What Is An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

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An intensive outpatient program is an intermediate level of care that serves as a bridge between inpatient rehab and living a recovery-focused lifestyle. Also known as IOPs, these programs offer several hours of therapy every day, 4-5 days a week. Unlike inpatient rehab, intensive outpatient programs for substance use disorder do not require patients to stay at a treatment center 24/7, allowing them greater flexibility to continue working or studying in addition to having the comfort of living at home.

An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is a type of treatment service and support program used primarily to treat eating disorders, depression, self-harm, and chemical dependency that does not rely on detoxification. IOP operates on a small scale and does not require residential or inpatient services. It allows individuals to seek help for their disorders without disrupting their daily lives.

IOPs are designed to provide support for individuals while they continue to live at home and possibly even continue to work or attend school. They are often scheduled around work or school to accommodate these activities. IOPs can vary in their services, but they often include individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, and other services as needed.

Determining If You Are An Appropriate Fit For Intensive Outpatient Treatment

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ASAM Criteria is the most widely accepted comprehensive set of guidelines for determining which level of care is appropriate for a patient based on their symptoms. Level 2 under the ASAM guidelines is Intensive Outpatient Treatment or IOP and Partial Hospitalization. Individuals who need more care for their substance use disorder can receive intensive outpatient treatment or partial hospitalization services which is classified as a step-down level of care from Level 3 otherwise known as residential inpatient and commonly referred to as inpatient rehab.

What Happens During Intensive Outpatient Treatment?

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) is a form of treatment where patients do not stay in the facility overnight and are able to maintain their daily activities such as work, school, or family responsibilities. Here are some key aspects of what happens during an IOP:

  1. Intake Process: The program begins with an intake process where the patient’s current physical, mental, and emotional health is assessed by a medical professional or mental health clinician. This includes questions about the type and frequency of substance abuse and its impact on the patient’s everyday life. A drug test and physical exam may also be conducted.
  2. Frequency of Meetings: Patients typically attend treatment sessions several times a week, often for 2-4 months. Each session lasts about three hours. This allows patients to continue with their daily responsibilities while receiving treatment.
  3. Group and Individual Sessions: IOPs often follow a group therapy format, allowing patients to receive support from others who are going through similar challenges. However, individual counseling sessions are also available for those who would benefit more from one-on-one treatment. Family therapy options may also be available.
  4. Professional Help: Patients work with experienced professionals who are trained in a mix of traditional and holistic counseling methods. These clinicians use techniques like motivational enhancement and cognitive-behavioral therapy to help patients identify and fix distorted thinking.
  5. Learning New Coping Strategies: A significant part of outpatient treatment is learning healthy coping mechanisms to replace harmful ones. These can range from simple strategies like breathing exercises or going for a run, to more contemplative ones like writing thoughts in a recovery journal.
  6. Future Planning: Before the program ends, patients work with their counselors to develop a plan for the future. This includes strategies for avoiding triggering environments, identifying support systems, and planning activities for when they’re alone.
  7. Challenges and Rewards: Overcoming addiction is a significant challenge, and it can be particularly difficult in an IOP where patients have the freedom to engage in harmful habits at home. However, the rewards of a life free of substance dependency make the effort worthwhile.

Remember, the specifics of an IOP can vary depending on the facility and the individual’s needs. For instance, At The Nestled Intensive Outpatient Program, wellness and holistic recovery is a focus that allows individuals an opportunity to explore different paths to recovery with integrated practices like mindfulness and experiential therapy.

What Are The Benefits Of An Intensive Outpatient Program?

Intensive outpatient programs are fully customizable and meet you where you are. Whether you’ve just completed a residential program and would like a schedule of ongoing support with the same team of therapists and clinicians, or are seeking help and healing for the first time, an IOP will give you the tools you need to stay sober and move you forward on your path to sustainable wellbeing. 

An IOP is also a good choice for early intervention with substance use or mental health disorders and can be an approachable first step for people who may not be ready for an inpatient program. Intensive outpatient programs focus on skill-building and self-regulation techniques that you can practice in real time each day when you return home to your family and friends. 

How Does Outpatient Rehab Benefit Recovery?

  • Get real-time feedback on present triggers at home & work 
  • Unpack unprocessed memories that are preventing optimal functioning 
  • Learn and practice a variety of different skills that can help with urges and cravings as well as emotional dysregulation 
  • loved ones learn to communicate, resolve conflict, and honor one another’s boundaries 
  • Build their support system 
  • Build their coping skills toolbox 
  • Create a long-term recovery program 
  • Implement healthy lifelong habits around nutrition, exercise & financial & occupational wellness 

Outpatient Therapy Bridges The Gap Between Rehab and Daily Life

Addiction affects the whole family system and having a supportive environment during the transition back to work and family can help to become healthier and stop relapse triggers before they happen. Outpatient treatment provides an opportunity to integrate back into daily routines and supports healthy relationships. Patients can learn through bi-weekly Interpersonal Development Workshops. Clients can invite up to 3 loved ones to come and learn about: 

  • Why addicts can’t “just stop” (neuroscience behind addiction)
  • What enabling is and healthy boundaries 
  • The benefits of talking about topics that have been avoided within the family unit 
  • Healthy communication & listening skills to help build a healthy connection

IOP At The Nestled In Las Vegas, Nevada

The Nestled Recovery Center is now offering a step-down level of care for those struggling with addiction and mental health. An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is geared toward individuals who do not need the 24/7 support that comes from detox or residential treatment. This program is intended for those who need to continue to work or tend to their families, yet need intensive support to stay sober. 

Take The First Step To Long Term Sobriety With Intensive Outpatient Treatment

At Nestled Recovery, we have a unique, holistic approach to addiction treatment and long-term recovery from substance use disorders. You can expect to receive professional, trauma-informed care in our beautiful, state-of-the-art facility while learning how to incorporate mindfulness into your healing journey. Using the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, we consider the entire person: mind, body, and spirit, creating tailored treatment plans with a number of experiential therapies and psychotherapies to choose from, with sensitivity to each person’s unique background and circumstances. If you or a loved one are struggling with a substance use disorder, contact us today.

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