What is “IOP” anyway?

How intensive outpatient programming offers a different path of addiction treatment

by ​Paige Zuckerman, Red Willow Clinical Director​ / November 2019

Addiction is a disease of potential devastation, and one of the most common and increasing health crises worldwide. When facing addiction, whether it be a substance or process issue (gambling, sex, shopping, etc.), the wide array of treatment options can be as overwhelming as the disease itself. Traditionally, most of us are exposed to the pop-culture perspective on “rehab” via depictions of either ultra-posh beachside facilities or cautionary tales of sterile hospitals. The truth of treatment is that there are options for many needs, life demands, and identities. Making an informed choice about your addiction recovery care is a crucial determinant of success.

Some folks opt for residential treatment, or the widely familiar 30-day (or more) inpatient option. These may be suitable options for you, but there can be significant barriers to the feasibility of such focused programs. Cost and life demands are crucial considerations in choosing a care plan. If you’re on a budget, a working professional, parent, caregiver, or managing major roles in life that make it difficult or impossible to be unavailable for extended periods of time, “IOP”, or intensive outpatient programs are worth your consideration.

Intensive outpatient programs are designed to strike a balance between your life and your recovery; a balance that will ideally become a lifelong practice! Sometimes an IOP is a ‘step-down’ option from residential and sober living spaces, and sometimes it serves as a wholly standalone opportunity. IOP’s usually offer several evenings per week of diverse group therapies within a supportive and collaborative sober environment. Some also offer additional services such as case management, family, couples and individual therapy.

IOP can be an excellent option, especially if you’re hoping to maintain your work schedule and/or other important responsibilities during your recovery. If you are exploring alternatives to full-time or residential treatment, intensive outpatient programs may be an ideal solution for you or your loved one.

Your healing, ongoing stability and community support can be elevated through intensive outpatient programs, and your meaningful and balanced life can recover and thrive with you!

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