“How long do outpatient programs last” is probably one of the questions uppermost in your mind when determining the most appropriate addiction treatment for your needs.
In the case of most moderate and severe alcohol use disorders and substance use disorders, especially when medical detox is required, inpatient treatment is advisable. For anyone with an unstable home background, residential treatment can also be invaluable, offering a sanctuary away from stressors liable to trigger a relapse.
If inpatient treatment is not practical or affordable, though, an outpatient treatment program offers a more flexible and more cost-effective alternative, while still providing access to most of the same services you find in residential rehab.
Discover today how long you need to allow for the various levels of outpatient addiction treatment for addiction, as well as the different options at your disposal.
How Long Does Outpatient Alcohol Treatment Last?
- 0.5: Early intervention
- 1: Standard outpatient program
- 2: Intensive outpatient program or partial hospitalization program
- 3: Inpatient program
- 4: Medically-managed intensive inpatient program
If you are looking to engage with outpatient treatment, you have the following options:
- OP (outpatient program): A regular outpatient program is the least intensive form of treatment, consisting of between 1 and 9 hours of weekly therapy. Treatment lasts from a few months to a year or more. If you choose a traditional outpatient program for alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, few medical services are provided. Instead, you will be connected with more intensive levels of care on demand.
- IOP (intensive outpatient program): An IOP is one of the most popular forms of outpatient programming, offering anywhere from 9 to 20 hours of weekly therapy sessions over a period of 3 to 4 months.
- PHP (partial hospitalization program): PHPs are referred to as day programs. A PHP is ideal if you require robust clinical and medical support without needing around-the-clock supervision. Expect 20 to 35 hours of intensive weekly therapy over 3 to 4 months. After sessions, you return home or to a sober living home. A partial hospitalization program is the most intensive form of outpatient programming, allowing you access to the services you find in residential rehab at a more affordable rate, and with much more flexibility.
So, a standard outpatient program lasts from 3 to 12 months or more. The more intensive nature of IOPs and PHPs allows you to potentially complete your treatment in just 3 to 4 months, before stepping down the continuum of care and maintaining your sobriety.
Many people comparing outpatient programs opt for an IOP, intensive outpatient treatment that delivers plenty of support and structure while still allowing you to remain anchored to your everyday commitments. How long is an IOP program, then?
How Long is IOP Treatment and What to Expect
Research shows that intensive outpatient programs can be as effective as inpatient programs for treating most substance use disorders.
IOP treatment typically lasts for between 3 and 4 months. This type of treatment for addiction gives you the freedom to live away from the treatment center and remain connected to your life at work and home. For several hours each week, you’ll attend regularly scheduled sessions at a treatment center.
Intensive outpatient treatment offers more structure and a higher level of care than you find in conventional outpatient programs.
Despite the name, an IOP is less intensive than a PHP (partial hospitalization program). While these two approaches to addiction treatment are broadly similar, a PHP calls for a greater time commitment.
For some clients, an IOP serves as the primary form of care. For others, an IOP acts as a step down the continuum of care from inpatient rehab, or a step up from a failed attempt at a regular outpatient program.
Following the IOP itself, you may also engage with maintenance treatment, also in an outpatient capacity, but at a much-reduced level of intensity. This could last for months, depending on the level of care and guidance you require. Research shows that the longer you engage with treatment, the higher your chances of sustained sobriety.
Typically, IOPs require a minimum time commitment of 9 hours weekly. Sessions are often held 3 times weekly for 3 hours. This is variable, though, with some IOPs meeting for fewer hours over more days of the week.
IOPs don’t make sense for everyone. All situations are unique when it comes to recovery, and each case should be judged on its own merits to establish the best course of treatment. That said, there are some general circumstances when intensive outpatient programs are often effective.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have a mild or very moderate substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder?
- Are you in good shape, both physically and mentally?
- Do you feel committed to sustained sobriety?
- Do you have a strong support system in place?
- Are your family supportive of your recovery, and is your home environment stable?
- Is this your first attempt at engaging with an IOP for addiction treatment?
- Do you feel comfortable in group settings?
- Are you looking to cover the costs of treatment through insurance?
If you find yourself responding positively to the above questions, intensive outpatient treatment might be worth considering for your alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder.
The best intensive outpatient program will be highly personalized based on the evaluation of your intake and assessment.
There is a strong focus placed on preventing relapse, and you’ll also learn to build healthier coping mechanisms that don’t involve abusing substances.
If you stick to your treatment plan, attend all sessions, and implement what you learn, there’s no reason that an IOP can’t act as the springboard for your ongoing sobriety.
CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy, and proven effective for treating both alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder, as well co-occurring mental health disorders. CBT is an evidence-based psychotherapy that helps you to better understand the negative beliefs and flawed thinking that, if uncorrected, can result in drinking or drug use.
You’ll learn to identify and record automatic thoughts that trigger you to abuse substances. Once aware of these triggers, you will develop healthy coping skills so you can strengthen your chances of avoiding relapse.
IOPs offer you counseling sessions, both individually and in groups. One-to-one sessions offer an invaluable personalized exploration of your addiction with laser-focused personal attention. In a group setting, you’ll benefit from the support of peers struggling with the same issues you’re confronting as you leave substances behind and push ahead with your recovery.
IOPs can connect you with a variety of holistic therapies from yoga and mindfulness meditation to tai chi and outdoor activities in your area.
Relapse is strongly triggered by environmental and emotional stressors, so learning how to remain calm in the face of stress is a vital recovery skill for your toolbox, and you’ll sharpen this through holistic therapies.
You’ll also receive guidance on food and nutrition, as well as being encouraged to exercise daily.
If you need help reengaging with the workforce, intensive outpatient programs often offer assistance with various aspects of finding a job or pursuing a course of education. Most people addicted to drink or drugs find their interpersonal relationships unravel.
Addiction is not only a disease, but it’s a disease that impacts all family members. With family therapy, you’ll be guided through reforming these broken bonds. You’ll also learn how to communicate with less friction so you can defuse conflict when it arises.
The goal of family therapy within an IOP is to unite the whole family and urge everyone to set aside differences and to focus on a sober future.
Finding an IOP Program at The District
If you feel you make a good fit for intensive outpatient treatment, you’re in safe hands here at The District Recovery Community.
For anyone lacking the right home environment, we can help arrange accommodation in sober living houses. This will make a more stable base where you’ll be surrounded by others in active recovery.
We’ll use evidence-based medication-assisted treatment when appropriate. This can help alleviate some of the more uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. MAT can also help reduce the intensity of cravings for drinks or drugs. Treatment is delivered in combination with the appropriate psychotherapy.
You’ll leave TDRC with all the skills you need to sustain a life of sustained sobriety. All you need to do to get started is call the friendly team at 844.287.8506.