Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) provide individuals battling addiction or mental illness a support system in which to continue their psychological treatment while simultaneously allowing them the freedom to pursue other goals in their lives and to reintegrate into society. For many individuals, they enter inpatient rehabilitation programs thinking that it is a period that can “fix” their addiction and come out “cured”. Unfortunately, as we find in twelve-step programs and in life, recovery does not have an end point. We are never done working on ourselves, and especially after we have spent years in our illnesses, it is going to take more than a month or even several inpatient rehabs before we can simply re-enter the “real” world without further support. Intensive Outpatient provides that transitional step that so many individuals find that they need. It is particularly essential for individuals who have gone to inpatient treatment in the past or have tried to get sober in the past and relapsed, individuals who do not have a strong support system to encourage their sobriety, or for individuals who do not have a healthy environment to return to. Many individuals live in sober living while they enter IOP.
IOP generally includes group therapy and individual therapy and often includes cognitive-behavioral therapy or dialectical-behavioral therapy. IOPs address a variety of issues and some specialize in certain types of addictions or mental illnesses, while others are more broadly focused. Take CAST Recovery, an IOP in Santa Monica, California, as an example. It focuses on addiction and compulsive behaviors and provides random drug testing, psychological assessment, and a holistic treatment program. IOPs encourage a healthy life style and support a safe space in which to explore the past, present, and future.
The largest asset of an IOP, especially to young people or individuals that have not supported themselves before, is that they can pursue jobs, internships, and schooling even while still attending groups. The groups are often flexible and some programs even graduate clients to an evening schedule. Especially if the individual has trepidation about their first steps to reentering or entering the working or educational world, the support of the IOP community can help them learn to live productive lives, gain confidence, and learn the necessary skills of accountability.
Often, individuals come from large inpatient treatment facilities to small sober livings in communities where there are many IOP and recovery opportunities, like Los Angeles. The individuals have an opportunity to hear about the various IOP programs in the area that deal with their specific issues and then call the IOPs. Many IOPs are partially or largely covered by insurance companies, so it is essential to call and see which IOPs are covered by your insurance company. If you are thinking about attending an IOP finding an IOP for a loved one and do not know if it would be a good fit or where to start, call 800-781-7840 for guidance.
IOPs provide individuals with a chance to have the support of treatment while simultaneously building their outside support system through the rooms of 12-step programs, sober living, their families and friends, and even through their job places and schools. At the end of the day, IOPs become a safety net and a community for individuals in early sobriety making the transition into a healthier life.
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