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intensive outpatient program (iop)

what is Intensive outpatient Program?

In general, there are two main types of addiction treatment: Inpatient and outpatient. With an inpatient or residential program, clients enter into a specialized facility and stay there for the duration of the treatment.  In an outpatient program, the person attends individual therapy sessions, an evidence-based curriculum that applies to the individual's life, and recovery events throughout Oregon. The individual has the option to head home afterward.  

An intensive outpatient program can be the first line of treatment, a step up from a less structured outpatient program when needed, or a step down from a residential program after a certain amount of progress is made. This helps to form a seamless continuum of care. If an individual requires a detox program, BLVD-trained staff will facilitate that for you. 

What to expect in an Iop?

An intensive outpatient program generally works the same way that residential programs do. Clients usually go through an assessment prior to admission to give treatment providers the information needed to design a personalized treatment plan. Medical, physical, and mental health is evaluated, and co-occurring disorders can be treated in many IOPs. Treatment providers work closely with the individual and their loved ones to plan and implement a viable care plan.


With an IOP, classes, sessions, meetings, and workshops are scheduled throughout the day, and individuals are expected to adhere to the strict structure of the program. Per SAMHSA’s TIP, intensive outpatient programs generally facilitate 6-30 hours a week of programming for addiction treatment. The exact number of hours and types of sessions will vary from person to person. On average, individuals will likely attend sessions in 3-hour or 4-hour blocks 4-5 days per week. Sessions may be day sessions or night sessions, depending on what works best for the person’s schedule and what the facility can provide. The National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA) recommends that addiction treatment programs should last at least 90 days and stresses that remaining in treatment for a suitable amount of time greatly enhances recovery.

For group therapy, individuals in an IOP program may be placed into a group “class” with others who are in a similar place in their treatment and recovery. IOP sessions typically begin with a general check-in around the group to see how everyone is doing and if anyone has anything to report. Personal stories are encouraged to be shared, and concerns are addressed. Trained professionals lead these group sessions, and after the initial discussion, they usually dive into a specific topic chosen for that particular group on that day. Topics may include methods of handling stress, coping with potential triggers, conflict management and resolution, what to expect emotionally and physically during recovery, and more. The group setting provides a supportive and encouraging environment.

Intensive Outpatient Alcohol & Drug Treatment - Recovery Blvd Treatment Center in Portland, OR

benefits of an iop

An outpatient program may be more cost-effective than a residential one, offering families a more budget-friendly option for care. Insurance may also cover outpatient services or require individuals to try outpatient care before providing coverage for a residential program.

IOPs are generally best suited to individuals who have a strong support system at home. Families and loved ones should be on board with the treatment plan, and willing and able to foster an encouraging environment that is conducive for recovery. Highly trained professionals work closely with families and individuals to make sure that the care plan continues to be beneficial throughout the entirety of an IOP, making changes to services and programming when needed.

Benefits of an IOP - Recovery Blvd Treatment Center in Portland, OR
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