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When you are suffering from addiction and have decided to seek help, the road to recovery is different for every person. Intensive outpatient programs, or IOP, may not be the solution for everyone, but it is a proven method that may be your way back to a balanced and productive lifestyle.

IOP allows you to live at home while receiving intensive clinical support through a rehabilitation center. Clients usually spend 12-15 hours a week in Eating Disorder Treatment Los Angelestreatment sessions, but the times are generally flexible, allowing for you to continue attending work or school.

It is an excellent option for individuals who are not interested in treatment programs that will take them away from their life and responsibilities in order to deal with struggles with addiction.

Why You Should Choose an IOP as your Addiction Treatment Program

iop program

When addiction has entered a person’s life, the most important thing they can do is decide to take action and make a change. For a lot of people, it is not easy to ask for help and that becomes especially true when it is something as personal as a serious habit they want to break.

Addiction treatment, like intensive outpatient programs, are not the only way to change direction in life, but studies have shown that people are much more successful in fighting addiction with help than on their own.

Drug addiction treatment1, for example, can be conducted in a number of settings, based on the person’s specific situation and comfort level regarding being able to stay in their home, like with an IOP, which offers a lot of flexibility.

Treatment specialists know that as a client when you are at ease with the choices you have made, you are much more likely to continue with the program developed for you as you transition back to a sober lifestyle.

The Basics of Out-Patient Treatment Programs and IOP

Out-patient programs of various intensities are a good option for individuals with life responsibilities that they can still handle while receiving care and have support structures already in place.

People who have family and friends who understand what they are going through and support them in their goal to lead a sober lifestyle can successfully enter recovery through participation in an out-patient program. Outpatient programs, like an IOP, can also be combined with one or more other types of treatments.

Many experts believe that the most successful approach is to find a group of associated counseling and therapy options that can be used concurrently or sequentially as the person reaches goals and makes improvements in their overall health and outlook toward their life after addiction.

outpatient programs

An IOP on its own can involve both group and one-on-one therapies, depending on the individual. Intensive outpatient programs can fit the bill as either a sole rehabilitation method of be combined with other options, too. Taking part in a flexible program is just the inspiration many people need in order to successfully enter recovery and be started on the straight path to the rest of their life.

Intensive Outpatient Programs Further Defined

An intensive outpatient program or IOP is a type of treatment that is recommended not only for people struggling with drugs and alcohol, but also with eating disorders, mental disorders such as depression, and even for those that may be prone to harming themselves.

Individuals who take part in an IOP may not necessarily go through the traditional steps of detoxification, rehabilitation, and after care (in that order), that a person who is in a residential setting typically does to begin their rehab.

An IOP has components that use both group and individual counseling and therapy, and intensive outpatient programs are known to be more successful than individual counseling alone when it comes to those being treated for drug and alcohol.

Programs that allow individuals to keep working, going to school, and living with their families can be a great opportunity for people who might not otherwise choose to address their problem with drugs, alcohol, or other addiction or mental disorder.

A program of this type can be suggested after a clinical and medical assessment. An IOP is a quality choice for someone who doesn’t need to go through medical detox in order to begin their rehab and recovery.

Although it might seem like a part-time rehab program, there is a robust list of aspects and skillsets covered, including:

  • Relapse Prevention Skills
  • How to Manage Urges and Cravings
  • Understanding the Brain Chemistry of Addiction
  • Progression of the Disease of Addiction
  • Introduction To the Twelve Steps
  • Spirituality
  • Stages of Change

Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Programs

The benefits of an IOP somewhat mirror those of any out-patient program. Intensive outpatient programs focus on the therapeutic aspects of the road to sobriety5. They are a treatment option that can truly open doors for people who are unwilling to choose between life’s responsibilities and getting treatment for their addiction or other disorder.

  • Patients can live at home while receiving care.
  • Remain working or stay in school and get treatment at the same time.
  • Stay in contact with or live with supportive family members and friends.
  • Combine therapy with education and build the skills necessary for long term sobriety.

Patients involved in intensive Outpatient programs usually spend 10-12 hours a week in group and individual meetings and therapy sessions. Your treatment can be built around your schedule, whether it’s before you go to class in the morning or on your way home from work in the evening, the idea is for you to be able to attend to the other responsibilities in your life while you are also addressing the negative aspects that addiction has added.

Much like many employers tout the work-life balance their company offers, an IOP offers a balance between addressing problems with addiction and keeping up with everything else in their life.

How an IOP can Help Adults Ready to Make a Change

When an adolescent gets involved with drugs or alcohol, even though they may have succumbed to peer pressure and be influenced by other young people around them, they are still children in many ways and can be pushed a little harder by the adults in their life to get the help they need.

When an adult, especially one out of their twenties or even thirties, is struggling with activities that have a negative influence in their life, the choice must be largely theirs to get the assistance they need or to stop the negative behavior on their own.

