IOP stands for intensive outpatient program. These programs are designed to address mental health issues such as addictions to drugs or alcohol and dual diagnoses. A dual diagnosis occurs when a person experiences both an addiction and a mental health issue like depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. People who attend IOPs do not require 24/7 supervision or medically monitored detox. Unlike those in a residential treatment program, people in IOPs return to their own homes at night and may even work part time depending on the hours they spend at the program.
While an IOP is not as intense as a residential treatment program, it is more intense than routine outpatient follow up. Routine outpatient follow up usually involves meeting with a trained therapist once every week or two, attending self-help meetings regularly, and seeing a psychiatrist once every 90 days for medication management. Depending on your diagnosis, visiting your primary care physician regularly may be part of outpatient follow up, too.
Most people in IOPs attend the program between 10 and 12 hours per week. The majority of IOPs offer morning and afternoon hours on the weekdays. Additionally, some IOPs offer weekend and evening hours so you can attend the program and continue working. Services provided by an IOP include
- group counseling – this will probably make up the bulk of your time in an IOP
- family therapy – to identify family systems and patterns and work to change the ones that are unhelpful
- individual counseling – especially discharge planning
- social detox – detox that does not require the presence of a doctor or of a medical team
- medication management – medication reviews with a psychiatrist
Although it’s never fun to have to track down recommended care, with the following tips, finding an IOP should not be difficult.
How Do I Find an IOP?
Finding an IOP may take a little persistence and research, but there are almost always options available. Some people are advised to participate in an IOP after completing an inpatient rehab program. If this is the case with you, ask the inpatient treatment team for referrals to IOPs in your area. Because IOPs do not provide one size fits all service, ask the team for referrals to at least two different programs so you can see which one works best for you. You may also want to ask your inpatient treatment team to work with your insurance plan so you can make sure your treatment in the IOP is covered. Do not start an IOP unless you have discussed financing your care through insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or private pay.
If you are receiving help on an outpatient basis, and your therapist or psychiatrist believes that you need more services than he or she can provide, he or she may refer you to an IOP. In this case, ask the therapist or psychiatrist for referrals to one or two IOPs that he or she believes could benefit you.
If you have insurance, you can put in a call to your insurance company to find out which IOPs are covered in your area. The insurance representatives will also be able to tell you about documentation they need in order to approve benefits. For instance, they may require that you have a referral from your primary care physician or that you meet with a psychiatrist for a consultation before entering the program.
If you do not have health insurance, another option is to reach out to behavioral health and substance abuse treatment centers. See if they have an IOP or if they can refer you to one. If money is an issue, see if the IOP offers financial assistance such as a scholarship or a sliding scale based on income. If your income is low and if you can’t work, you may qualify for Medicaid, a state-based program that provides medical assistance to low income families.
Attending an IOP can be an important step to dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues. If you’re ready to get started finding the perfect program for you, we can help. Call (440) 253-9915, and let our trained staff help you find the treatment you need.