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Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): What Is It & Find IOPs Near Me

Table of Contents

What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to provide treatment for mental health and addiction disorders. An intensive outpatient program offers a more flexible and less restrictive option than traditional inpatient programs and can be a more affordable option for patients as well.1

There are many treatment centers in the US that offer intensive outpatient treatment programs. In fact, nearly half of all treatment centers in the US (46%) offer Intensive Outpatient Treatment as part of their substance abuse treatment programs. In 2017, close to 134,000 people received treatment through Intensive Outpatient Programs across the US.2

If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health disorder, IOP may be a good option to consider. Therapists who specialize in this type of treatment can help you understand your disorder and develop coping skills to manage your symptoms. IOP can also provide you with support and guidance as you navigate your way through recovery.1

What Can You Expect From an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

When you are seeking treatment for substance abuse or a co-occurring mental health disorder, it is important to find a program that meets your needs. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) offer a level of care that is between outpatient and inpatient treatment. IOPs provide more structure than outpatient programs and require more commitment from participants, but allow people to continue working or attending school while receiving treatment.1

IOPs typically offer group and individual therapy, as well as other evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing. Participants in an IOP usually meet 3-5 times per week for a few hours at a time. Some IOPs also include 12-step facilitation or other complementary therapies.1

Intensive Outpatient Programs can be an effective treatment option for people who are struggling with addiction or a mental health disorder, but who cannot commit to a full-time inpatient program. If you are considering an IOP, it is important to make sure that the program you choose is accredited and offers evidence-based therapies that have been proven to be effective in treating addiction and mental health disorders.1

How Long Is an Intensive Outpatient Program on Average?

An Intensive Outpatient Program typically lasts between 8 to 12 weeks, with the recommended minimum duration of 90 days. However, the length of treatment may be affected by the severity of addiction, the type of substance abused, and any co-occurring mental health issues. Treatment duration can also vary depending on the individual’s needs.1

IOPs typically consist of three to four hours of group therapy and individual counseling per week and may also include additional services such as family therapy, medication management, and educational groups. However, patients in an IOP typically live at home and continue to work or go to school while attending treatment.1

Some people may need a longer period of treatment in order to achieve sobriety, while others may be able to recover in a shorter time frame. It is important to work with a treatment assessment team to determine the best length of treatment for each individual.1

In general, longer treatment times are associated with a higher rate of positive outcomes. Therefore, it is important to discuss treatment options with a qualified professional to ensure that you or your loved one receives the care necessary for a full recovery.3

What Is the Role of the Intensive Outpatient Program in the Treatment of Mental Health?

Mental health services can help address the underlying causes of substance abuse and provide additional support to participants of an Intensive Outpatient Program. For example, an Intensive Outpatient Program for alcohol abuse may provide medication management, psychological assessment, consultation, and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues. These programs can also coordinate and collaborate with mental health services to ensure that all aspects of care are addressed.1

This may include the following:1

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

What Is the Average Intensive Outpatient Program Cost?

The average Intensive Outpatient Program cost can vary depending on a number of factors. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are a type of substance use treatment that is typically more affordable than inpatient care but still offers many of the same services.1

IOPs can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months and the cost will depend on the length of the program as well as the services offered. Some IOPs may also offer additional services such as individual therapy or group counseling, which can increase the cost.1

An Intensive Outpatient Program typically costs less than inpatient care because patients do not need to stay overnight at a facility. Instead, they attend treatment during the day and return home in the evening. This allows patients to continue working or going to school while receiving treatment.1

Does Insurance Cover Intensive Outpatient Program Costs?

Inpatient treatment is not the only level of care available for those struggling with addiction. Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) is another step down from inpatient care, and it is often covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act.4

Most insurance companies will cover some or all of the costs of Intensive Outpatient Programs, depending on the individual’s policy. It is important to check with your insurance provider to see your coverage level for IOP. Some insurance companies may only cover an Intensive Outpatient Program with a reference from a medical professional, while others will cover it as long as the program is accredited or in-network with your insurance provider.4

There are a number of alternative payment options for those seeking intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse. First, there are numerous state-funded rehab programs available to eligible patients. Some programs offer sliding scale fees based on income, while others have scholarships or grants available. Alternatively, you may be able to use savings, take out a loan, or ask friends and family for help. There are also crowdfunding platforms that can help you raise money for treatment.4

How to Find Best Intensive Outpatient Programs Near You?

