When you look into various treatment center options and scroll through their programs, you will almost always see options for outpatient programs. According to the Psychology Services journal, “Substance abuse intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are direct services for people with substance use disorders or co-occurring mental and substance use disorders who do not require medical detoxification or 24-hour supervision.” Outpatient care serves as a middle ground, if you will, between inpatient care and full independence. Typically, outpatient programs incorporate similarly structured meetings, therapies, and groups but allow for “normal life” to resume in between these appointments.

This ability to keep up with everyday life obligations while participating in treatment is possible due to the flexible schedules that outpatient programs offer. Many facilities offer several schedule options to choose from. During the initial assessment, your level of care will be determined, and a treatment plan will be created with hours required per week, frequency of attendance, and so on. Typically, engagement in activities and groups is required at least a few times per week and can be suggested daily for some.

Outpatient care incorporates both group and individual therapy sessions, all with varied topics selected based on your individual needs and situation. Group and therapy topics and treatment offerings can include:

  • Mood, grief/loss, and anger management
  • Body-image disorders
  • Codependency
  • Co-occurring diagnosis and treatment
  • Life skills
  • Healthy boundaries
  • Relapse prevention
  • Sober living preparation
  • Sustainable living practices

Who Are Outpatient Programs For?

Individuals who may be a good fit for outpatient programs could include those who have been through detox and residential programs already and are looking to continue with services. Outpatient care could also benefit those who have been sober for a while and may still need some support or encouragement.

Outpatient programs are often recommended when an individual who has been through detox and residential programs relapses or is battling the idea. If this is the case, outpatient care can be just the thing to keep you on the right track and focused on maintaining your sobriety.

If you are maintaining a job but struggling with substance abuse while in lower-level care, outpatient programs may be just what you need. IOPs will allow you to remain employed while receiving the help and support you need. Many parents are able to fulfill their parental responsibilities while still participating in outpatient programs. With schedules offered in the morning or the evening, childcare can often be arranged around treatment appointments.

It is important to understand that outpatient care is not suitable for everyone. Some may need the higher level of care offered by inpatient or residential programs in order to address their specific needs. Inpatient care may be the best fit for you if you have an advanced substance use disorder, a co-occurring mental health disorder, or have never been through treatment. While some outpatient programs will treat those with co-occurring disorders, these individuals are often best served and supported by residential programs.

Why Are IOPs Important?

Outpatient care is often a natural and obvious next step for many who complete residential programs. Many times, they are transitioning from a very structured, supervised environment and may not be quite ready for life without support and services. This can even feel comforting to some graduating from residential programs, as they felt safe and confident in their ability to stay on track with around-the-clock support and supervision.

Outpatient care can also serve as a line of defense for someone in danger of relapsing. Situational stressors or tough circumstances can lead to temptation. Accountability is established with regular checking to ensure you are participating in your plan for treatment along with random drug testing. Seeking help from an outpatient program is an excellent way to ensure you remain on course.

Creating an environment that will set you up for success outside of treatment is critical to your recovery long term. Outpatient programs offer groups that are designed to help you establish this so you feel confident in your ability to stay on track even outside of groups and treatment. Sober living groups, for example, offer tools and strategies to implement to ensure you feel prepared for life beyond treatment.

Part of creating a safe environment for yourself outside of treatment includes community involvement and integration. Finding people within your community who are like-minded and can offer support and encouragement is critical. Outpatient program staff are there to help you seek and identify these people and groups and can help connect you.

If you fit the criteria mentioned above and are either in recovery in need of some extra support or have an addiction requiring a low level of care, consider outpatient programs. Think of it as an extracurricular, if you will, that still allows you to carry on with everyday life while addressing your needs and helping you manage your addiction.

Outpatient care programs are offered by many treatment facilities and can serve as the next step after residential treatment or primary treatment for those experiencing addiction requiring only low levels of care. Outpatient care is an excellent resource for those in recovery who may still be struggling and need some encouragement. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer an intensive outpatient program that begins with a comprehensive assessment of your individual needs followed by a treatment plan created specifically to address them. If this program is deemed a fit for you, the majority of your time will be spent outside of treatment, allowing you to maintain your employment or fulfill other obligations. Enlightened Solutions prioritizes treating the whole person throughout the entire treatment process. Often, this means offering continued support throughout recovery and the following relapse. If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE