What is IOP?

Outpatient substance abuse treatment is a form of rehabilitation in which people are treated part-time and return home after each session. These programs are typically well-suited for people with less severe addictions, minor to no mental health issues, and a solid support base. In fact, Intensive Outpatient programs (IOPs) occur more often than typical outpatient programs and usually 9 hours or more of treatment per week for 3 to 5 days.

IOP vs. Inpatient Treatment

The We Level Up treatment center can help with inpatient therapy programs exclusively. Depending on the extent of secondary behavioral disorders such as addiction we can first help assess your condition and thereafter guide you to suitable treatment options. We do not provide outpatient and PHP services at this time. Programs, services, and treatments vary. Call to learn more.

IOP Therapy

Group therapy is the main component of many intensive outpatient programs. Groups allow IOP participants to improve their communication, learn how to socialize without drugs or alcohol, support each other, and experience structure and discipline. Other IOP services include individual counseling, medication management, case management, introduction to support groups, psychiatric screening, and vocational training.

Typically, participants in intensive outpatient programs can choose to live either in sober living environments associated with their treatment center, with supportive friends or family, or even alone if there is sufficient emotional support available.

IOP Goals

Goals of intensive outpatient programs include:

  • Maintaining abstinence
  • Achieving behavioral change
  • Participating in support systems such as 12-step groups
  • Addressing psychosocial issues such as housing, employment, and meeting probation requirements
  • Developing a support system
  • Improving problem-solving skills
We Level Up Treatment Center

How Does IOP Work?

In the treatment of addiction, outpatient care services serve primarily as progressive “step-down” healing programs. Step-down programs [1] are less intensive than inpatient or partial hospitalization programs. An intensive outpatient program schedule provides patients with more independence as they move through the continuum of care while still maintaining high support for patients.

After patients complete drug detox or alcohol detox, they are usually recommended to conduct a comprehensive care program, such as residential rehab treatment or partial hospitalization program. From there, an intensive outpatient program would be an excellent step-down program, as patients will have progressed through treatment and developed the recovery skills needed to improve their function in day-to-day life.

Intensive outpatient programs can also serve as a starting point for treatment for patients who have less severe addiction forms or have outside obligations that preclude them from participating in more structured treatment.

Services Offered in IOP

Intensive outpatient programs can vary widely in the services they offer. An intensive outpatient program curriculum is based on a treatment center’s offerings, expertise, and individual client’s needs. However, most IOPs offer:

  • Medical services, including medication management and medication-assisted treatment
  • Treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Relapse prevention

Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Programs

The benefits of intensive outpatient treatment have been well established by decades of research and experience. In addition, the effectiveness of IOP is confirmed in multiple research studies.

Compared to acute care and outpatient care, IOP offers several advantages:

  • Increased duration of treatment has shown to lead to better recovery outcomes
  • Flexible and easily accessible IOP services allow the patient to maintain their everyday routines and responsibilities
  • Lower costs compared to a residential or inpatient treatment program
  • Clinical flexibility to respond to individual needs
  • Higher retention rate than low-intensity outpatient programs
  • Daily real-world opportunities to apply newly learned coping skills
  • Increased opportunities to establish community-based support
  • Enhanced treatment programs for relapses
  • Greater patient responsibility
  • Provides a greater level of privacy for the patient
  • It isn’t necessary to miss extended periods of work or be away from family
  • Participation in local self-help groups from the beginning of treatment
  • Enhanced ability to develop long-term supportive relations with other patients

IOP for Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Often termed “dual diagnosis,” the phrase “co-occurring disorders” refers to the coexistence of a mental health condition with a substance use disorder. Treatment of co-occurring disorders can occur in the outpatient setting, as mental health professionals are available regularly. For example, in most IOP programs, an individual sees a counselor at least once per week. In addition, group therapy typically takes place multiple times a week.

Every level of care at We Level Up — including IOP — includes treatment for co-occurring disorders. We believe that physical and mental healing from addiction is integral to long-term sobriety.

