What is an Intensive Outpatient Program?

An intensive outpatient program is for people who are in various stages of recovering from drug addiction or alcoholism.  Intensive outpatient programs are different from residential inpatient rehab programs and partial hospitalization programs in that treatment is generally part-time.  However, an intensive outpatient program is far more comprehensive than traditional outpatient programs that only consist of a few therapy sessions.  For many people struggling to get clean or remain clean, an intensive outpatient program could be exactly what is needed to break free from addiction or alcoholism.

An intensive outpatient program usually consists of numerous weekly therapy sessions at a drug rehab or outpatient facility with experienced addiction counselors.  These types of programs can be voluntary or imposed by a court, but clients receive the same addiction treatment, denial management and relapse prevention therapies regardless of why they are there.  Most intensive outpatient programs provide 3 targeted sessions with a therapist per week for 6 to 8 weeks.  In the case of one of the most successful intensive outpatient programs at Recovery First’s Florida drug rehab center, clients receive intensive therapy three times per week and are provided with an optional  clean and sober living environment nearby.

Intensive outpatient programs work because they address addiction and alcoholism at fundamental, individual levels.  Because every person uses for a different reason, developing and implementing a program that is client-driven is critical to achieving success.  Clients will be assigned a treatment specialist who will work one on one with them to create this treatment plan and follow through with it over the coming weeks.  This offers intense treatment while still providing a less supervised environment to help the client prepare for full reintegration with society once again.

An intensive outpatient program should never be confused with the two other primary methods of treating drug addiction and alcoholism: residential inpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs.  In the case of the former, residents of these programs live and receive treatment in the same highly supervised facility for 30 days.  In the case of the latter patients receive intense treatment during the day, then typically go to fully or partially supervised off-site housing in the evening.  As the lowest level of treatment, an intensive outpatient program should not be used for someone who needs structure and supervision.

Intensive outpatient programs are highly successful for people that have already completed one of the above types of more intense programs.  In fact, outpatient programs are often used to help people “step down” from one level of treatment to the next until they are ready to return home and apply what they have learned.  Intensive outpatient programs can be very effective for people who recently relapsed and need assistance getting clean again but don’t need the intensity or supervision of a residential inpatient center.

In order to find out what type of treatment is right for you or your loved one, simply pick up the phone now for a free and confidential discussion about how one of these programs can help.  An intensive outpatient program could be precisely what is needed to achieve a lifetime of sobriety, but you’ll never know until you call.

About James F. Davis

James F. Davis, CAS, is a Board Certified Interventionist and the founder of Recovery First. Inc. Davis is also an expert on Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) - the leading cause of relapse among addicts and alcoholics. Mr. Davis operates a website dedicated to sufferers of Post Acute Withdrawal, and has published the first-ever survey on the condition. Davis is also the author of two upcoming books on the topics of PAWS and Adult Children of Alcoholics. You can contact Mr. Davis directly via his Google+ Page, via the Facebook page for Recovery First, or by writing to editor@recoveryfirst.org
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