What Is IOP?

IOP and Its Place in Recovery

An estimated 24 million people suffer from addiction or dependency on drugs and alcohol in the United States. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that only 11 percent – 2.6 million – receive the treatment they need.

In general, there are two main types of addiction treatment: inpatient and outpatient.

With an inpatient or residential program, clients enter into a specialized facility and stay on site for the duration of the treatment. In an outpatient program, the person attends sessions, meetings, workshops, and meetings, and then goes home each night. Outpatient programs range from intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) to less structured general outpatient models. An IOP is often very similar to a residential program in its structure and intensity, with the main difference being that the individual returns home to sleep each night.

But if you’ve ever been in a residential treatment program somewhere, you may have had second thoughts about the care you were getting.  Did the aftercare plan you were given not measure up to your expectations? Did you relapse? Did you feel like you were abandoned after you left their care?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) at The District Recovery Community may be for you.

What Is IOP?

IOP is an addiction treatment and dual diagnosis (for co-occurring psychological disorders) treatment program that takes place at TDRC. Often, these individuals choose to extend their care at one of our sober living homes.

Individuals in the TDRC IOP will meet at the center daily to undergo a host of treatment activities that will include twice-weekly individual intensive psychotherapy sessions and small group counseling activities. In addition, IOP clients have an opportunity to add on additional services as needed, which can occur on or off-site, including sessions with a private trainer, nutritionist, psychiatrist, yoga instructor, acupuncturist, meditation teachers or other whole-health practitioners.

How Does IOP Work?

TDRC understands addiction as a behavioral disorder, not a disease. …and any behavior can be changed. You can recover. We assess your current stage of recovery and develop a plan customized just for you. Our model allows us to stand by your side at every stage through the recovery process. When challenges arise, we work through them together, helping to create optimal conditions for recovery. As you work through the change process, you become ready to navigate life outside the treatment center, something we will help you do with courage and competency.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

In an Intensive Outpatient Program, therapy sessions are typically 3 hours a day, 3 days per week. While IOP can involve one on one counseling, there is a focus on group therapy.

These sessions aim to help patients develop relapse prevention skills, as well as learn techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational enhancement therapy or dialectical behavior therapy, depending on each person’s needs. The lengths of IOP programs differ from person to person as they start to manage a successful recovery from addiction.

Dual Diagnosis and IOP

One of the biggest benefits of IOP is the way that it helps people with a dual diagnosis. Also called co-occurring disorder, this situation is very common among addicts. It means that a person has one or more mental health issues in addition to substance abuse disorder.

These cases are tricky to deal with. An underlying mental health issue can increase the odds of relapse. It can also make it harder to get clean in the first place.

This is another reason why IOP is superior to many of the other addiction treatment alternatives. Trained professionals can help patients understand how their addiction and other mental health issues are related. They can help the patient work through all issues at once.

Most other treatment options don’t focus on helping people with a dual diagnosis. After all, a 12-step program like AA has a singular focus. The members are there to talk about their relationship to alcohol. Also, mental health disorders require a trained medical professional. Groups like AA or NA aren’t as well equipped to deal with something like depression and addiction together.

However, trained medical professionals know the best ways to treat a co-occurring disorder. They use the latest scientific evidence to come up with ways to help people treat all of their issues.


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Having a structure in place to focus on sobriety is one thing, but rebuilding your life with a band of brothers at your back is what sets our community apart from others. We’ve proven it repeatedly; leaning on people like yourself in a structured sober living program leads to a more exciting and fulfilling life.

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