Intensive Outpatient vs. Traditional Outpatient Alcohol Treatment
If you are experiencing alcohol dependency or alcohol abuse, you may be considering entering a treatment program. Looking for the right type of treatment for your situation is an important decision and you need to do your research to choose the best program to help you recover. There are many things you need to consider when selecting a treatment program: your current needs, how much time you can devote to treatment, your financial situation and family needs and limitations.
The alcohol treatment programs available vary widely, from short term outpatient options to long term residential programs. Most short-term programs are at least 30 days in length and these programs usually include individual therapy, medication and group counseling. Long-term treatment options can last from 90 days to over a year, depending on the severity of your alcohol addiction and your service setting.
An outpatient program allows people to get the help they need without moving into a treatment facility or relocating. Outpatient programs offer significant benefits, as they allow people to receive sobriety support while still participating in everyday activities like attending school or going to work. In an outpatient program, you can work through your alcohol triggers every day, while receiving the support you need.
There are two main types of outpatient treatment programs available: traditional outpatient (OP) and intensive outpatient (IOP). This article will discuss the difference between IOP and OP addiction treatments and will detail other factors including services offered and financial cost to help you choose the best program.
What is Intensive Outpatient Treatment?
IOP stands for Intensive Outpatient Program and is classified as a type of outpatient treatment available for those dealing with alcohol addiction or dependency. IOP is unique as it gives patients consistent medical and psychological support while not requiring them to stay in a facility overnight.
In this type of treatment, you will participate in a variety of daily treatment services including counseling and relapse prevention therapy. IOP is best for those who have already gone through the detoxification process. Most programs are not set up to provide support and treatment if you are experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. IOP programs are also ideal for those who suffer from mild to moderate alcohol addiction and who do not meet the diagnostic conditions for inpatient programs. Programs vary in the time commitment required but usually require at least a few visits each week. Most programs require a commitment of a least nine hours each week, split into three sessions.
The hours required can be increased or decreased depending on your progress and the recommendations of your treatment team. However, because IOP is not as comprehensive as an inpatient program, recovery tends to take a longer period of time. However, there is still sufficient evidence to indicate that IOP programs are effective as inpatient programs when it comes to helping patients achieve long-term sobriety.
What is Outpatient Treatment?
Outpatient treatment is recommended for those who no longer require the level of support offered in intensive outpatient treatment. The weekly time commitment and the level of care provided will vary depending on program and medical recommendations, but these programs are less rigid and require fewer weekly sessions than IOP programs.
Like IOP, OP does not require patients to sleep in a facility and they still have the flexibility to complete many outside daily activities such as working or take care of children. Outpatient alcohol treatment uses the same therapeutic approaches as inpatient treatment and IOP, but the structure allows for more flexibility. Specific treatment options may include individual therapy, group counseling, medication management and coping mechanisms.
The length of time you spend in outpatient treatment will vary depending on your own needs and the recommendations of your treatment team. Some people spend as little as two weeks in OP while others require several months, or even years, of consistent treatment.
Who Should Choose This Treatment Program?
Traditional Outpatient: A traditional outpatient program is the least restrictive form of alcohol treatment available. Patients have the freedom to complete daily activities and will have a lot of free time during the week when they are not attending treatment. Therefore, OP is not recommended if you have a long, untreated history of alcohol abuse. OP is best for people who:
- Have completed an inpatient or IOP program
- Have a new, mild form of alcohol addiction
- Need additional support after a relapse
Intensive Outpatient Treatment: A study published by Psychiatric Services estimates that 12% of those seeking addiction treatment receive care in an intensive outpatient program. The study further reveals that many of those people who start IOP programs have mental health issues that are made worse by addictive behaviors. However, people in IOP do not require around-the-clock monitoring and do not need to sleep in a medical facility. Further, they need more support than a traditional OP program provides.
However, an IOP is not recommended for those who just finished alcohol detoxification or who need around-the-clock health or behavioral monitoring and support. A study published in European Addiction Research found that 36% of people who completed a specific IOP program later returned to drinking. This high relapse level is likely attributed to the fact that many people who choose IOP have needs that are better suited to an inpatient program. These individuals need more consistent monitoring and do better in an environment where they have consistent support from morning until night.
What Services Are Provided in These Treatment Options?
Traditional Outpatient: Traditional OP can take many forms and provide different treatment services. In fact, any program in which a patient visits a facility weekly for an alcohol addiction problem can be considered an OP program. Typically, an OP program offers group counseling, individual therapy, family therapy, and medication management. You may also be advised to see a physiatrist if you have an underlying mental health issue.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment: An IOP is a more dedicated, robust treatment option than a traditional OP. If you enroll in IOP, you will dedicate a greater amount of time to the treatment program. IOP does have more restrictions than traditional OP but patients can still live at home. IOP programs typically offer physiatry evaluations, group counseling, consistent monitoring, individual counseling, medical treatment and family counseling.
Some programs also focus on teaching life skills or providing patients with basic services like housing support, educational classes and job training. Some programs also provide recreational activities to aid in the recovery process.
How Much Does Treatment Cost?
Traditional Outpatient: Because patients live at home during OP, these programs are much more cost-effective than inpatient treatment programs. There are no fees associated with room or board in OP programs. The cost of attending an OP program will vary significantly based on the type of care provided, your location and whether you have insurance. Many insurance programs do not pay for OP therapy because it is not considered a life-threatening illness by many providers. Those who wish to use insurance to cover the cost of their treatment should consult with their provider before choosing a care program.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment: While IOP is not as expensive as attending an inpatient treatment program, it is generally more expensive than OP. IOP programs require more support from a dedicated care team and will therefore result in a greater expense. Like OP, some insurance companies will cover the cost of treatment, while others do not. Consult with your provider before choosing a treatment program.
Contact Clean Recovery Centers for Help Today
While there are is a difference between IOP and OP addiction treatments, both options can help you on your recovery journey. If you are on the road to sobriety and need extra support, contact Clean Recovery Centers today. They have a variety of IOP/OP programs designed to help you remain sober. Start the recovery process today. Contact an intake specialist at Clean Recovery Centers to begin your recovery journey.