When it comes to finding the best intensive outpatient program (IOP), there are a few things you will want to keep in mind. First, you need to find an accredited treatment program with a good reputation. You can find this information by searching online resources such as, contacting a substance abuse hotline or reaching out to a treatment provider such as American Addiction Centers directly.

Another thing to remember is that you need to verify a program is covered by your insurance. This will help ensure you can get the most out of your treatment. You can check with your insurance provider to see what kind of coverage they offer for IOPs and which treatment centers accept your insurance policy.4

Finally, you will want to make sure that you find a program that is convenient for you. This means finding a program that is close to where you live or work. It also means finding a program that offers flexible scheduling so that you can attend treatment sessions around your other commitments.1

How Do Intensive Outpatient Programs and Inpatient Treatment Differ?

There are a few key differences between intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) and inpatient treatment. Intensive Outpatient Programs usually require fewer hours of therapy per week than inpatient treatment, and patients typically live at home or in a sober living environment during IOP. In contrast, inpatient treatment usually requires more hours of therapy per week and patients live in the treatment facility.1

IOP is often less expensive than inpatient treatment, but it can still be very effective. Some research suggests that an intensive outpatient program for alcohol abuse may be just as effective as inpatient treatment for certain types of patients.1

Here are a few key things to keep in mind when considering intensive outpatient treatment vs inpatient treatment:5

  • IOP may be a good option for people who have less severe mental health or substance abuse disorders.
  • IOP requires a higher level of motivation and commitment from patients, since they are not in a controlled environment.
  • IOP may not be appropriate for people who have a high risk of relapse or who have been through inpatient treatment before.
  • Inpatient treatment may be a better option for people who have more severe mental health or substance abuse disorders.
  • Inpatient treatment can provide a higher level of structure and support than IOP, which can be helpful for some people.
  • Inpatient treatment is typically more expensive than IOP.

How Do Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient Programs Differ?

There are a few key differences between outpatient and intensive outpatient programs. First, outpatient programs typically require patients to come in for therapy sessions or meetings a few times a week. On the other hand, intensive outpatient programs may have patients coming in several times a week for a minimum of 9 hours of therapy per week.1

Additionally, outpatient programs may last for several weeks or months, while intensive outpatient programs may last 12 to 16 weeks, based on the patient’s progress. Finally, outpatient programs typically focus on treating the symptoms of addiction. At the same time, a dual diagnosis intensive outpatient program may also focus on addressing the underlying causes of a patient’s condition.1

What Are the Advantages of IOPs Over Residential Treatment?

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are a good choice for people who don’t need to live at a treatment center, but still need help. Residential treatment centers are for people who need full-time access to a medical professional while on their journey to recovery, usually if their addiction is severe or they have relapsed before.5

However, there are a number of reasons why someone might choose an Intensive Outpatient Program over residential treatment. Here are a few key considerations:

  • IOPs offer more flexibility than residential treatment, making it easier to continue working or going to school while in treatment.
  • The intensive outpatient program cost is less than residential treatment.
  • IOP’s allow mothers to take care of their children at home while receiving treatment
  • IOPs allow people to receive treatment in their own community, which can be helpful for maintaining support from family and friends.
  • IOPs typically have shorter treatment durations than residential treatment, so they may be a better fit for people with less time to commit to treatment.

How Can You Find the Best Intensive Outpatient Program?

When looking for an intensive outpatient program (IOP), it is important to consider a few key factors. One of the most important things to look for is a program that is located in a safe and secure setting. The rules and regulations should be explicitly stated on the program’s website, and you can also read reviews from other patients to get a sense of the online presence and reputation of the facility.6

It is also important to choose an intensive outpatient program that is cost-effective and covered by your insurance. You can ask for personal referrals from friends or family members who have gone through treatment or look for top-notch offerings that include a variety of amenities and services such as same-day admittance. By doing your research and taking the time to find the right program for you, you can ensure that you get the best possible care in rehab.6

What Happens After an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are one level of care lower than inpatient treatment. An IOP typically lasts up to three hours a day, three to five days per week. Treatment is usually provided at a local treatment center. However, some patients might find it necessary to continue their treatment following a successful completion of the IOP.1

After completing an IOP, you may transition to standard outpatient therapy, typically one hour per week with periodic drug testing, if your addiction counselor finds it necessary. You may also be referred to a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Maintaining some level of treatment after completing an IOP is essential to prevent relapse.1

You will learn a few different coping mechanisms to prevent relapse during the aftercare process. There are several things you can do to make sure you stay on track after completing an intensive outpatient program:1

  • Recognizing common warning signs of relapse.
  • Establishing tools for preventing relapse.
  • Developing a personal relapse prevention plan.
  • Developing coping skills and stress management techniques.
  • Identifying resources to assist with recovery.
  • Rebuilding relationships with others.
  • Developing money management skills, housing skills, and legal knowledge.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does an Intensive Outpatient Program Work? 

