Many people want to get treatment for their drug or alcohol problem. However, it can be difficult for people with jobs, families, and other obligations to balance treatment with their daily obligations. For some people, going to a residential (or live-in) rehab program is simply out of the question. An intensive outpatient program, or IOP, offers the promise of high quality treatment with more work-life balance than in residential programs.
However, many IOP programs have very specific requirements. It is important to comply with these in order to have the best possible chance at recovery. Thus, many people considering addiction treatment wonder: will an intensive outpatient program allow you to keep going to work? Will I be able to care for my children or other loved ones? Can I maintain all of my commitments while getting the help that I need?
What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?
An intensive outpatient program is a proven method of drug and alcohol treatment that is made for people who do not need or cannot access a residential program. These programs are designed for people who do not need medical detox and instead need support and therapy in moving forward with their new sober lives.
In these programs, people live in their homes or at a sober living complex and go to a program daily that supports them in sober living. These programs usually have the same basic features as inpatient treatment, including:
- individual and group therapy
- family counseling
- self-help and support groups
- relapse prevention skills
- support through withdrawals and cravings
The amount of time required by an IOP varies by the program and by the patient. Some people spend as little as 9 hours a week in the program while others may need to be there 70 or more hours every week. Most people start out going for a full day at the program almost every day and then slowly cut back while resuming more activities from their normal lives. This allows people to re-enter the “real world” in a slow and semi-supervised manner.
The length of time spent in an IOP varies. Most people will need to attend for 6 weeks or more.
Can I Go to Work While in an IOP?
It can be difficult to balance an intensive outpatient program with the needs of a career. Most people will need to take off some time. There are special programs, such as FMLA, that allow people to take off limited amounts of time without worrying about losing their jobs. However, it is absolutely possible to work during much of the program. Many programs have evening hours that are designed to support people in working while getting the treatment that they need.
However, the early days of an IOP can be extremely intensive, so you should plan on taking off at least the first week. Not only do the initial sessions require long hours, but you also can feel emotionally worn out after the different therapies. Fighting an addiction is hard work. Although you understandably want to keep your life in order, you also will need to give treatment a fair chance and a reasonable amount of time.
Is Intensive Outpatient Right For Me?
There are clear benefits to an IOP. You get to go through treatment while still keeping up with obligations to children, family, and career. In addition, you can practice your new skills almost as soon as you learn them, as you will be out and about in the real world. Last but not least, intensive outpatient programs usually cost less than a traditional residential rehab.
However, there can be some downsides as well. Residential treatment programs often have better success rates, in part due to the more controlled environment. In addition, they offer a wider range of services, including medically supervised detox. Intensive outpatient programs clearly are not perfect for everyone, although they have clear benefits for many people.
If you are thinking about getting drug and alcohol treatment either for yourself or a loved one, there are many different programs available. You do not have to give up your life or your family to get the treatment that you need. Call 772-934-6580 today to talk to our counselors and find out more about your options.