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Intensive Outpatient

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) offer robust care for addiction in therapy sessions held several times per week. The rest of the time is your own to practice your sobriety skills and learn to live an independent life.

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About Intensive Outpatient Programs for Addiction

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are a step down in intensiveness from partial hospitalization programs but provide a higher frequency of care than standard outpatient programs.

In an IOP model, you’ll spend between 9 and 20 hours each week working on your addiction in appointments that fit your schedule, family, and life. You’ll get psychotherapy, medication management, and so much more at a facility filled with talented addiction treatment professionals.

Recovery isn’t always linear, and experimentation is key. If you enroll in IOP and find you need more support, you can transition to a different model quickly and easily. And when your IOP is through, you’ll stay connected to care through a robust aftercare program.

intensive outpatient treatment

What to Expect


1. Intake & Assessment

When you begin your intensive outpatient program, you will first complete the intake paperwork, review program rules and expectations, and receive a substance abuse evaluation, which will assess the nature and extent of your substance use disorder, the presence of a co-occurring mental health or medical condition, family history, treatment history, and beyond.

The treatment team will use this information to create a customized and tailored treatment plan designed to address your unique needs, experiences, and goals.


2. During Treatment

IOPs are a step down from PHPs in intensiveness and structure. You attend the program for anywhere from nine to 20 hours per week. Services and therapies may include:

  • Family therapy
  • Group and individual counseling
  • Treatment for co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD
  • Medication management
  • Education and skills training classes

How long you attend an IOP may vary depending on your needs but you can expect your stay to last anywhere from a few weeks to a couple months.


3. Aftercare & Ongoing Support

In order to prepare you for the transition out of IOP, your treatment team will create an individualized aftercare plan to meet your needs and provide you with the support you need to continue on your recovery journey. This may include stepping down into a long-term outpatient program, joining a support group, and attending relapse prevention classes.


Benefits of Intensive Outpatient

An intensive outpatient program is ideal for someone in early recovery. You need help, but you’re ready to tackle some aspects of independent life. An IOP comes with the following benefits:

  • Independent living - Stay in a sober living home, or move back home with your family. Keep your obligations and promises while working on your addiction.
  • Sober practice - Go to work, care for children, and otherwise restart your life while knowing you can discuss new challenges with your team at any point.
  • Transition with care - Moving from inpatient treatment to independent living is tough, and it can lead to heightened relapse risks. Use an intensive outpatient program to help smooth the move.
  • Hours of help - Spend at least 9 hours each week working through a structured recovery program.
  • Caring community - Your IOP team understands addiction challenges and opportunities. And you’ll recover alongside other people also working toward sustained sobriety.
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Treatment Methods & Services

Intensive outpatient programs help you focus on your recovery and practice your skills in real time. These tools may be part of your treatment program:

Accessible Treatment

You’re required to spend at least 9 hours in structured treatment in an IOP. But your appointments are spread out over several days, allowing you to hold down a job, care for children, and meet your obligations. Your team works with you to ensure your treatment fits into your life.

Personalized Care

You’re not a number at an IOP — you’re a real person who deserves the best care. Intake teams learn about you, your treatment history, and your goals. Together, you decide what should (and should not) be part of your IOP. If your treatment isn’t working, you can change that plan at any point.

Medication Management

Many people need medications to control triggers and relapse risks. And underlying mental health conditions (like anxiety) often respond to medications too. Work with a doctor to find solutions and stay safe with ongoing monitoring.

Evidence-Based Care

Researchers know what works (and what doesn’t work) to help people recover from addictions. Know each therapy option you’re offered in an IOP has been tested and proven effective.

Social Support

Peers are critical for people in recovery. In an IOP, you’ll be surrounded by people working on their sobriety journeys. You won’t have to explain how you’re feeling, what happened, or what you want. Your peers will truly understand you, and they may have helpful suggestions too.

Ongoing Treatment

Remain connected to treatment when your IOP is complete. Transition to outpatient care programs and work with a therapist on a schedule that’s right for you. And if you struggle, know you can return to a higher level of care at any point.


Why Choose Us?

Proven Success in Addiction Care

We’ve helped over 6,000 patients fight and overcome their addiction and we truly understand the level of care needed to achieve long-term sobriety.

World-Class Treatment & Staff

We have some of the best medical directors that focus on creating customizable treatment plans to help patients overcome addiction

Top 10% of Rehabs in the U.S.

Our industry accreditations put us as the top 10% of rehabs in the U.S.

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Frequently Asked Questions

An inpatient outpatient program (IOP) is the bridge between inpatient rehab and outpatient care. You’ll live at home or in a sober living facility, but you’ll spend hours in care each week.

The best IOPs customize care, offering therapies based on patients’ wants and needs. These therapies could be part of your IOP:

  • Group therapy: During group therapy sessions, participants learn communication skills and healthy social experiences that do not involve drugs or alcohol.
  • Individual counseling: Individual counseling sessions address a recovering addict’s urgent issues and their current efforts to maintain abstinence. The counselor reviews reactions to group therapy topics and goes over the treatment plan and coping strategies. Sensitive issues that are difficult to discuss in the group are also addressed.
  • Complementary therapies: Many intensive outpatient programs complement traditional therapies with a more holistic approach. This can include things like art therapy, music therapy, fitness classes, yoga, and meditation. These complementary treatments allow recovering addicts to heal in nonverbal ways.
  • Support groups: Recovering addicts who are participants in an intensive outpatient program can benefit significantly from joining peer support groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. The 12-step programs advocated by these support groups provide a structure for recovery that complements the formal treatment.

Costs can vary depending on the type of treatment you need and the length of care required. Most IOPs work with insurance companies and can smooth your enrollment process to ensure you use your benefits properly.

Intensive outpatient rehab is a good choice for people who have a safe and supportive home environment filled with encouraging family members. If a recovering individual lives with people who use drugs or drink excessively, residential drug rehab is a better option for them.

Intensive outpatient programs are also not recommended for individuals with severe, long-standing addictions or co-occurring mental health disorders. In these cases, inpatient or residential treatment with 24-hour supervision and immersive recovery environments are generally recommended.

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