Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP): Treatment, Statistics, And Cost

Last Updated: April 23, 2024

Roger Weiss Authored by Roger Weiss, MD
0 sources cited

Residential facilities aren’t always the right path to getting clean; for some, the best option will be an intensive outpatient program. IOP allows the patients to live at home and be with their family, even go to work, while still getting and staying clean. For many, IOP rehab is the best solution, and they can search for IOP programs near me and contact one which best suits their requirements.

Read further to find information about IOP, who can benefit from it, the duration and schedule of this program, and its costs.

IOP: What Is It?

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a form of drug rehab where patients can live at home and come into the rehabilitation center each day for therapies. For a few hours a day, the patient engages in intensive forms of rehab therapy that target the behaviors and thinking patterns driving their drug abuse. The exact duration and types of therapy vary from one rehab to another, but usually, it comprises 10 to 12 hours of individual and group therapy sessions per week. Clients are usually required to visit the rehab center 3 or 4 times a week. According to the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) advisory, clients are required to attend their IOP therapies for a minimum of 9 hours per week with a maximum of 20 hours per week. Since an IOP offers a more rigorous and intensive program, this can only be achieved by spending more time in therapy.

Studies have shown a substantial reduction in alcohol and drug use between baseline and follow-up of patients attending IOP.

In some cases, intensive outpatient programs for substance abuse are part of a step-down program that begins with inpatient rehab. In this case, the user starts in a residential rehab facility, transitions to a partial hospitalization program, then gets IOP services before moving into the aftercare stage.

IOP Program Goals

By Enrolling in IOP Programs Near Me, Clients Can Achieve the Following Goals:

  • They will be able to maintain abstinence
  • They will be able to achieve behavioral change
  • They will be able to participate in support group meetings such as 12-step meetings
  • They will be able to address psychosocial issues such as housing, employment, skills learning, and probation requirements
  • They will be able to develop a support system
  • They will be able to develop and improve their problem-solving skills
Medical doctors discussing IOP program details.

Who Benefits From IOP The Most

Intensive outpatient programs are designed for individuals struggling with addiction, substance abuse, and co-occurring mental health disorders. Before admission, a medical and clinical assessment is carried out, after which the medical professionals will decide whether the client is eligible for the IOP program or not. Based on the initial evaluation, a customized treatment plan is created for each client.

Intensive Outpatient Program Rehab Can Be Effective When Used By:

  • patients with completed detox
  • patients having a stable home
  • patients with access to transportation
  • Patients with a strong network of a family at home who support their efforts
  • patients with a supportive community to surround them in the form of colleagues and friends
  • People with a lower risk of relapsing
  • People who are no longer using drugs either through detox or through their will
  • People who are ok with the idea of opening up to people
  • People who have academic or job responsibilities and cannot take off time from them

The groups mentioned above can experience success with intensive outpatient rehab. It is also ideal for those who have children or other relatives to care for, need to continue working, or must go to school while getting better.

Success Rates Statistics On IOP

When intensive outpatient programs in drug rehab are compared to residential ones, the outcomes are comparable. In other words, persons who complete an inpatient rehab program are not significantly more or less likely to succeed at staying clean than their intensive outpatient program counterparts. Thus, while some patients may be better served by one rehab option over the other, neither is inherently superior.

The most significant risk with intensive outpatient rehab for drug addiction is that patients can more easily stop participating in treatment than they can at a residential facility. As a result, people who remain at home but are still surrounded by triggers and drug access are not likely to complete their course of substance abuse treatment offered by a rehab. The same is true for those without a home or transportation. As a result, just 33 percent of intensive outpatient rehab patients complete their treatment on average.

However, another factor to consider when evaluating the success of IOP classes in a rehab facility is what type of drug the patient is addicted to. Opioid abusers tend to have the worst outcomes with intensive outpatient programs, which heavily impacts the statistics on their success. Those addicted to other drugs still have high rates of success with an intensive outpatient substance abuse program.

5 Best Rehabs Offering IOP

Many different rehab centers offer intensive outpatient programs. Here, we will discuss the five best rehab centers that person can enroll themselves or their loved ones in for intensive treatment at outpatient facilities.

Southern New Hampshire Medical Center: Providing Communities With Greater Access To Care

The IOP rehab program at the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center provides a high level of treatment and care in an outpatient setting which allows patients to attend sessions and receive treatment while living in the comfort of their homes and continuing their work. They offer 16 sessions for four weeks, with meetings every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. A clinician or licensed alcohol and drug counselor is appointed to carry out individual sessions, family meetings, and aftercare planning. After patients complete the IOP treatment, aftercare support is provided to them to help prevent relapse and to help them stay sober.

