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American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Intensive Outpatient Rehab Programs

People struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) may benefit from an individualized treatment plan that involves different levels of care.1 This can include participating in an intensive outpatient program (IOP), where patients receive structured treatment but can continue to live at home or in a type of sober living facility.

What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

An intensive outpatient addiction treatment program is a highly supportive type of rehab that provides direct services for patients struggling with addiction or with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders (e.g., depression).2

People attend IOP treatment on a predetermined schedule.2 IOPs offer 9-19 hours of treatment per week, usually in 3-hour sessions, but some programs may offer more hours of treatment or longer blocks of time.2 Because IOPs are a kind of outpatient rehab, patients can continue to live at home and sometimes maintain their day-to-day responsibilities, such as going to school or work.

An IOP can vary in intensity over time. As a patient makes progress, the program may become less intense.2 If a patient experiences a setback or requires a higher level of care, their program may intensify or they can transition to a more supportive treatment setting, such as a high-intensity outpatient program, sometimes referred to as a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or inpatient rehab.3

What to Expect In an IOP

Different intensive outpatient programs have different durations, programming, and therapies, but may share common goals, including:5

  • Educating patients about SUD, including consequences of use, relapse risks, and the treatment process.
  • Teaching patients coping and relapse prevention skills.
  • Building recovery support through peers and mutual support groups.
  • Helping patients remain engaged in treatment.
  • Managing physical and psychological symptoms.
  • Involving family in treatment, including educating members on family dynamics and SUD.
  • Enhancing motivation.
  • Supporting patients’ financial, housing, medical, and vocational needs.

These goals are accomplished through different core services, which typically include:5

  • Group counseling, which is the primary treatment modality. Patients learn necessary recovery skills and receive education on different components, such as relapse prevention.
  • Individual counseling, which usually takes place once a week, or as needed, to help patients work on individual goals and problems, or to talk about issues they might not want to raise in group therapy sessions.
  • Case management, which involves creating an individualized treatment plan and ensuring the continuity of care if a patient transitions from one level of care to another.
  • 24-hour crisis services, which can address emergencies outside of program hours, such as suicidality, relapse risks, and other safety issues.
  • Family services, which help families address issues that can impact a patient’s recovery.

IOPs can also include other services, such as medication management in a medically managed IOP or PHP, substance use monitoring, transportation, wellness programs, and more.5

Therapies Used in IOPs

An intensive outpatient addiction rehab will offer different evidence-based therapies, such as:1

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps patients identify and modify harmful or negative thoughts and behaviors.
  • Motivational interviewing (MI), which helps patients work through resistance to change and develop the internal motivation necessary to implement desired life changes.
  • Contingency management (CM), which provides positive reinforcement, such as tangible goods or cash prizes, as rewards to patients who achieve desired outcomes, such as negative drug tests.

How Long Does an Intensive Outpatient Rehab Program Last?

Patients usually participate in 9 to 19 hours of weekly treatment at an IOP.2 The duration of IOPs can vary from patient to patient and by program.6

Why Choose an Intensive Outpatient Program?

Many people can benefit from intensive outpatient rehab, including those who are willing to attend regular counseling sessions, have a strong social support network, have safe and reliable housing, and have transportation to treatment sessions.7 People who don’t need 24-hour supervision or medical detox, those who are stepping down from higher levels of care, such as inpatient rehab or a PHP, and those who are stepping up from standard outpatient care may be good candidates for IOPs.2, 6

How to Find an IOP Near Me

If you or a loved one are interested in starting the path to recovery, you can find an IOP in different ways, including:

  • Scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discuss your needs and get referrals.
  • Using our national rehabs directory to find treatment near you, or out of state. The search functionality allows you to filter the results by insurance, location, and type of care.
  • Contacting your insurance provider to check your coverage and inquire about treatment providers.

If you have questions, we’re here to help. Contact one of our caring admissions navigators at to learn more about intensive outpatient programs and other treatment options.

Does Health Insurance Cover Intensive Outpatient Programs?

If you have health insurance, your plan should provide coverage for IOPs, at least partially. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) states that substance use and mental health treatment are essential benefits, which means that insurance plans are required to provide some level of coverage for addiction treatment.8 As coverage can vary by plan, check your specific benefits with your insurance carrier.

If you don’t have insurance, or if your insurance doesn’t cover the full cost of treatment, going to rehab without insurance is possible. For example, some facilities offer free or low-cost treatment, payment plans, or sliding scales to help those in need.9 You can also contact your state agency to inquire about government-funded programs for people without insurance.8

American Addiction Centers (AAC) works with top insurance providers, which means treatment may be fully or partially covered. If you’re interested in an AAC facility, check if you can use health insurance coverage for rehab by filling out the short form below. It’s confidential and free, and there is no obligation to enter treatment.


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