Serving as an alternative or follow-up treatment program to inpatient residential services, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) treat substance use disorders, eating disorders and co-occurring mental disorders.
IOPs allow clients to live at home during recovery; and provide a more highly structured program than standard outpatient programs, which have minimum attendance requirements. This allows patients to continue normal daily activities, including family commitments, work or school, as they participate in six to twelve hours of therapy each week.
Depending on the severity of the disorder being treated, IOPs may serve as the primary level of care or as a follow-up to residential treatment. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines five levels of treatment as part of the “continuum of care” for substance use and behavioral disorders, with each level increasing in the structure and amount of care offered:
- Level 1 – early intervention services
- Level 2 – outpatient services
- Level 3 – intensive outpatient; PHP or partial hospitalization services (a slightly higher level 3)
- Level 4 – residential/inpatient treatment services
- Level 5 – medically managed intensive inpatient treatment services
IOP may be the best treatment option for those who qualify AND:
- Have completed medical detox and for whom a lower level of care is appropriate
- Don’t require around the clock medical supervision
- Have work, family, or other responsibilities that require their presence
- Can agree to adhere to program requirements
Structure of Typical Intensive Outpatient Program
While the details of individual programs vary for each facility, IOPs typically meet at least 3 days a week for 2-4 hours per session. In addition, clients are expected to regularly attend 12-step support programs outside of the program hours. Most often, IOP sessions are held at a rehabilitation or medical facility, but some programs are offered online for those who are unable to travel to a facility. The ASAM recommends the duration of treatment to last up to 90 days.
IOPs are often effective for those not requiring the higher level of care provided by residential treatment programs or hospitals. According to a study published in the journal Psychiatric Services, “Multiple randomized trials and naturalistic analyses compared IOPs with inpatient or residential care; these types of services had comparable outcomes.”
What Happens When Clients Leave Intensive Outpatient Treatment?
It’s vital for clients to stay connected to recovery resources once they leave either inpatient or outpatient treatment. The highest rate of success for long-term recovery occurs when clients continue to participate in individual, group and family therapy, 12-step or other support groups; continue to work to strengthen coping skills, relapse prevention techniques and healthy living practices.
Once clients complete an IOP, they may continue treatment with a standard outpatient program or participate in an aftercare program.
Turning Point of Tampa
The Comprehensive IOP program at Turning Point of Tampa meets three nights a week for three hours each session. The program is designed to enable adults with alcohol or addiction problems or eating disorders to receive the services they need while living at home and maintaining commitments to family, work or school.
Upon admittance to the program, clients meet with their primary therapist to develop an individualized treatment plan focusing on long-term recovery. Their therapist will help them integrate into the group, where they can build the support system they need to succeed in recovery. Clients find their group participation, where everyone feels safe to share their feelings and struggles, to be an invaluable component of the recovery process.
Turning Point of Tampa’s goal is to always provide a safe environment and a solid foundation in 12-Step recovery, in tandem with quality individual therapy and groups. We have been offering Licensed Residential Treatment for Addiction, Eating Disorders and Dual Diagnosis in Tampa since 1987.