Ideal Candidates For Intensive Outpatient Programs

The best candidates for attending an intensive outpatient program have other responsibilities in their lives but want to take steps to address their addiction. Eligibility to enroll in an IOP will also depend on many different factors. A medical and clinical assessment are among the steps a candidate must take beforehand to determine their eligibility. In addition, the intensive outpatient treatment program staff may discuss using medication to assist in treatment. Medication-assisted treatments (MAT) are used to help with coping with addiction to alcohol or opioids. They enable you to manage symptoms of withdrawal and dependency, making it easier to wean yourself from your dependence.

Candidates for an IOP have a supportive and open home environment, having family and friends willing to help them on their journey to recovery. Attendance at an IOP allows participants to receive constant support while also building their relationships with loved ones. If the individual does not have a robust support system or has family members or roommates who use drugs or alcohol, IOP may not be suitable.  You will receive a high level of care attending an intensive outpatient program when eligible for participation. If you do not qualify for intensive outpatient treatment, the recovery center will discuss other options, including attending an outpatient program or family program.

How Much Does Intensive Outpatient Cost?

As a general rule, the cost of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction mirrors the intensity of the treatment. Therefore, acute and structured care like residential treatment or inpatient hospitalization costs more than outpatient treatment. The most significant percentage of these expenses comes from the availability of medical care, followed by the cost of room and boarding.

The cost of intensive outpatient treatment is on the lower side of the overall spectrum of addiction treatment expenses. Many factors impact the cost of IOP treatment, like the length of stay and services included.

From a societal standpoint, there is near-universal agreement that treatment of substance use disorders pays for itself. For example, some studies suggest that the ratio of benefit to cost for addiction treatment is more than 7 to 1, primarily because treatment sharply reduces criminal activity and increases employment.

How Much Time Does IOP Take?

Compared to traditional inpatient addiction, treatment is more manageable for those with full-time work or family commitments. However, an IOP addiction treatment program can still be a significant time commitment. It can require 7-10 hours a week and daily visits to the treatment center. Once you’re along in treatment, the day-to-day counseling may be reduced to a few times a week (but this is up to the program’s discretion).

At We Level Up, IOP comprises group meetings, and counseling sessions are held at least three days a week for 2-4 hours a day or more. These sessions are available in the morning and night for your convenience. The standard duration of an IOP program is 8-12 weeks. It can go longer depending on a person’s specific needs but can also be as short as 90 days.

How IOP Works?

The central focus of intensive outpatient treatment is relapse prevention and transitioning from a life of addiction to one of sobriety. IOP utilizes a variety of different therapies to accomplish this. The core of treatment for many intensive outpatient programs like the one at We level Up includes six evidence-based approaches proven effective over time. These include, but are not limited to:

  • 12-Step based programs (Both NA and AA)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Community Reinforcement and Contingency Management
  • Matrix Model Therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing and Life Training
  • Therapeutic Community (Group Meetings)

Intensive Outpatient Program

Our intensive outpatient program (IOP) at We Level Up allows patients to live off-site, in sober housing, or at home with a positive support system present. Most patients in IOP have completed higher levels of care. They have coping skills and a relapse prevention plan to increase their autonomy while still receiving continued support.

Finding Intensive IOP Services Near Me

Internet searches for “intensive outpatient programs near me” usually yield many results but are not a good way to assess the quality or filter results. Some things to consider when choosing an intensive outpatient program include:

  • Proper accreditation and licensing at the federal and state level
  • Access to medical services on an as-needed basis
  • Access to mental health services on an as-needed basis
  • At least nine hours of therapeutic or educational activities per week

We Level Up Inpatient Addiction Rehab Treatment Program

At We Level Up Treatment Center, we provide world-class inpatient care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. All working as a team providing alumni post-treatment planning for intensive outpatient programs after clients complete inpatient rehab.

The We Level Up addiction rehab center offers inpatient substance abuse treatment coupled with co-occurring dual-diagnosis programs. We treat the entirety of addiction and behavioral health disorders including their secondary corresponding illnesses to improve long-term recovery outcomes. Get a free health assessment and find out what treatment options are most suitable for you. Call to learn more. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our specialists know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Your call is private and confidential and there is never any obligation.


[1] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64088/