of addiction, and so are still deemed to be able to function according to their daily roles. It can also be used as a continuing or supplementary program for someone who has just graduated from a comprehensive inpatient treatment program. 

Intensive Outpatient Programs

The main objective of IOP is to help the patients utilize the skills and techniques they’ve learned in the rehabilitation facility as they restart their lives in a regular environment. There will always be the risk of temptation, as well as encountering pitfalls and triggers, but hopefully, the patient is prepared and able enough to overcome all of these so they can stay on the path to recovery.

What to Expect

Intensive Outpatient Programs are for patients who do not live in the facility. As such, the sessions and activities are given a set schedule, which the patients must attend regularly. Each of these sessions may be conducted up to several times a week and may last anywhere from a few to several hours. 

Because the patients in outpatient programs are likely to have worked as well, it’s possible for some of these sessions to be scheduled at a time slot that’s more conducive for those who need to clock out first, whether from work or school. 

Program Length

Although being an outpatient gives you a lot more liberties, such as staying in your own home and attending to your daily routine, it does not mean that it’s any less intensive than an inpatient program.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

The sessions, whether individual or group, would still demand the same focus and commitment, whether or not you’re staying in the facility. In some cases, there may be stricter requirements attached, such as for those on probation. Attending each and every session thus becomes a condition for their probation.

Depending on the case and status of the individual, IOP sessions may be held once or twice a week. Sometimes, the session may take up the whole day, as required by the activity. The better the status of the patient is, the fewer sessions they may be required to attend.

Resources, such as access to individual counseling and support, are however available, which they may use whenever they need it. A full outpatient program may take as little as four weeks to as much as several months, depending on the progress of the patient. 

Treatment Methods

IOP treatments focus more on therapies that can aid in better socialization and exercising better judgment, even in the face of social triggers. Methods typically involve cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), and more. 

In certain cases, it’s also possible that they may be prescribed controlled medication to mitigate tendencies for anxiety and depression.  Facilities that offer Intensive Outpatient Programs, such as NuView Treatment Center ( do offer treatment plans that are based on a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s condition. This allows them to map out the most viable and effective treatment that can help stop substance abuse.

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