For individuals suffering from severe substance use disorders, a wide variety of outpatient treatment programs exist to meet their needs, considering different levels of addiction. These programs include partial hospitalization programs (PHP), intensive outpatient programs (IOP), outpatient programs, day treatment and aftercare programs.
Among these, intensive outpatient programs offer one of the highest levels of care. Like other forms of outpatient addiction treatment, these programs are flexible and allow people to continue to live their lives in the outside world, while receiving treatment for their addictions.
These programs are therefore beneficial for people who want to receive the highest level of care while working to rebuild their lives.
What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?
Often known simply as IOPs, are a type of treatment program offered by addiction treatment centers and addiction resource centers. These programs, which offer a multitude of treatment resources and a high level of structure, are flexible because they do not require individuals to physically live in a treatment facility. They generally offer treatment services for the majority of the day, most or every day of the week.
Individuals enrolled in IOPs can expect to make rapid strides in their alcohol or drug addiction recovery due to the rigorous nature of the treatment, but they also have the ability to retain their autonomy and their commitments in the outside world.
For this reason, intensive outpatient programs are often recommended as a way to help people make the transition from acute treatment to life in the outside world. They are also effective as a first line treatment for addiction.
How Do Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) in Los Angeles Work?
Intensive outpatient programs vary considerably in their treatment philosophies, methods, and in the resources they offer. Nonetheless, these programs are all alike in that they aim to help people recover from substance use disorders and the mental health conditions that are often associated with addiction. When you first arrive at an IOP, the first thing to expect is an evaluation.
During this time, the IOP staff, a treatment team, or your case worker will evaluate you and assess your unique needs. Important factors include which drugs you use, how long you’ve used them, your physical health, your age, whether you have a family history of addiction, and your current state of mental health.
They will also likely ask you questions about your relationships, your lifestyle, and the quality of your current social support system. Asking these questions helps IOP staff better understand your needs so that they can design an individualized treatment plan most suitable to you.
Intensive outpatient programs generally begin, when applicable, with a period of drug or alcohol detoxification. This detox period ensures that individuals achieve the physical abstinence from drugs and alcohol that is the foundation for further recovery.
Most treatment centers recognize that merely remaining abstinent from drugs and alcohol is not sufficient for long term recovery. Instead, these programs work to help individuals develop a wide range of tools, coping strategies, and support resources so that they can avoid relapsing.
Recovering from a substance use disorder involves recognizing triggers as well as treating any underlying mental health conditions that may have driven people to abuse substances in the first place. Above all, recovery entails building a life that is worth living — a sober life that is joyous, fulfilling, and free.
Armed with sober tools, a strong support system, and a new life that has meaning, people who attend IOPs are not likely to want to return to their old way of life.
Intensive outpatient programs offer a wide range of services and addiction treatment methods. These treatment methods and services are generally evidence-based and backed by considerable research. As intensive programs, IOPs encourage or require individuals to engage in a wide range of treatment methods.
By engaging in a broad and comprehensive addiction treatment program, individuals can tackle their substance use disorder from every angle. Some of the most prevalent addiction treatment methods that IOPs use can be found below.
Group therapy is an essential aspect of addiction treatment at most IOPs. A large body of research has shown that group therapy is just as effective as individual therapy, and it has particular benefits for treating addiction. Individuals who take part in group therapy sessions have opportunities to improve their communication skills and build connections with other people who are also working to recover from addictions.
Group therapy reinforces mindfulness and healthy ways of interacting. It does so in a safe and supportive environment, allowing participants to learn from the experiences and perspectives of other people. Individuals who are newer to recovery often benefit in particular from the experiences of those who have been sober longer.
Group therapy thereby fulfills three functions: it helps people learn new sober skills, helps people better understand themselves, and fosters vital sober social support systems.
Intensive outpatient programs generally offer a wide variety of different group therapy meetings, each with a different purpose. Types of group therapy offered at IOPs include:
- Psychoeducational group therapy. This type of group therapy is by far the most common. It involves a clinician leading a group to help them better understand the condition they all suffer from. By learning more about addiction, physical dependence, and the causes of addiction, individuals can develop a new set of tools for dealing with the challenges and problems that occur in early recovery.
Participants also learn to rethink unhealthy beliefs, such as the belief that addiction is caused due to lack of willpower.
- Family group therapy. Family groups provide opportunities to IOP clients to heal or develop relationships with family members. Improving relationships with family members is a crucial aspect of addiction treatment, since many people are driven to substance abuse in the first place due to dysfunctional family relationships.
