An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is growing to be the most common rehab setting for people across the country. It sits at level 2.1 on the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) continuum of care.

Is an IOP Rehab Effective?

Studies have recently shown that when someone is enrolled in an IOP that it can be just as effective as an an inpatient rehab. There are many reasons for this, starting with the length of engagement. People attending IOPs are typically receiving care for an extended period of time, such as three months. During this time they are able to continue to strengthen their recovery tools and apply them in real life, compared to the isolation of a residential facility.

It is recommended for most people to attend an IOP after completing detox and/or residential rehabilitation programs, both for ongoing support and stability, as well as to be able to put to use the things they may have learned in the previous settings.

Most IOP schedules are at least 9 hours per week, usually broken up into three separate days. This allows for people to find programs that fit into their regular lives as well, and for those who need more time they can often go up to 16 hours per week over 5 days.

What are the Benefits of an IOP?

In addition to the longer length of engagement and support, there are other benefits of intensive outpatient programs. One is that if you still need a more structured environment then you can attend the program during the day, while also getting back to work or school, and then take advantage of a sober living community for continued connection, monitoring, support and accountability.

Another huge benefit is the cost, as IOP programs cost less per month than residential facilities, and insurance companies are also more likely to approve coverage at this level of care for longer periods of time, making it much more affordable. Lower co-pays spread out over a longer timeline make this level of care much more accessible for a lot of people.

Perhaps the biggest benefit, depending on where you live, is that IOPs usually allow for more options. This means you can continue to see your outside therapist while attending a rehab program elsewhere, or that there are multiple programs to choose from if one doesn’t seem like the best fit for you. One of the biggest keys for success in recovery is believing that the steps you’re taking are going to be successful, and finding the right IOP can be a huge part of that.