What is IOP | Intensive Out Patient FAQ

According to the National Institute of Health, “Substance abuse intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are direct services for people with substance use disorders  mental and substance use disorders who do not require medical detoxification or 24-hour supervision. Intensive Outpatients are alternatives to inpatient and residential treatment. They are designed to establish psychosocial supports and facilitate relapse management and coping strategies”. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines IOP as level II service. With standard outpatient being below it at level I and residential treatment being above it at level III.

What Does IOP Stand For?

One of the most common questions we hear from new clients is, “what does IOP mean?” IOP stands for Intensive Outpatient Program.

What is an IOP Program?

You may be asking yourself, What is IOP treatment? An IOP program can vary depending on what it is designed to treat. Intensive Outpatients for alcoholism, drug addiction, or any substance use disorder are typically a mix of group and individual therapy that totals approximately 9-10 hours per week.

How Much Does IOP Cost?

We can break this question into two distinct categories. How much does IOP cost with insurance? How much does IOP cost without insurance? The answer to this question is not a simple or one size fits all answer. In many cases your insurance company will cover the majority of the cost of Intensive Outpatient, sometimes they will even cover the entire cost. For those who do not have health insurance coverage, Harbor Wellness offers a variety of payment options. If you have questions regarding your specific situation please call us directly at 855-698-3554.

How Long is an IOP Program?

Two common questions almost all of our clients ask are: How long is IOP treatment? How long does an IOP program last? Typically a standard IOP session will be 3 hours long. This is typically repeated three times per week to meet the Intensive Outpatient criteria of nine hours total per week. An IOP program’s total length can vary considerably depending on the client and the progress the client makes. Generally an IOP program will last a few months, and be less intensive as time goes on.

What do you Learn in IOP?

There is a wide variety of content covered in Substance Abuse IOP. Psyciatry Today, a well respected medical journal, defines the Intensive Outpatient curriculum as the following:  ” IOP goals are to help the individual learn early-stage relapse management and coping strategies, to ensure that the person has psychosocial support, and to address individual symptoms and needs. However, broad variation across programs in terms of service delivery (for example, mechanisms for screening and assessment), treatment planning and provision, crisis management, discharge planning, and the intensity and duration of care exist.

Does IOP Drug Test?

Yes. Most if not all substance abuse IOP programs will administer drug tests to their clients. Here at Harbor Wellness our clients are drug testing randomly throughout their treatment with us.


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