There are many different ways and approaches to treating a substance abuse problem. One of these is known as an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Whereas those in residential treatment live at the treatment facility 24/7, those in IOPs continue to reside at home and attend intensive treatment sessions a few times a week, or even daily.

What Is Detoxification?

While many residential programs may include a detox period before true treatment commences, IOPs generally don’t include detox.In cases where detox is required, such as for those addicted to opiates or alcohol, detox may occur before the program begins, in a supervised medical setting with the assistance of consulting physicians. Some drugs of abuse, such as marijuana or cocaine, often don’t require a physical detox period.

Detoxification Stages

Detoxification often involves three stages:

  • Stabilization. Consulting physicians may carefully administer prescription medications to patients to help start the process of cleansing the body from the abusive drugs.
  • Guidance. The final step of detoxification involves preparing the patient to start therapy sessions, which will address the reasons why they started using drugs or alcohol. Detoxification is primarily physical rehabilitation; true addiction recovery works on the psychological level.

Defining an Intensive Outpatient Program?

An IOP may be recommended after a clinical or medical assessment, if a doctor or a therapist believes that you do not need medical detoxification remove the physical addiction to the drug. An IOP is a part-time yet strict treatment program designed to accommodate work and daily life with your recovery. As with most treatment plants, an intensive outpatient program will identify short-term goals – the National Institute of Health cites case studies that defined “short-term” as two weeks – as well as intermediate goals (90 days) and long-term goals (one year), with the overall idea of removing the sources of stress and disturbance in life that caused you to abuse alcohol and drugs.

Residential Treatment

IOPs are often recommended for those who have not been struggling with addiction for very long as well as those who have familial or work commitments that they can’t leave in order to focus on treatment fulltime. Residential treatment is more intense, as patients live at the facility 24 hours a day so those who suffer from severe or longstanding addictions are generally recommended to residential programs.

Treatment sessions in an IOP program consist of working one on one with a therapist, as well as attending small group sessions, covering such topics as:

  • How to resist the temptation to use drugs or drink alcohol
  • Understanding the negative neurological effects of an addiction
  • How to successfully reintegrate into daily life once treatment is complete
  • Coping with withdrawal side effects
  • Understanding the connection between a co-occurring mental disorder and substance abuse proble

If you are enrolled in an intensive outpatient program, you will have the freedom to live on your own; you will not take up residence at the treatment facility. You can maintain a job, go to school, and spend time with friends and family; however, you are still responsible for checking in with your treatment facility to keep up with your scheduled therapy sessions.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine recommends that patients receive about nine hours of treatment per week in an intensive outpatient program. More or fewer hours should be determined after a clinical and medical assessment.

Due to the intense nature of this particular outpatient program, friends and family may be involved at certain stages. Patients who have the support and encouragement of their loved ones tend to do better and improve faster.

What Happens If an IOP Doesn’t Work?

An intensive outpatient program isn’t for everyone. Someone still fighting a daily battle with the temptations to use may respond better to individual, residential treatment.

Because of the high level of trust involved in an IOP, the treatment facility may require frequent and random urine tests as part of their agreement with you. If a urine test shows samples of a chemical substance, You may be required to re-enroll in a residential program. The facility will then work closely with you to find a treatment plan that better suits you than the one you were on before. After this plan has been identified and implemented, you will be reevaluated to see if you are ready to move on to an intensive outpatient program.

Your treatment facility will also understand that being in the real world can pose its own set of problems and challenges. For that reason, patients in an intensive outpatient program will often be given an emergency number that they can call any time of day and any day of the week. The emergency line is staffed by trained personnel who can help.

Here at Black Bear Lodge, we understand that recovery doesn’t always follow a straight line. Our professionals work with each patient on an individual basis, ensuring the treatment plan devised is right for their unique situation. Call us today to find out how we can help you begin your journey to health and wellness.