Understanding Addiction IOP

Part of the complete guide to understanding addiction

Table of Contents
  1. What is IOP?
  2. How long is IOP for drug addiction?
  3. Intensive Outpatient Program Requirements
  4. What is IOP like?
  5. Case Management in IOP
  6. How much does IOP cost?

What is IOP ?

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a short-term addiction treatment program used to alleviate various life conditions such as addictions, depression, drug dependence, eating disorders, and other dependencies. These programs do not require detoxification or full-time supervision as people visit the treatment centers a few days a week for some hours. Very often, clients will enroll in intensive outpatient therapy once they have completed once they have detoxed from drinking or other harmful drugs, and completed residential drug rehab. IOP addiction rehab can be deemed as “maintenance”. Intensive outpatient therapy is the next step in the continuum of care post inpatient rehab. It allows the client to continue to integrate the coping skills and tools as he or she reintegrates into society.


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It differs from an inpatient program as people do not reside in the facility, and clients go on with their day-to-day activities during the treatment duration. These programs are best suited for people with less severe addiction, minor mental health complications, and a solid base of support.

IOP addiction and IOP mental health programs aim to help clients reinstate their social relationships by adapting back to their families and communities. These programs engage support mechanisms designated to provide relapse management and enhance coping techniques.

Intensive outpatient programs is most often targeted to people recovering from drug and alcohol usage. It provides a relatively high level of care at the initial stage of reentering society after drug rehab and protects clients as they take their first independent steps to maintaining recovery. In addition, IOP addiction treatment helps people stay away from negative influences and people. However, people with severe addiction or co-occurring disorders should first seek drug rehab inpatient treatment to begin their journey to recovery.

How Long Is IOP for Drug Substances?

IOP is most preferred for clients in currently in drug rehab or who have been discharged from an inpatient addiction rehab facility. Treatment focuses on the recovery aspect of the individual.

Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety can contribute to addiction cases. This is due to life triggers and ineffective coping that can spike addiction symptoms. A good drug rehab facility will address these conditions simultaneously, and IOP will strengthen the commitment to recovery.

Sessions vary from facility to facility. However, most intensive outpatient programs run for 9 to 20 hours per week, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Typical therapy sessions run for one or two hours. These programs are conducted on-site in a medical facility, but plans are underway to design online programs, especially for remote assistance.

The program duration can be altered to favor effective treatment according to the client’s needs. In addition, the client’s support system and their mental health also influence the program duration. People who garner recovery skills fast and remain clean will undergo fewer sessions than people with periodic relapses. In extreme cases, IOP addiction clients may be moved to a higher level of care for specialized treatment attention.

How Many Days a Week Is IOP?

On average, intensive outpatient programs require at least 9 hours per week, and treatments occur between 3 to 5 days per week. This depends on the program, as some sessions have fewer hours per week than others. The recommended treatment duration lasts for approximately 90 days and involves group and individual therapy every week. Sessions are available during the day and at night for people held up at work, among other obligations.

Intensive Outpatient Program Requirements

Intensive outpatient drug rehab programs have built in flexibility but there are certain requirements to ensure that everything runs seamlessly. These requirements are straightforward, and they include:

·         Facility Requirements

For one to be admitted in an IOP mental health treatment, there must be mental health diagnosis from clinical-level licensed personnel. As such, a physician, psychiatrist, or nurse must scrutinize whether the client requires IOP assistance. IOP addiction treatment admission may require a drug test to attest to the patient’s substance dependence. During the admission, you can undergo one treatment and several others during the time spent in treatment. If the clinical documentation is approved, the facility will approve the authorized visits for the intensive treatment.

Clients should also follow the stated rules and regulations in the IOP rehab program, such as adhering to the designated hours of treatment. Though day-to-day life activities may limit attendance of all sessions, frequent missing is highly prohibited. This showcases that the attendee is not following the program, and there is a high probability that they have strayed away. In case a client showcases positive results, there is a possibility of discharge from the program.

