What is IOP?

In a behavioral health setting, outpatient programming offers a mixture of rigorous therapeutic treatments and unique social services. The transition back into a daily routine outside of a safe, structured and controlled environment can be daunting and difficult. Exposure to potentially triggering emotions and events can lead people back into old habits associated with drug and alcohol abuse. Outpatient treatment programs help people during their transition into life away from mind-altering substances.

What is outpatient treatment?

In outpatient treatment programs, clients can focus more on personal goals and preferences for the treatment of their addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. The flexibility of where and when a client can receive treatment is a major distinguishing factor when considering treatment options.

A white medical building labeled outpatient provides various types of IOP and PHP substance addiction treatment.

Outpatient treatment usually occurs in a less restrictive setting where clients can continue participation in individual, group and family therapies. These therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, EMDR therapy and marriage and family therapy. Clients will also have various opportunities to receive assistance in health and fitness training, nutritional counseling and continuing career services.

Outpatient program length can vary. Depending on the progress of the patient, treatment can last anywhere from six months to a year. In outpatient treatment, clients have the flexibility to create their schedules based on personal responsibilities and their need for treatment. On average, a person spends about 90 days in outpatient programming.

People who have less severe addictions, people who have completed residential and inpatient programs and people who need flexibility in treatment, are often the best candidates for outpatient treatment programs. There are two main types of outpatient programs: partial hospitalization program (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP).

What is IOP?

Intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a less intense level of care in which patients can participate in a few hours of treatment per day while being able to maintain outside daily responsibilities. IOP is often the final step in drug and alcohol rehab treatment. IOP offers a minimum of nine hours of treatment per week. An example of a typical day in IOP consists of a person going about their personal and professional careers during the day, attending treatment for a few hours in the evening, and then returning home at the end of the day to continue with their daily activities. This allows for a gradual adjustment to life outside a structured and controlled setting.

What are the differences and similarities between IOP vs PHP?

Partial hospitalization program (PHP) is a step down from residential care. This type of outpatient programming usually requires clients to spend the majority of the day in treatment. PHP typically consists of five days per week of treatment from 4-8 hours per day. PHP is a more intensive program compared to IOP because clients are still at a vulnerable stage in rehab and are more prone to drug cravings and relapses. It offers clients a more structured and comprehensive plan and is usually recommended for someone who has completed detox and residential treatment. PHP clients rely heavily on psychotherapy treatments for co-occurring mental health conditions. While IOP clients concentrate on utilizing learned coping skills to manage distressing situations they may encounter outside of rehab. Both PHP and IOP allow the client to return home at the end of treatment programming

Research has found that consistent and continued care options play a significant role in maintaining long-term recovery. For people with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions, IOP is an important step in healing.

IOP focuses on preparing clients to transition out of a rehab environment. IOP was designed to help clients establish a psychosocial foundation and support system for relapse and stress management. Clients will use treatment programming to practice effective coping skills to help them manage day-to-day encounters with triggers or distressing situations that may lead to relapse. Building a strong foundation can include finding local therapy services, access to case managers and participation in addiction recovery support groups.

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What are online addiction support groups?

Studies have shown that people who actively participate in addiction recovery support groups have a higher chance of maintaining long-term sobriety. These are peer-led support groups where people create communities to share, support and advocate for each other. These recovery groups create a nurturing and safe environment for people in recovery to navigate their feelings and emotions constructively. Often with the help of others who have been in similar situations or have similar life experiences.

Addiction support groups are free of stigma and a place for people to find social interaction with others who understand the struggles and obstacles of sobriety. It is a place where members can find mentorship from those who have more experience and can offer advice and support to newly recovering members. Support groups also provide a sense of structure similar to rehab. Sometimes people who leave rehab find it difficult to manage life in an unstructured environment. These people find comfort in the stability of support groups as they transition into life without drugs and alcohol.

Today, online addiction support groups can range in specialty from gender-based, age-based, ethnic-based and substance based. There are 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other science-based programs such as SMART Recovery. Some of the most popular online addiction support groups include:

  • Tempest – A holistic and evidence-based digital recovery program for people struggling with alcohol abuse. This fee membership-based group provides personalized treatment plans and one on one support with a specialist.
  • SMART Recovery – A sober community focused on helping individuals through group sessions both in person and online. SMART uses methods highlighted from cognitive behavioral therapy to help members change their negative habits surrounding addiction-related behaviors. Supplemental information and resources also help members self-motivate to make changes for a positive and healthy life.
  • Soberistas – An online-only community worldwide that helps its members connect with other like-minded women struggling with substance use.
  • Gay & Sober – A support group specifically for the LGBTQ community. This demographic of people is often left out of the support system. This online addiction support group offers tools and resources for targeted needs in living sober.
  • 12 Step – The traditional support recovery group such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or other drug-specific types of groups that usually meet in person. New online communities have also been created to reach more people who need support.

Reach out to Hotel California by the Sea

We specialize in treating addiction and other co-occurring disorders, such as PTSD. Our Admissions specialists are available to walk you through the best options for treating your addiction.

Traditionally, these groups were in-person meetings. With the pandemic, the growth of online communities has also proved to be just as beneficial. Online addiction support groups have opened up opportunities to those who cannot physically attend in-person meetings, those who are in remote areas where there is a lack of local groups and those who have other health disabilities that may prevent them from meeting in person. These online communities have created greater accessibility to those in need of treatment.

For some people, seeking treatment for substance addiction can be difficult. On top of a job and personal responsibilities, full-time treatment is not a feasible option. At Hotel California by the Sea, our outpatient programs allow clients the flexibility to receive evidence-based treatment and support they need and deserve. PHP and IOP programs provide clients with continued rigorous therapies and unique aftercare services. Our programs provide the tools and resources clients need to successfully transition into life outside of rehab away from the temptation of substances.