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What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

What is an Intensive Outpatient Program - therapy - waypoint recovery center

When it comes to addiction treatment, there are essentially two types of programs.

Residential treatment, also called “inpatient,” is designed for individuals who require around-the-clock care in a supervised setting. The need for medical detoxification is often a deciding factor.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient programs are ideal for individuals who have already completed inpatient treatment or who do not require detox or close supervision. Intensive outpatient programs, popularly referred to as “IOPs,” are a much more demanding or comprehensive version of an outpatient program. Most intensive outpatient programs require clients to attend at least three days a week, for several hours per day, with programs lasting anywhere from three months to a year. Intensive outpatient treatment has been designed to allow individuals to continue their work, school, and family schedules with as little disruption as possible. Sessions are usually held in the evening to help accomplish this. IOP is also a favorable option for individuals who find residential treatment to be unaffordable but whose situation demands a more exhaustive treatment plan than a regular outpatient program can offer.

Most intensive outpatient programs offer many of the same services as inpatient programs, such as assessment and treatment planning, individual and group counseling, family therapy, and medication management.

The leading focus of intensive outpatient treatment is relapse prevention, but several other modes of therapy and education play a huge role in making IOP so beneficial. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoeducational therapy, drug and alcohol education classes, and goal-setting are all common components of IOP. In addition, some intensive outpatient programs will employ drug testing in an effort to establish accountability throughout the recovery process and motivate individuals to avoid drinking and using.

Waypoint Can Help

If you are considering addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, there is a program and a facility that will meet your needs. Don’t be shy about reaching out to the staff at your potential treatment centers and asking questions. That is what they are there for! Recovery is both possible, and within reach. Speak to someone today!


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For more information about Waypoint Recovery Center’s substance use disorder treatment services, please contact us anytime at (888) 978-5188.