How Long is an IOP Program?

intensive outpatient program group therapy room

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) might be a big part of the solution. If so, you might be asking yourself ‘what’s the average length of an IOP program?’ This post is designed to answer this and other IOP related questions.

Before we talk about the length of an IOP program, let’s have a look at what IOP actually is.

What Is An Intensive Outpatient Program?

An intensive outpatient program is a substance abuse treatment modality that offers comprehensive care while allowing the client to continue living at home. Typically, clients visit the center 4-5 days a week for several hours at a time. During this time, they attend a variety of individual and group treatment sessions.

Usually, clients will participate in a morning or an evening intensive outpatient program. The animating idea behind IOP is to let clients apply the principles they’re learning in treatment to their daily work and home lives. This is one of the reasons they’re so commonly used to treat addiction disorders– IOP teaches the life skills you need for long term sobriety while letting you continue to meet your work/life responsibilities.

You see, recovery doesn’t happen in a vacuum. As you already know very well, life will continue to throw challenges your way whether you’re sober or not. But if you’re participating in an intensive outpatient program (IOP), you’ll have ample opportunities to apply what you’re learning to real-world situations.

What’s The Average Length of an IOP Program?

The short answer to this question is ‘it depends.’ That might not sound satisfying to you, but an IOP is designed to help clients achieve long term sobriety. And in order to accomplish this, the IOP must be customized to fit your specific needs. That’s why it can be hard to assign a number to the average length of an IOP program– there are far too many variables.

That being said, the time IOP takes depends largely on you. It depends on how far you’ve progressed into addiction and how much work you’re willing to put into your recovery. While there’s no way to say for certain, most clients who take the recovery process seriously can expect to finish IOP within about 90 days.

However, this can vary. The important thing to understand about IOP is that it can be designed around your living situation and work needs. While undergoing treatment at IOP, you can continue to live at home and work to support your family. In many ways, this is an optimal situation for the newly recovering person.

An Intensive Outpatient Program is Time Well Spent

IOP is designed for clients who are struggling with substance abuse but do not yet require inpatient treatment. You can think of it as a sort of ‘middle ground’ between purely outpatient treatment and residential care. Importantly, IOP tends to work very well with people who have not lost their family, friends, and jobs to their substance abuse.

Generally speaking, IOP consists of about 12 hours of treatment a week for about three months. During this time, you’ll learn the recovery skills you need for long term sobriety without giving up the freedoms involved in your daily life. Regardless of the length of an IOP program, you’ll emerge from the experience enriched and ready to live an abstinent life.

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