Drug, alcohol, and other substance use issues can be very isolating—and tough to tackle on your own. Whether you’re struggling with substance use yourself or have a loved one or family member in need of some help, you may wonder about the treatment options available. Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs (IOPs) are designed to help those who are grappling with serious substance use disorders but who don’t require inpatient care. Learn more about the services and support IOPs can offer and who can benefit from this treatment.

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What is an Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program?

IOPs empower people to:

  • Explore their individualized triggers for substance use
  • Develop coping mechanisms
  • Improve their decision-making processes
  • Develop relapse prevention plans

These programs incorporate 12-step meetings, group and individual therapy, and other approaches designed to provide participants with a broad array of treatment resources. Anuvia’s IOPs meet three times per week for 12 weeks, with an optional Continuing Care Level that meets once a week for four to six weeks. Both morning and evening hours are available to fit your schedule.

Substance Use and Mental Health IOPs

Substance use and mental health issues often go hand-in-hand. About half of those experiencing a substance use disorder during some point in their lives will also face mental illness and vice versa. Unfortunately, struggling with both substance use and mental illness can increase the risk of relapse. Anuvia’s Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment (SACOT) provides daily structured support for those with severe substance use issues, a history of relapse, and mental health issues. Using the Integrated Dual Disorders Treatment model, SACOT includes:

  • Case Management Services
  • Group Therapy
  • Substance Use Education
  • Weekly Family Session

Another Anuvia resource for those dealing with mental health issues is the Medication Management program. Clients who are enrolled in any Anuvia program may be referred to Medication Management, where they’ll undergo a psychiatric evaluation and follow-up medication management visits. These services can be continued on an outpatient basis even after IOP ends.

What Should You Expect From an IOP?

As the name implies, IOPs provide more intensive services—and therefore require more intensive participation—than standard outpatient programs. Some of these services include:

  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Support groups

This therapy lies at the center of IOPs, supporting clients in multiple ways:

  1. Group therapy provides a venue for therapists to teach new skills and pass on important information to an entire group.
  2. It also offers the opportunity for participants to enhance their communication skills in a drug- and alcohol-free environment. Often, those who are in active substance use tend to surround themselves with other substance users. Recovery can present an opportunity to re-learn how to interact with others in a substance-free environment.
  3. Finally, group therapy can help build lasting relationships. Other members of the group can provide feedback, comfort, and support based on their shared experiences.

There are a variety of group sessions available, addressing the broad range of skills and treatments needed to support recovery.

  • Skills-development groups allow clients a safe space within which to practice specific behaviors.
  • Psychoeducational groups provide education about substance use disorders, substance dependence, and the physical and legal consequences of substance use.
  • Refusal training can test participants’ resolve to avoid high-risk situations in which they may be triggered.
  • Family groups may address the family’s role in supporting the individual’s needs, as well as the impact the substance use has had on a particular relationship.
  • Relapse prevention groups work with participants to identify high-risk situations that can trigger substance use. These groups help participants develop techniques to reduce the risk of relapse.

Individual Therapy

Although individual therapy isn’t the primary form of treatment through an IOP, it can help participants break down some of the concepts learned during group therapy—and in the process, help them gain insight into their own substance use. Individual therapy can also be important for those who may not feel comfortable enough in a group to fully open up.

Support Groups

Along with group and individual therapy, IOP participants are encouraged to take part in 12-step support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. While not required, 12-step groups can provide a useful framework for recovery—one that’s continually reinforced if the participant continues attending the support group after the IOP has ended. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use problems, you don’t have to go through this alone. Anuvia can help. Call 704-376-7447 for more information.

FAQs About Intensive Outpatient Treatment Programs

How long does an IOP last?

Each IOP is different—but at Anuvia, an IOP will consist of at least 36 meetings or three times a week for 12 weeks. Those in need of more intensive treatment can continue with weekly Continuing Care Level meetings for another four to six weeks.

What’s the difference between an IOP and residential treatment?

Residential treatment is designed for those with more severe substance use disorders or those whose living situation makes it challenging to effectively engage in treatment. It provides 24/7 monitoring and immersive treatment in a safe environment.

By contrast, IOPs allow participants to stick to their regular routine in many ways while still benefiting from the intensive group and individual therapy. IOP is essentially a middle ground between full-scale residential treatment and less intensive outpatient programs.

What are some advantages of an IOP?

Because these outpatient programs offer both daytime and evening options, they can allow participants to maintain their presence at home and work. Instead of taking a leave of absence from work, arranging for childcare, or taking the other steps required to prepare for and enter an inpatient or residential treatment program, participants are more easily able to fit the IOP therapies and services into their schedules.

Are there any disadvantages to an IOP?

For those who lack supportive home environments, an IOP may be less effective than other types of treatment. For example, the progress made at each meeting may be hampered by a chaotic living situation.