Intensive outpatient treatment, also referred to as an intensive outpatient program, is often abbreviated with the acronym IOP. Since the reference is unfamiliar, people exploring outpatient treatment tend to ask, “What is IOP?”
Intensive outpatient treatment is a common alternative to residential treatment programs. Thus, in IOP therapy, clients attend regular treatment sessions multiple times a week. Subsequently, after completing intensive outpatient treatment in an IOP group, individuals move from IOP therapy to regular outpatient treatment, which meets less frequently. The initial goal of IOP therapy, as well as any outpatient treatment services, is to sustain recovery and improve long-term outcomes.
In the 21st century, intensive outpatient treatment programs have emerged as a critical facet of outpatient treatment options for substance use disorders. In fact, IOP programs serve up to 12 percent of patients receiving addiction treatment services. Furthermore, research on IOP therapy shows favorable results.
Compared to traditional outpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment provides increased frequency of contact with therapists, as well as peers who are also in recovery. The intensity of IOP therapy depends on the chronicity and severity of a client’s substance use disorders and mental health issues. For teens in IOP therapy, an individualized treatment plan can provide support and incentives for progress.
Sources: Psychiatry Online, National Center for Biotechnology Information (NIH), US National Library of Medicine (NIH)