- Skills training groups. At skills training groups, IOP clients can work on and practice their new coping strategies in a safe, trigger-free, and supportive setting. Skills training groups often also cover pragmatic life skills, such as how to behave in a job interview.
- Relapse prevention groups. Relapse prevention groups are designed to help IOP clients recognize their own personal triggers. By identifying these triggers, they can begin to develop alternative ways of responding, rather than reacting automatically by reaching for drugs or alcohol. For many, preventing relapse is simply a matter of developing an awareness of these high-risk situations and learning to manage them.
Individual therapy is another essential aspect of addiction treatment. Individual therapy allows people to reflect on and come to a better understanding of the underlying issues that lie behind their substance use disorders. Many people turn to drug or alcohol abuse because they suffer from undiagnosed or untreated mental health conditions like depression, ADHD, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder or a personality disorder.
Therapists can help people learn to cope with these conditions and reduce their severity. When people get relief from their mental illnesses through mental health treatment, they cease to need drugs and alcohol to self-medicate for their emotional distress. For many people, the individual therapy they receive at an IOP represents the first relief they’ve ever gotten for their underlying mental health conditions.
Individual therapy can also be an effective tool for directly dealing with drug and alcohol addictions. Treatment modalities like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT) are based on the idea that a person’s thinking patterns directly influence their emotions and behavior.
By helping people develop alternative ways of thinking and responding to cravings, clinicians can help relieve clients of their obsession with drugs and alcohol. They also provide essential emotional support while clients are encountering the inevitable challenges and difficulties of early sobriety.
12-Step Programs and Support Groups
The vast majority of intensive outpatient programs recommend, encourage, or require that clients attend support group meetings. The most common and research-backed type of support group are 12-step programs. 12-step programs include meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, among countless others. These programs are designed to give people opportunities to connect with a larger community of people in recovery.
Members work to eliminate their obsession with substances by actively helping each other. At 12-step meetings, and even secular meetings like SMART Recovery, individuals in early recovery as well as those with many years of sobriety can continuously benefit from other members’ experience, strength, and hope. 12-step programs are available throughout every city around the world, and in Los Angeles there are hundreds of meetings at all hours of the day throughout the city. There is no charge for meeting attendance.
It is common for intensive outpatient programs to offer complementary therapies as well. CAM stands for “complementary and alternative medicine.” This umbrella term refers to a wide range of treatment practices that is designed not to replace, but to supplement traditional addiction treatment methods.
Examples of CAM therapy include music therapy, yoga, art therapy, meditation, and even pet therapy. These practices can help improve people’s peace of mind, sense of connection to the world, and help them rediscover the joy of living without the crutch of psychoactive substances.
Intensive outpatient programs recognize that an important aspect of long term sobriety is being able to meet personal life goals. Individuals who are in active addiction often struggle to find or maintain employment, get out of debt, or manage their finances. Legal problems are common. Addiction can prevent people from developing essential communication and social skills as well, and the antisocial behavior that addicts engage in can damage relationships, leading to conflict and isolation.
Treatment centers operate on the belief that sobriety is a trivial improvement if it is not accompanied as well with significant life changes. For this reason, IOPs work with clients on an individual basis and in group settings to improve their general life skills.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an addiction treatment modality that involves a combination of behavioral therapies, some of which are listed above, alongside prescription medication. Individuals who are detoxing from alcohol and drugs often suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms, which can complicate the recovery process. These symptoms can trigger people to relapse and, in the case of benzodiazepine and alcohol withdrawal, be life-threatening.
Prescription drugs such as buprenorphine and methadone (for opioid withdrawal) or acamprosate and naltrexone (for alcohol withdrawal) can help people get off dangerous recreational drugs. These medications reduce painful withdrawal symptoms and mitigate cravings.
During medication-assisted treatment at an IOP, clients engage in behavioral therapies in order to develop the skills and coping tools they need to stay sober. When appropriate, a physician can supervise their withdrawal from their medications. This withdrawal involves a gradual tapering process that is designed to be as smooth as possible.
Goals and Benefits of our Intensive Outpatient Programs
The primary goal of an intensive outpatient treatment program is to help people with severe drug and alcohol use disorders get sober and stay sober. As such, IOPs work to ensure that clients develop the tools and life skills they need for sustainable sober living. They do so using a combination of multiple therapeutic modalities, support groups, and complementary treatment methods.
A secondary but related goal of IOPs is to help restore clients’ functionality in their lives. As outpatient programs, IOPs are flexible programs that allow clients to return home each day to their own beds. IOPs aim to provide essential support as clients begin to rebuild their lives in the outside world.