Prairie Care Medical Group: Mental Health Services For Everyone

Prairie Care Medical Group offers a complete continuum of care, including an intensive outpatient treatment program. Patients are offered group programming along with working on an individualized treatment plan. The average length of stay in this program is 24-27 treatment days, with a usual routine of three days a week. The timings for IOP are 8:45 am to 12:00 pm or 12:45 pm to 4:00 pm. Treatment includes psychiatric medication management, psychoeducation, group and individual outpatient intensive therapy, skills building, symptom management, spirituality, and others. Services are provided by psychiatrists, advanced practice nurses, psychologists, therapists, social workers, and nurses.

Central Florida Behavioral Hospital: Find The Power To Heal

The intensive outpatient substance abuse program at Central Florida Behavioral Hospital helps individuals develop healthier coping skills and build a recovery support network. The program has a schedule of 9 hours a week divided into 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. Services and therapies in this program include the development of mindfulness skills, assertiveness training, anxiety management, anger management, motivational interviewing, problem solving, crisis management, grief work, setting boundaries, identification of feelings, codependency, and using medication effectively. IOP treatment is provided by licensed master-level therapists in which patients see the program psychiatrist at least once a month for medication management.

Holly Hill Hospital: Begin The Path To A New Life

The IOP at Holly Hill Hospital is a structured outpatient program that focuses on stabilizing acute mental health conditions in adults while providing them with the skillset and tools to work through mental health issues and manage symptoms. Patients are taught life skills and coping mechanisms in a supportive and encouraging environment. The staff at the center comprises psychiatrists, therapists, and nurses. The therapies include many evidence-based approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), mindfulness, and expressive arts therapy. Patients attend sessions a few hours every week according to the schedule created for them.

St. Mary’s Health System: Making Specialty Care Even Stronger

The Adult IOP at St. Mary’s Health System provides individuals struggling with addiction and mental health issues with support, education, and counseling. Their staff includes board-certified psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, registered nurses, master’s level clinicians and professional counselors, board-certified chaplains, and recreation therapists. The timings for IOP are from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, during which patients attend different individual and group counseling sessions. The therapies and group meetings comprise group therapy programming, process groups, education groups, spirituality, recreation therapy, family involvement, dual diagnosis treatment, psychiatric assessment and management, relapse prevention planning, and aftercare.


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Treatment At IOP: Understanding The Process

Before signing up for an IOP in drug rehab, patients should understand what their experience might look like. The first thing to understand is that there isn’t a single formula for IOP rehab care. This means that every rehab center can offer something slightly different, and they have the freedom to tailor the course of treatment to what the people suffering from substance abuse disorder need.

According to research, group counseling sessions are often scheduled for 90 minutes, and patients are required to participate in at least 9 hours of therapeutic contact per week. The optimal size of a group in most IOPs is between 8 and 15 members. Many of these treatment programs span a period of 12 to 16 weeks, after which they are shifted to a less intensive management phase which may be for 6 months or more.

Some forms of outpatient intensive therapy used in treatment at IOP include:

  • Group Therapy: This is the core therapy used in intensive outpatient treatment. Patients come together as a whole to talk, strategize, and develop skills for staying clean.
  • Family Therapy: Family therapy brings the immediate family members of the patient to the rehab center to challenge dysfunction that could be driving the addiction and establish ways they can support an addicted person.
  • Individual Therapy: Individual therapy has the patient working one-on-one with a therapist. This allows them to get more targeted feedback and plan approaches tailored to their situation.
  • Complementary Therapies: These therapies are less-traditional methods that complement group and individual therapy. They can include art, music, adventure, yoga, and horse therapies, as well as other creative activities in the rehab.
  • Support Groups: Support groups are peer-led programs such as Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous. These should be part of both rehab therapy and aftercare.
  • Medication Management: With medication management, people with substance use disorder take pharmaceutical drugs to block the effects of the drug the patient is addicted to and/or to curb cravings. This can be risky as sometimes patients become addicted to these new drugs.
  • Detoxification: In some cases, an IOP program may choose to offer detox services to people with substance use disorder who are not likely to experience dangerous effects from withdrawing from their drug of choice.
  • Matrix Model: This model is specifically used to treat patients addicted to uppers. The focus is on developing high self-esteem and self-regard. It can incorporate many different forms of rehab therapy as well as drug testing, education, and relapse analysis.
  • Psychoeducational Groups: In these groups, clients are educated about substance dependence and its consequences.
  • Skills Development Groups: In these groups, clients are offered the opportunity to practice specific behaviors and skills in the safety of the rehab center. Common skills include assertive training, stress management, anger management, relapse prevention techniques, and process-oriented skills learning.

