For many who enter drug treatment, the decision to undergo treatment itself is a major life decision. The therapy, counseling and support that is received during treatment is invaluable as the recovering addict moves forward with a substance-free recovery lifestyle. However, true long-term recovery is a long term process which does not end when formal drug treatment has concluded. For many who complete drug treatment, entry into an intensive outpatient program is the next step in the recovery process and can help those in recovery transition from treatment back into their day-to-day lives.
What is Intensive Outpatient (IOP)?
Intensive outpatient treatment provides a gradual stepping stone for the recovering addict to get back to their normal life after the rigors of drug treatment. This type of program is designed to meet the needs of those individuals who are recovering from a substance use disorder and need more than weekly counseling, but don’t need residential care. The program provides monitoring several times a week in a supportive group setting. On average, those who attend intensive outpatient meet three times a week and each session on average of three hours for a time period varying from three to eight weeks.
Those who leave formal treatment need continued monitoring and stabilization. Re-entering the real world can be overwhelming for those early in recovery and with the increased stress there can be temptations to use and subsequently backslide into addictive behaviors. Services that are found in many intensive outpatient services include individual and group therapy, family counseling, education classes, relapse prevention as well as Twelve Step meetings off site.
What Are the Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Programs?
There are benefits of intensive outpatient programs that will help the recovering addict take the next step towards stable long-term recovery. Some of those benefits are the following:
- High levels of care–Those who enter these programs receive guidance and treatment of experienced and credentialed staff, many of whom will stay with the individual throughout the course of their entire recovery plan.
- Content and Support— Many people need the support of family and friends if they hope to achieve addiction recovery success. Intensive outpatient is a great fit for these individuals as it allows them to return home at the end of every program day and take comfort in the familiarity of their own environments.
- Maintaining Household Responsibilities— While residential treatment offers individuals a chance to leave their environment and focus solely on their recovery, those people who have a family to take care of cannot simply up-and-leave for an extended period of time. Outpatient care is a chance to be a parent while also recovering from addiction.
- Maintaining Work and Education Commitments–individuals who take part in intensive outpatient treatment are able to continue their education or even maintain a presence on the job while they are undergoing treatment.
Many will ask if intensive outpatient treatment works. While the chances of long-term recovery increase significantly with the addition of intensive outpatient services in a long-term recovery plan, some of these treatment facilities may boast of high rates of long-term recovery with their programs. Before there is a commitment to any program, thorough research needs to be completed to verify the accuracy of those claims. The best intensive outpatient treatment facilities have verifiable and measurable results that can be confirmed by credentialing agencies outside of the facilities themselves.