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Intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a rehabilitation program for substance use disorders. An IOP is a step above outpatient therapy and one step below a partial hospitalization program (PHP).

These rehabilitation programs are focused on helping patients overcome addictions or substance use disorders. An IOP employs highly skilled and qualified professionals with addiction, counseling, therapy, or medicine backgrounds. Typically, weekly participation will vary between programs.

You should expect a time commitment of around fifteen to eighteen hours per week. Clients can access evidence-based treatments, group therapy, individual therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and much more.


So what can you expect from an IOP program near Idaho? Our IOP program will not require you to stay overnight. It does not involve an extensive time commitment but allows you to return home in the evenings.
You will still need a flexible job to continue working. Additionally, plan to participate in therapy for a longer period than outpatient sessions.

It usually lasts the majority of the week. During these sessions, therapy continues to focus on skills you developed in previous rehab programs, such as:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Motivational interviewing

These treatments are evidence-based practices. Essentially, it means that IOP treatments are well-studied and effective for treating substance use disorders and mental health issues.
Participating in an IOP allows you to practice life skills with trained professionals. Interacting in group therapies can help you develop lasting relationships, practice coping mechanisms, and empathize with others.


There are two primary groups of people that can benefit from an IOP:

  • Individuals transitioning from residential or PHP programs
  • Individuals who have a less severe substance use disorder

Let’s go over the first group initially. Many individuals start at the detoxification level. For safety and better outcomes, experts suggest a medical detox program. Severe withdrawal symptoms can result in:

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart palpitations

Without medical intervention, it can lead to long-lasting medical complications or relapse. In severe situations, it can also cause death. A detox program doesn’t last very long.

Most withdrawal symptoms begin peaking within one to two days. The average length of stay in a detox program is three to 14 days. Afterward, residential programs are recommended if a patient is a danger to themselves or others or has a more severe substance use disorder.

These programs provide 24/7 supervision and intensive therapies. Next, a patient would likely attend a PHP or IOP.

An IOP is an excellent stepping stone versus discharging straight home. Transitioning from a residential program to an outpatient program is a drastic change and could put a patient at risk for relapse.

On the other hand, some patients do not require detoxification or have milder substance use disorders. An IOP may also be recommended in these situations where a patient bypasses residential programs but needs something more intensive than standard outpatient programs.



Any type of substance use disorder can be treated at an IOP. Some of the most commonly treated substance use disorders are:

  • Alcohol
  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Prescription opioids
  • Meth
  • Designer drugs

Approximately 52% of patients with substance use disorder and mental health illnesses don’t receive help. Unfortunately, this increases the rates of:

  • Substance consumption
  • Withdrawals
  • Health issues

Drug addiction can cause much more than behavior and mood changes. Experts found that drug addiction can lead to an increase for:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Lung disease

Drug and alcohol use while pregnant can create various health risks for unborn children, such as developmental delays. Contagious viral illnesses, such as HIV, increase exponentially with drug use. Approximately 10% of HIV cases can be traced to injection drug use.


Now that you know a little more about IOPs, what are some of their other benefits? For starters, IOPs can prevent residential treatment. It also reduces the risk of relapse and helps patients develop healthy coping strategies.
You also get close monitoring with medication-assisted treatment, which has shown excellent success. A recent pilot study looked at medication for opioid use disorders. The study showed reductions in:

  • Substance use
  • Symptoms

Researchers also noted improvements in physical and mental health markers after six months. Medication is often an underutilized treatment strategy.

Other studies showed positive findings using methadone and buprenorphine for opioid use disorder. After three and 12 months, patients had fewer instances of overdoses and opioid-related morbidity.

MAT isn’t the only treatment with proven effectiveness in IOPs. CBT is a widely used therapy that helps patients redirect negative thought patterns.

The basis of CBT is negative thought patterns lead to maladaptive behaviors. These behaviors fuel addictive patterns.
CBT combines thoughts, feelings, and actions to help with long-term sobriety. A skilled therapist helps patients identify unwanted behaviors and root thoughts or beliefs. It is widely practiced and used in many treatment facilities.
It remains one of the gold-standard treatments for substance use disorders.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Treatment options for IOPs are endless and include co-occurring disorders. A co-occurring disorder is an associated mental health disorder. For many individuals, it can be challenging to treat each diagnosis without help.

An IOP offers support and tackles underlying causes of both disorders to help patients find success through therapy. For example, CBT can also be used for:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Phobias
  • PTSD
  • OCD
  • Schizophrenia

While you don’t need a mental health disorder to utilize CBT, it is an excellent resource. Co-occurring disorders are also more common than you would think.

Government data projects starting in 2019 found that 8.5 million adults had substance use and mental health disorder. Out of those 8.5 million, severe mental illness affects nearly 3.1 million. A qualified rehabilitation facility helps patients with both disorders.


PHP is similar to IOP but requires more time. Like IOP, patients return home every night and do not stay 24/7. Why would a patient want a PHP over an IOP?

For some, it could be personal preference or what is offered in their current rehabilitation facility. Some programs only offer a PHP before outpatient therapy. Typically, a PHP is an excellent choice for residents who:

  • Need more intensive treatments than IOPs
  • Are transitioning from residential programs
  • Have a more serious substance use disorder

Compared to an IOP, it is more challenging to work while in these programs. Some have highly flexible schedules that cater for night classes and therapy sessions. This allows you to continue working during the morning and early afternoons.

Like residential programs, you can ask your insurance regarding coverage in a PHP. They are reputable programs that many government and private insurances recognize, as long as it meets outlined criteria.



Your mental, physical, and spiritual health take precedence in everything we do at White House Recovery and Detox.
Our dedicated, experienced staff are ready to do everything in their power to help you reach your full potential throughout your journey to overcome your obstacles and build a stronger life.