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a form of treatment that allows people to receive care while continuing to live at home and work or attend school. It is a step down from inpatient treatment, which requires people to live at the facility for the duration of their treatment.1

IOPs are typically geared toward people who have completed an inpatient program or who need a higher level of care than what is available through traditional outpatient therapy. IOPs usually involve attending group and individual therapy sessions several times per week. The number of hours required each week will vary depending on the program, but most IOPs require at least 9 hours of treatment per week.1

Intensive outpatient programs typically last for 3-4 months starting with the day of admission, but the length of treatment may be shorter or longer depending on the needs of the individual. IOPs provide a structured environment that helps guide people in rehab to stay on track with their recovery goals. The program staff works with each person to create an individualized treatment plan that includes therapy, skill-building, and other activities that support recovery.1

Who are Intensive Outpatient Programs Designed For? 

Finding a program that meets your needs is essential when seeking treatment for substance abuse. Many different rehab programs are available, depending on your needs and preferences. For example, Christian rehab programs offer a faith-based approach to addiction treatment, while couples rehab programs provide support and treatment for the patient and their partner. Non-religious rehab centers offer a secular approach to addiction treatment and may be a better option for those who do not wish to participate in a spiritual treatment program. There are also numerous specialized treatment centers, like ones offering rehab for veterans, men-only treatment centers, or ones that cater to the LGBTQ population exclusivelly. Treatment programs also differ in terms of duration, with short 3-7 day treatment programs available along with effective 30-day treatment and even 60-day drug rehab programs. So where do IOPs fit in and who are they designed for?5

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are designed to provide therapeutic treatment for individuals struggling with mental health and substance abuse disorders. IOPs are typically recommended for individuals who do not require 24-hour care, but who still need more support than what is available through traditional outpatient care.IOPs can be beneficial for individuals who:1

  • Are struggling with co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder.
  • Have recently been discharged from a residential treatment program.
  • Are dealing with substance abuse issues, such as addiction to drugs or alcohol.
  • Are experiencing difficulty managing their symptoms on their own.
  • Have a strong support system in place.

When is an Intensive Outpatient Program Recommended? 

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are recommended when a person needs more support than what is available through traditional outpatient care, but does not require the 24/7 care of inpatient treatment. IOPs can provide a stepping stone between inpatient and outpatient care, or act as a standalone treatment option.1

IOPs are typically recommended when a person is struggling with substance abuse, mental health disorders, or both. IOPs can help people who are struggling to stay sober after completing an inpatient treatment program, as well as those who are at risk of relapse. IOPs can also be beneficial for people who are having difficulty managing their mental health symptoms.1

Is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) the Same as a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)? 

People often confuse intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) with partial hospitalization programs (PHPs). While both types of programs offer similar services, there are some key distinctions between the two.7

IOPs are typically shorter in duration than PHPs and provide less intense levels of care. IOPs may be a good option for people who need more structure than what is provided in traditional outpatient therapy, but who do not require the level of care offered in a PHP.7

PHPs, on the other hand, are more intense and typically last for a longer period of time. PHPs may be a good option for people who need a higher level of care than what is provided in an IOP, but who do not require the level of care offered in an inpatient program.7

It is important to note that IOPs and PHPs are not the same as inpatient programs. Inpatient programs provide 24-hour care and supervision, whereas IOPs and PHPs do not.7

Are Intensive Outpatient Programs Effective? 

There’s no easy answer when it comes to how effective IOP programs are. Ultimately, it depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the addiction, the individual’s motivation for change, and the quality of the program itself. That said, research does suggest that IOP may be helpful for those struggling with addiction.1

While IOP programs can be beneficial, it’s important to remember that they’re not a quick fix. Even with the best intensive outpatient programs recovery takes time and effort, and there will be setbacks along the way. But with patience and perseverance for at least 90 days, IOP can be an important step on the road to recovery.1

Can Intensive Outpatient Programs Help With Anxiety? 

The effectiveness of an intensive outpatient program for depression, anxiety or any other mental health disorder depends on a variety of factors including the severity of the disorder and the individual’s response to treatment. However, research suggests that IOP can be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders, particularly when used in combination with other evidence-based treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).1