Therapists and counselors understand the effort it can take to not only begin treatment, whether it’s an intensive outpatient program or another customized program, but to successfully enter recovery and continue with long-term sobriety.

Adult treatment options2 also have to take into account that the individual most likely has many responsibilities, including work, home, and family, and even though taking steps to address a problem is of great importance, knowing that there can be many other considerations is something that everyone involved in treatment programs is aware of and identifies.

Every adult more than likely has things in their life that will make them think twice about committing to a treatment program. This is why intensive outpatient programs may be a great fit for you and your family as well.

Intensive Outpatient Programs as a Treatment Option for Men vs. Women

Medical professionals from every specialty understand that every disease, illness, or disorder effects men and women differently3. This goes for everything from cancer to heart disease to addiction. Rehabilitation specialists know that in order to help everyone succeed in their struggle that they have to tailor their approach to each individual, starting with whether they are a man or a woman.

Everybody’s battle is different, and making assumptions, especially in the field of medicine, can be hazardous, but knowing that men face different challenges than women when it comes to addiction treatment is an important starting point.

Both genders

Both genders have issues with treatment, starting with seeking help in the first place and continuing with staying in programs to fruition. Intensive outpatient programs can be beneficial regarding overcoming both of these stumbling blocks.

The silver lining for men is that there are many positives regarding their treatment:

  • Men are more likely to seek treatment than women.
  • Men are more likely to seek addiction treatment from a rehabilitation facility that offers many options, including in-patient and out-patient programs, like IOP, than woman.
  • Men tend to develop less health-related consequences from substance abuse than women.
  • Addiction tends to impact less areas of a man’s life than a woman’s, meaning there will be less challenges in returning to a balanced lifestyle.

However, no matter what gender you are, there is no such thing as a good addiction and there are many pitfalls that men encounter more often than woman that must be addressed as well:

  • Men typically drink more than woman and are more likely to develop a drinking-related disorder.
  • Men are more likely to use illicit drug than women.
  • Men are usually younger when they begin drinking to excess than women.
  • Men benefit less from gender-specific treatment programs (which may not have much overall impact, but is something to be aware of when seeking treatment options).

Intensive outpatient programs can benefit both men and women regarding both the similarities and differences in how addiction effects each gender. Even though men are more likely to seek treatment than women, knowing that an IOP is an option and that treatment can be done without having to live away from their families is a benefit for both men and women.

As men tend to develop less health-related consequences than women, an IOPTreating Depression Through IOP can be an excellent choice for men as they do not need medical treatment to address other addiction-related problems.

Addiction typically impacts less areas of a man’s life than a woman’s, meaning there will be less challenges in returning to a balanced lifestyle, an IOP can be the perfect fit as the rhythm of their life and responsibilities can continue while they are treated. Studies have shown, and experts agree, that the longer a person stays in a treatment program, the better the possibility that they will remain in recovery for the long-term4.

Intensive Outpatient Programs and Other Recovery Options

Patients taking part in an IOP are strongly encouraged to also engage in a 12-step program, whether they be more general, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or for a specific substance, like Cocaine Anonymous (CA), or the mother of them all, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)6.

By initiating participation in an aftercare program while also taking part in an IOP, individuals break free of their addiction while laying down the groundwork for everything they will need to stay clean and sober for the rest of their lives.

The greatest counselors and therapists that are involved in the best intensive outpatient programs sometimes cannot help those who do not want help in the first place, but if you commit to making a change and taking back your life from addiction, specialists will do everything they can to assist you in attaining your goal.

The basis behind any treatment program, from a full-scale residential treatment program to a sober living facility to intensive outpatient programs is to successfully transition as many people as possible from a life or abuse and addiction to one of sobriety and productivity.

This is not always an easy task, but with the help of caring, supportive, professional specialists, the journey can be made a little less stressful and arduous.

An IOP can be the best possible option for many people due to the flexibility it offers as well as the continued access to the supportive people in a person’s life.

Give us a call or come visit our Inpatient Treatment Center In Los Angles California


  1. Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (Third Edition) (December, 2012), National Institute on Drug Abuse, retrieved from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/what-drug-addiction-treatment
  2. Treatment for older adults, Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (Third Edition) (December, 2012), National Institute on Drug Abuse, retrieved from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/are-there-specific-drug-addiction-treatments
  3. Gender and use of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, retrieved from: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh291/55-62.htm
  4. Choosing a Drug Treatment Program, HelpGuide.org, retrieved from: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/choosing-a-drug-treatment-program.htm
  5. Choosing In-Patient Rehab vs. Out-Patient Rehabilitation, Recovery.org, retrieved from: http://www.recovery.org/topics/choosing-inpatient-rehab-vs-outpatient-rehabilitation/
  6. Welcome to Alcoholics Anonymous, AA.org, retrieved from: http://www.aa.org/
IOP: Offering Flexibility for Addiction Treatment
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