There are two main types of addiction treatment: Inpatient and outpatient. The major difference is simple. Inpatient, or residential treatment means that you live at the treatment center for the duration of the program, usually a minimum of 30 days and up to six months or more. Outpatient treatment programs offer many of the same features of inpatient treatment, but you do not live at the facility.

Many people think that an outpatient program is something that is used in lieu of inpatient treatment, but often it is used in conjunction with it. In other words, the outpatient program is a continuation of the inpatient program. Once you complete your residential treatment program, you move onto the next phase, often known as intensive outpatient. This may also be known as aftercare.

What Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment?

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is typically attended by those who have recently completed an inpatient drug treatment program. Many treatment centers offer an IOP as well as an inpatient program. The IOP is offered to individuals who have completed their program, but may also be offered to people who are unable to attend inpatient treatment.


The duration of a typical intensive outpatient program can range from a few weeks to several months. Attendance may be daily or weekly and the program may have distinct phases, similar to an inpatient program. For example, at the beginning of your intensive outpatient program, you may attend groups and classes daily for a few hours. Over the length of the program you may reduce your time to one or two groups per week. Each program is different in length of sessions and duration of program.

Services offered are similar to that of an inpatient treatment program. Participants in an IOP will be assigned a counselor or case worker. An individual treatment plan will be developed and you will check in with your counselor on a regular basis to check progress and re-evaluate, if necessary.

Like inpatient treatment, you may attend various groups and you may engage in recovery-related activities both in and out of the program. You will be expected to remain abstinent and you may be subject to testing for substance use. You may also receive individual counseling.

Relapse prevention is a big focus in an intensive outpatient program. Although it can sometimes be a disadvantage to not have the constant support and structure that an inpatient program provides, the ability to apply what you are currently learning in an IOP to your real-life challenges is a major benefit.

Often, intensive outpatient programs offer additional resources such as help with finding employment and housing, supportive family services and help dealing with legal matters. Groups may also include topics such as parenting and anger management. These life skills are essential for recovering addicts who are trying to rebuild their lives.

Why Should You Go To Intensive Outpatient Treatment?

While you may feel as though you have learned all you need to in your inpatient program, and you may be chomping at the bit to be done with rehab, there are many reasons why it is suggested that you go to an intensive outpatient treatment.

First off, studies show that people who attend outpatient treatment after inpatient treatment stay clean and sober longer. The added support that you receive in an IOP is important. Once you leave treatment you are no longer in a protected environment. This transition from treatment to the “real world” can feel abrupt and if you don’t have continued support you are more likely to relapse.


Intensive outpatient provides that support. It provides a safe place to get support from peers and staff. If you are having problems or challenges you can bring them to groups or individual counseling. If you are struggling with other areas, such as family issues, financial issues or difficulty with housing or employment, your IOP can help or if not they can direct you to services that can.

An intensive outpatient program allows you to continue treatment while at the same time moving on with your life. You will be able to pursue employment or school and life with your family. It is important during this time to cultivate friendships with other people who are clean and sober. One of the biggest risk factors for people fresh out of treatment is not having other clean and sober people to spend time and be social with. Going back to the same people and places that you used with is a risk factor for relapse.

Intensive outpatient programs can be a good transition from residential treatment to no treatment. They can help you develop a support system and can assist you in your recovery. People who go to IOP are less likely to relapse in early recovery.

Find An Intensive Outpatient Treatment Center

If you are looking for a treatment center that offers intensive outpatient treatment contact Broadway Treatment Center . Our treatment center offers a number of programs including inpatient, intensive outpatient and aftercare. We offer cutting edge treatments in a caring atmosphere that promotes recovery of the whole person. We teach life skills and relapse prevention and offer a jail diversion program. Contact us today at 714-443-8218 for more information.