A substance abuse treatment plan often involves different levels of care. Two you may have heard about are general outpatient and Intensive Outpatient or IOP. Both sound alike and even share some of the same characteristics. But despite being very similar, there are some key differences you should know about.
What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?
An Intensive Outpatient Program is often the first step following residential treatment. During an IOP, you’ll visit a recovery center several times each week for anywhere from two to four hours per session. Depending on your individual treatment plan, you may undergo one or more of the following:
- Individual or group therapy
- Relapse prevention
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Substance abuse education
While enrolled in an IOP, you’ll live at home and can also resume work and other responsibilities. But you’ll have the additional support that’s needed in order to make the transition as seamless as possible. In turn, you are more likely to maintain your newfound sobriety for life.
What is General Outpatient Treatment?
General outpatient treatment involves routine individual and/or group therapy sessions. During these sessions, you’ll work on issues that may have led to your substance abuse issue in the first place. You can also learn how to better deal with triggering events so as to avoid a relapse.
Most people receive general outpatient treatment only after completing an Intensive Outpatient Program. At first, you may attend sessions once or twice each week.As you become stronger, the frequency may decrease to only one or two times each month.
Pros and Cons of an Intensive Outpatient Program
An Intensive Outpatient Program eases the transition between residential treatment and the everyday life you experienced before rehab. It therefore offers several advantages, namely:
- Being less expensive than residential treatment
- Allowing you to resume a somewhat normal lifestyle
- Providing a solid support network to aid in your recovery
- Increasing the odds that you will remain sober indefinitely
While IOP does offer several advantages, it is not appropriate in all situations. As such, you could still require rehab and/or detox first. Furthermore, you must be committed to attending all therapy sessions if you are to fully benefit from it.
Pros and Cons of General Outpatient Treatment
General outpatient treatment requires only a minimum amount of time each week, making it perfect for anyone who leads a busy lifestyle. Should you face a life stressor, general outpatient treatment will allow you to deal with it immediately rather than turning to drugs or alcohol. Sessions can also continue indefinitely if needed. Accordingly, many people include them as part of their relapse prevention plan.
General outpatient treatment is designed for those who have already reached certain milestones in their recovery journey. It is therefore not ideal for those who require a residential or Intensive Outpatient Program instead. In addition, general outpatient programs alone usually do not meet the requirements of most court-ordered treatment.
IOP or General Outpatient: Which Program is Right for Me?
You are more likely to benefit from an IOP if you have recently completed a residential treatment program. Even so, you may want to consider one if you have been sober for some time but feel you are in danger of relapsing. The additional support you receive could prove invaluable when it comes to maintaining your sobriety.
A general outpatient program is normally recommended once you complete an Intensive Outpatient Program. However, you could also benefit from one if you:
- Have an underlying mental health condition such as bipolar disorder that would increase your odds of addiction
- Do not have a solid support network at home and feel as though you must maintain your new sober lifestyle on your own
- Must deal with an unusually large number of triggers, including peer pressure from others
- Are experiencing a stressful life event
Finding a Treatment Program that Works
If you or a loved one has a substance abuse problem, choosing the right therapy program is paramount. That may involve an IOP, general outpatient therapy, or even residential treatment. Deciding which one to choose can be difficult, but we will always be here to guide you. To find out more about the various treatment options, call us today at 833.970.2054.