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Is IOP Or Outpatient Treatment Best For Me?

When looking for substance use and mental health treatment, clients should consider the level of care they need. Some people need to detox or aren’t able to stay sober without high levels of supervision. They might need an inpatient or residential treatment as a result. However, for those further along in recovery, an IOP or outpatient treatment program can offer professional support with fewer restrictions.

Enlightened Solutions provides addiction and mental health treatment at various levels of care. That way, we can meet our clients where they are in their recovery. We can also help them transition from one stage of recovery to the next, such as moving on from residential care to an IOP or other type of outpatient program.

What is IOP?

IOP stands for “intensive outpatient program.” Thus, while this program provides intensive support, IOP is still an outpatient program. Clients might live alone or with family members as they attend their IOP. Or, they might live in a structured sober living home.

An IOP program requires clients to attend for about 3 to 6 hours per day, 3 to 5 days per week. That way, clients with work, school, or family obligations can attend the IOP program around their schedule. Many facilities also offer evening IOP as well as morning and daytime programs.

During IOP, clients get a mix of one-on-one therapy, group sessions, holistic treatments, and psychoeducation classes. Clients learn a range of coping skills, from relapse prevention and sober living preparation to essential life skills and setting healthy boundaries.

What is Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, is more flexible and less intensive than an IOP. While IOP is a type of outpatient program, outpatient treatment generally refers to weekly individual or group therapy. Outpatient treatment can also be a blending of group and individual therapy as well as family therapy.

Clients meet for outpatient therapy 1 to 3 times per week. Most sessions last about an hour at a time. However, depending on a person’s needs, they could be more or less than that. Outpatient treatment focuses on lingering issues or specific challenges a person needs to address.

But, which is best for each client—IOP or outpatient treatment? These factors are based on the clients’ needs.

Who is IOP Best for?

IOP programs are best for those who still need significant structure and support to maintain their recovery. Often, clients in IOP are transitioning from a partial hospitalization program (PHP). They might also go from inpatient care to an IOP if the schedule of PHP is too restrictive for them to engage in treatment.

Most people in IOP have other obligations, such as attending school, working, or caring for their family. However, while they require flexibility, they also need a higher level of care to maintain their recovery skills and sobriety. 

Do You Need Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment is best for those with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. Clients can develop coping skills for mental health symptoms. They can also talk through daily stressors they face in recovery with professionals or a group of like-minded individuals.

In addition, outpatient treatment can help those with relationship issues in family therapy. Following a person’s individual treatment, their families might need help to heal from the effects of caring for someone who struggles. Children and partners often develop maladaptive coping skills themselves when a loved one struggles. Thus, outpatient family therapy can help to address these issues.

How Does Someone Choose What is Best?

Choosing between IOP or outpatient treatment depends upon a few factors. Most importantly, a person must decide based on their needs in recovery. For example, a client new to recovery and just leaving a residential treatment program should choose a structured level of care, like IOP or PHP. These types of programs can help them continue with the work they’ve completed as they transition to living outside of a facility.

On the other hand, outpatient treatment could be great for those completing an IOP who still need some guidance and support. Outpatient treatment in the form of individual therapy is also often required if a client is seeing a psychiatrist for medication to treat a mental health disorder.

Busy Professionals and People With Families

Another consideration when choosing IOP or outpatient treatment is a person’s schedule. Sometimes, busy professionals or people with families don’t have the option to take a lot of time away for treatment. And, if these responsibilities aren’t fulfilled, the person could face adverse consequences as a result. 

Therefore, choosing between IOP or outpatient treatment to continue care depends on how much support a client needs and how much they can balance other areas of their lives while in treatment.

Explore Our Outpatient Levels of Care Today

Clients in inpatient programs or partial hospitalization should start thinking about their next steps in recovery. Many people leave residential care or a PHP and still need guidance as they continue their everyday lives. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer various levels of care for clients choosing between IOP or outpatient treatment as they move forward in recovery. 

Contact us today to learn more about our outpatient levels of care in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


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