·         Home Support

Home support and assignments are imperative in intensive outpatient programs. This is because home support helps monitor the clients and ensure that they are on track with the treatment. Home assignments are also imperative in an intensive outpatient program as they enhance relapse prevention. The drug rehab addiction counsellor may provide group-related exercises, articles, books, and videos to help clients in their treatment.  

What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program Like?

IOPs are purposed to unleash the root cause of the problem and mainly involves therapy. Clients do not reside in the rehab premises but undergo frequent counselling sessions to help them better their lives. Below are some of the therapy categories in an intensive outpatient program:

Group Therapy

This is the main component in IOPs and is a foundation for intensive treatments. This is because group therapy provides a supportive aura where clients can reinstate their communication, develop socialization skills with no drug dependence, support one another, and regain structure and discipline. Moreover, the attendees develop a bond with one another, which helps them share their life struggles that relate to one another.

It helps them realize that they are not alone in the shame, guilt, and depression as a result of substance abuse. This encourages problem-solving, interpersonal relationships, and building empathy. In this groups, attendees adopt various aspects of recovery such as relapse prevention, addiction education, stress management, to name a few.

In some instances, groups are specialized to cater for various social classes such as men and women, veterans, LGBTQ individuals, or victims of sexual abuse. According to SAMHSA, groups should have between 8 and 15 members. However, some private IOPs have groups with smaller numbers to enhance more individual focus.

Individual Therapy

Individual interaction with a therapist helps an attendee talk freely about the trauma, addiction, among other difficulties. It is aimed at helping people who find it hard to express themselves in the presence of others.

One-on-one counselling sessions are designated to prevent lapses, unleash possible triggers and develop coping techniques. Individual therapy carries a huge portion of the intensive outpatient treatment, and they are scheduled more often, particularly in the inception stages. A therapist establishes a close and honest relationship which enables them to identify and develop substantial solutions for the client.

Support Groups

Support groups are meant to help clients maintain sobriety. Most IOPs recommend their clients to engage in peer support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholic Anonymous.

Education

The counselling sessions involve training and instructions on basic life skills. This helps clients familiarize themselves with the importance of personal health, hygiene, and the benefits of living a sober life. However, such educative information is passed in a relaxed environment and observing anger management techniques.

Family Therapy

Substance abuse complications do affect not only the attendee but also their families and people around them. As such, engaging family therapies, especially with close members, can enable the attendees to talk about how they feel, apologize and amend their actions. In addition, the feeling of family support can catalyze the healing process as the attendees feel safe and listened to.

Complementary Therapies

These are alternative therapies that are incorporated to complement the traditional offerings. Such treatments include music therapy, art therapy, and equine or adventure therapy. During such sessions, clients adapt nonverbal mechanisms of healing. They mostly happen in group sessions and require therapists trained in such specialized treatments.

Case Management in IOP

Case management is a huge component in drug rehab treatment, especially at the outpatient stage. Clients reentering society and returning to homes and jobs need to know that they are supported in all areas of life. Many people in substance abuse recovery have legal entanglement still lingering, don’t understand their insurance coverages properly or suffer from ongoing medical issues that can be overwhelming. Outside worries can hamper focus on maintaining mental health, abstinence, and avoiding addiction relapse. Case managers will help the client juggle other things going on in their life, keep them organized, and provide ongoing support to navigate any possible obstacles to peace of mind.

How Much Does IOP Cost?

As you search for an ideal IOP facility, keep in mind that prices are unique to the facility. The average cost of IOP treatment per day is approximately $250 to $350. Some IOP facilities charge an entire cost of between $3,000 to $10,000, which is much cheaper compared to inpatient treatment. Some auxiliary costs can help cut the total expenses for the therapy.

However, for the most part, insurance will cover IOP as an extension of residential drug rehab programs. Medicare and Medicaid will also cover these drug rehab programs At Avenues, a dedicated case manager will help you navigate your specific insurance policy and help ensure that all benefits coming to you are available. Understanding your insurance coverages is a huge part of accessing drug rehab treatment that works for you. A good substance abuse treatment program will make certain that financial constraints will never get in the way of a person getting the addiction treatment help they need.

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