Benefits of intensive outpatient programs include:
- Flexible treatment schedules. IOPs offer highly structured and rigorous treatment programs, and at the same time they allow clients to live their own lives outside of a treatment facility. This allows clients to practice their new skills in the real world!
- Medication management. IOPs offer medication-assisted treatment that can help clients deal with difficult withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, they also offer medication management. Individuals who are prescribed medication to treat a physical or mental health problem are in safe hands, as IOPs take it upon themselves to manage all clients’ medication schedules.
- Mental health services. IOPs recognize that addiction rarely occurs in a vacuum. A high percentage of people suffering from addiction engage in substance abuse as a form of self-medication. IOPs work to treat clients’ underlying mental health disorders. Many people also experience significant emotional distress while facing the challenges of early sobriety, and intensive outpatient programs ensure that everyone has support while they do so.
- Easier transitions. IOPs often serve as a bridge between more acute forms of care, such as partial hospitalization programs and residential treatment programs, and the real world. Research shows that people who engage in treatment programs for longer periods of time are less likely to relapse over the long term. In fact, many people move on from IOPs to a lower level of care, such as an outpatient program or aftercare treatment program.
IOP Programs for Dual Diagnosis Patients
The term “dual diagnosis” refers to individuals who suffer from a substance use disorder alongside one or more additional mental health disorders. Common comorbid conditions that addicts suffer from include anxiety disorder, major depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Dual diagnosis individuals often face significant hurdles to recover.
The symptoms of mental health conditions and the symptoms of addictions often overlap and can thereby be more intense. Furthermore, not only can mental health conditions drive people to abuse drugs and alcohol, but substance abuse can also contribute to the development of mental illnesses. As such, people with comorbid conditions often find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle that can make recovery difficult.
Intensive outpatient programs recognize that treating a dual diagnosis client’s substance use disorder is impossible unless their mental health conditions are also addressed. During a client’s initial evaluation, a treatment team or caseworker will assess a client’s mental state.
IOPs offer individualized treatment plans so that anyone suffering from a mental health condition can get the behavioral therapy, medication, and support they need. Quality IOPs provide comprehensive therapy for a variety of conditions simultaneously, an approach known as integrated treatment that is supported by a large body of research.
Are You a Good Candidate for an Intensive Outpatient Program?
Intensive outpatient treatment programs are suitable for a wide variety of people. As intensive programs, they are geared toward helping individuals whose addictions have reached a high degree of severity.
The level of care offered at IOPs is designed to be a suitable first line treatment for individuals who are struggling to function in their lives, but IOPs are also often utilized by individuals transitioning from a higher level of care.
While the treatment offered at IOPs is rigorous, they offer flexibility to people who need it. IOPs are commonly recommended to people who fit into some of the following categories:
- People who are graduating from a partial hospitalization program or inpatient treatment center
- People who have family commitments, such as parents of young children
- People with demanding careers who need the flexibility of being able to work while pursuing treatment
- People who are struggling to function but haven’t hit “rock bottom” yet
- People with strong support systems at home that they can return to at the end of the day
- People who want an affordable treatment option that is covered by most major health insurance providers
- People who learn best by practicing their skills in the real world
- People who have been sober for some time but want to reduce their chances of relapsing
- People who feel that they need additional support staying sober while dealing with difficult life challenges or mental health conditions
NuView Treatment Center provides an intensive outpatient program in LA.
Finding IOP Treatment Near Me
NuView Treatment Center, a Los Angeles IOP program is committed to offering addiction treatment for all addiction severities. Our outpatient programs cover all levels of care, including partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, outpatient programs, and aftercare planning. We recognize that recovery is a period of growth and development, and that people’s needs change over time.
Our clients have the opportunity to progress from one level of care to another, allowing them to develop increased autonomy and independence while continuing to receive invaluable support. We believe that treating an addiction is a long term process that involves self-reflection, learning new skills and behaviors, and building a new life.
Our programs are rooted in the belief that recovery from substance use disorders involves far more than just physical abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Our evidence-based treatment methods are designed to help people manage comorbid mental health conditions, build new social support systems, and fix potentially triggering life problems, including legal and financial difficulties.
Our staff of highly trained and dedicated addiction professionals work with clients on an individual basis to develop individualized treatment plans that are comprehensive, holistic, evidence-based, and above all compassionate.
Whether you or your loved one are getting sober for the first time, graduating from a higher level of care, or trying to get sober again after a relapse, our intensive outpatient program is here to support. You don’t have to suffer from addiction alone.
Building a new life that is happy, joyous, and free is possible. It’s just a matter of reaching out for help. Contact NuView Treatment Center today.