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Intensive Outpatient Programs: How to Balance Treatment with Work

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Intensive Outpatient Programs: How to Balance Treatment with Work

Maybe you’ve just landed your dream job and there’s no way you can take time away to get help. Or perhaps you have a wife and two kids to support and you can’t afford a dip in your paycheck for the month. If you’re struggling with addiction or substance abuse problems, treatment is the right decision. But sometimes the “real world” gets in the way. Work, school, and other adult obligations can make pausing your life to get help seem impossible. That’s where intensive outpatient programs come in.

intensive outpatient programs

What Are Intensive Outpatient Programs?

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a treatment program in which a client will still have to make a time commitment but he doesn’t have to live in an actual treatment facility. Group sessions, individual therapy, and additional activities are still involved, but only for a set amount of time each week. The rest of your week can still revolve around your job, school, and other responsibilities. This is ideal for people who can’t take time away from work, are full-time students, or have a family to support.

intensive outpatient programsIndividual facilities run their programs differently. However, there are certain aspects that are pretty much the same among each intensive outpatient program. Most IOPs include group sessions as well as individual therapy. You’ll be required to go to these therapy sessions for a certain amount of time each week or month. For example, an IOP may require you to participate in 20 hours of treatment per week. These hours will be broken up in a set schedule throughout the week so that you’ll know exactly what to expect and how to plan your other obligations around the program. Many intensive outpatient programs also offer life coaching and skill development to help you move forward after completing the program. Some IOPs also offer sober living.

Sober Living: A Stepping Stone to the “Real World”

Intensive outpatient does not necessarily mean that you need to live in a sober facility. You can participate in an IOP while still living at home. However, in many cases a sober living facility is the best decision for recovery. It’s the ideal environment to continue your recovery because everyone in the house is a recovering addict. That means that your housemates will all share a similar mindset. You’ll also be away from temptation and distraction. These are important things to consider because if your home environment is toxic and triggering, your recovery will most definitely suffer.

Each sober living facility is different but there are things that should populate your checklist when shopping.

Sober living checklist:

  •  Curfews – Strict curfews help to lower relapse rates and promote responsibility.

  • Random Drug Tests – Random drug tests get a bad rap. Addicts taught themselves to fear them in order to keep up their addiction. But random drug testing is a great way to keep you accountable for your own sobriety.

  • Meeting Quotas – Meeting quotas are usually tracked on meeting cards. They’re used to make sure you’re actually participating in the meeting sessions that are the lifeblood of your recovery.

Major Ways that Outpatient Programs Work for Busy Lives:

Work Doesn’t Have to Be Compromised

People who struggle with addiction are not all homeless or struggling to take care of themselves at a basic level. They’re businessmen, coffee shop baristas, grocery store clerks, and retailers. You don’t have to be a big business executive to worry about how addiction treatment will affect your job. One of the biggest concerns that people have with residential treatment is that they’ll have to miss work. Because IOP only requires a certain amount of time each day or week, it allows people to still go to work while they receive treatment.

Lower Costs (Generally)

Intensive outpatient programs use fewer resources than residential treatment. For example, IOP still offers things like group and individual therapy, but it doesn’t include things like a bed or private chef, which are common with residential facilities. Because of this, the costs of IOP are generally lower than the costs of residential treatment. If you’re worried about how treatment will affect your job, chances are that lower costs will be good news to you. It won’t put as big of a burden on your paycheck and you’ll still be able to continue your regular work hours to make up for it.

Less Intrusion

Treatment is a huge deal. It’s a big step towards bettering your life. However, that means that it’s going to take a commitment. If you want to be healthy and free of your addiction, your recovery is going to have to take the front seat spot in your life. But trust me, you’ll welcome the change. Intensive outpatient programs ease that transition a bit. IOP still requires a big commitment from you, but it’s a less intrusive commitment. Your life is still your life with the addition of outpatient treatment.

This is also good news for people who work closely with others. Because let’s face it… when you’re gone from work or school for a week or more, people get nosy. Intensive outpatient programs still give you room to exercise privacy and discretion. If your program hours work around your work schedule, your boss, coworkers, and colleagues won’t be tipped off to your treatment unless you choose to share with them.

Check out New Start’s Intensive Outpatient Program

If you think IOP is the right option for you, check out New Start’s program. Our IOP follows a 90-day structure that is broken up into three 30-day tiers. You’ll start at the first tier and make your way through the following tiers as you complete each 30 days. Each tier has a different set of guidelines. The first tier includes the most therapy at five hours a day five days a week for 30 days. These therapy hours decrease as the tiers progress. This type of structure is very beneficial for the client because it helps them build independence as they makes their way back into the “real world” as a clean and sober recovered addict.

Depending on the drug, detox may still be necessary before an intensive outpatient program. For example, meth doesn’t necessarily require a medical detox but heroin and alcohol are both dangerous to detox from on your own. Determining which option is best for a person varies case by case.

intensive outpatient programsBeing a kid had its perks, but so does being an adult. You can drive, travel, grow a family, and hold your dream job. But these joys are the things that get compromised in addiction. Fortunately, treatment – detox, residential, and intensive outpatient programs alike – allows us to thrive in life and enjoy these things once again.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, we want to help. Don’t hesitate to call us at 855-737-7363 or reach out to us on our live chat.

Posted in Recovery