In most cases, outpatient intensive treatment in drug rehab will take place in a therapeutic center or at an actual drug rehabilitation facility. Some online care services are emerging, but the efficacy of these has not been studied.

During IOP Treatment, Patients May Learn a Number of Skills and Activities, Including:

  • Relapse prevention skills
  • How to manage urges and cravings and to deal with triggers in a better way
  • Post-acute withdrawal syndrome and how to avoid it
  • Understand the brain chemistry of addiction
  • Learn about the progression of the disease of addiction
  • Introduce themselves to the 12 steps
  • Learn spirituality skills
  • Focus on co-occurring disorders and the effects on addiction and recovery
  • Learn interpersonal skills

IOP Schedule And Duration

An IOP at a rehab center customizes treatment plans for each client. Each one of them is then required to attend designated hours of therapy during each week. The duration of the program is also specified for each individual. Although the duration and schedule of treatment vary from center to center and for each individual client, a general description of the schedule and duration is given below.


How long an IOP in drug rehab lasts depends on the rehab center offering the care and the needs of the patient. In general, 12 weeks is the shortest duration, while most courses of treatment run in the range of 16 to 20 weeks. Others can last as long as a year if that is what the patient wants, and the drug facility agrees to it. A user will not know how long an IOP is until they talk to the rehab provider.

When comparing IOP and outpatient rehab facilities, the only difference is the time a patient spends in the rehab. IOP requires more hours per week in the rehab center. Traditionally, an outpatient program is a next step after finishing intensive outpatient treatment.


Likewise, the intensive outpatient program substance abuse schedule also varies. Most programs strive to get 10-12 hours of therapy for a patient per week. These hours can be divided up over any number of days and can take place in the morning, afternoon, or evening.

For example, someone who needs to work while going through rehab therapy might opt for three hours of therapy four days a week, with an hour in the morning before work doing individual sessions and two hours in the afternoon or evening after their workday is done in group sessions or complementary therapies.

What Happens After IOP Program?

When a patient has completed their duration at the intensive outpatient program, they will meet with the therapist to determine the next steps. Usually, clients are recommended to continue with a less intensive level of care so the treatment can be phased out slowly. This allows the patient to stay motivated, work on relapse prevention skills, and help their peers in their journey toward sobriety.

This Less Intensive Care May Include the Following:

  • Group sessions that are of a lesser frequency as compared to outpatient programs
  • Individual meetings with the therapist once a week.
  • Regular attendance in 12-step meetings or groups
  • Attendance at alumni meetings of IOP
  • Periodic check-ins by phone
  • Refer to vocational training, family therapy, or medical care

PHP vs. IOP: Comparing The Two

For those who are not overly familiar with drug rehab programs, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs might sound like they are the same. They both offer tailored therapy while allowing the patient to return home each day, and they both have been demonstrated to be effective forms of drug rehab.

However, there are some key differences between partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient drug rehab that could make one better than the other for patients. They are as follows.

TYPICAL SCHEDULE 6 hours a day, 5 days a week 3 hours a day, 3 days a week
THERAPY TYPES Greater focus on mixed therapies Heavily relies on individual therapy
COST More expensive than IOP Cheaper than PHP
HOLISTIC CARE Has time for things like yoga and meditation Due to time constraints, focuses more on traditional methods

IOP Cost Of Treatment

The IOP cost also varies by the rehab center. Some of these programs are provided by free rehab centers, and many are covered by insurance providers in part or in full, including Medicaid. IOP payment is generally measured on a day-to-day basis rather than for a full-time of treatment. Most programs fall into the range of $250-350 per day, though there are some that can cost as much as $500 per day.

No matter the user’s financial situation, there are intensive outpatient programs that are accessible to them. While it may take a bit of research, the correct fit is out there. Alternatively, state-funded rehab centers and no-insurance rehab facilities are good options for those who cannot afford to pay for treatment.

Why Choose IOP

Intensive outpatient programs in rehab give patients a lot of flexibility to work, care for family, and maintain the vital relationships that will make a recovery possible. However, people with SUD need to ensure that treatment at intensive outpatient program substance abuse in general and their course of treatment, particularly, is well suited to them.

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Page Sources

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  2. Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) 2012: Discharges from Substance Abuse Treatment Services. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.
  4. McCarty, D., Braude, L., Lyman, D. R., Dougherty, R. H., Daniels, A. S., Ghose, S. S., & Delphin-Rittmon, M. E. (2014). Substance abuse intensive outpatient programs: assessing the evidence. Psychiatric Services, 65(6), 718-726.
  5. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (1994). Intensive Outpatient Treatment for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse.
  6. Treatment, C. Substance Abuse: Clinical Issues in Intensive Outpatient Treatment.

Published on: July 29th, 2019

Updated on: April 23rd, 2024

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