Medically Reviewed

6 Benefits of Attending an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

- 8 sections

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that requires professional treatment to recover. Unfortunately, many people avoid receiving the help they need. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 75% of people with an addiction do not receive treatment.[1]

One of the main reasons people avoid addiction treatment is because they cannot commit to living in a facility, taking off work, and paying for inpatient care. Thankfully, there is another option if this is something you are concerned with. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) offer the same intensity of treatment while allowing you to live at home.

When you attend an IOP, you will have time to care for outside responsibilities between treatment sessions. These programs also tend to be less expensive than inpatient rehab. There are many other benefits to attending an IOP as well.

What you will learn:

  • What an intensive outpatient program (IOP) is
  • What are the main 6 benefits of attending an IOP
  • How each benefit of IOP will impact your recovery from addiction

Six Benefits of an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs offer many of the same services as inpatient treatment centers. However, you are allowed to live at home and commute to treatment sessions 3 to 5 days a week.

This type of treatment is ideal for someone who needs intensive care but must continue working, going to school, or caring for their family. Since you will be living at home, you’ll have the chance to practice the coping skills you learn during IOP in the real world. This also means that you have access to family support, which can be vital to the addiction recovery process.

The top 6 benefits of attending an intensive outpatient program include:

1. High Level of Care While Living at Home

During IOP, you will receive the same services as inpatient programs, including individualized treatment planning, behavioral health services, and individual and group therapy sessions. Even better, all of these treatment techniques are available to you while you live in the comfort of your own home.

During an IOP, you will receive the following types of treatment:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Addiction education groups
  • Medically-managed addiction care
  • Nutritional counseling and holistic services
  • Support for mental health issues
  • Randomized drug and alcohol testing
  • Relapse prevention planning and aftercare services

2. Flexibility in Scheduling

Intensive outpatient programs are designed to help you recover from substance use disorders while understanding that you have outside obligations. As a result, these programs will work with you to create a schedule that allows you to attend work, school, or care for your children.

Depending on your needs, you will attend treatment sessions 3 to 5 days a week. Each session lasts a few hours, so you will still have time during that day to care for your responsibilities. In other words, IOP takes up about as much time as a part-time job.

3. Ideal for Receiving Family Support

It is common to rely on your family members or spouse during hard times. When you attend an inpatient treatment center, you will be separated from your family support system to some degree. If you are the type of person who needs your family’s assistance, intensive outpatient programs might be ideal.

During IOP, you will have the ability to live with your family during treatment. These programs also make family therapy a priority, helping you and your loved ones learn how to support one another better.

4. More Affordable Than Inpatient Rehab

Intensive outpatient programs do not have to charge you for meals, housing, or round-the-clock care. For this reason, they tend to be more affordable than inpatient rehab programs. If you have to pay out of pocket for your treatment, it might be wise to opt for an IOP instead.

Additionally, many IOPs take health insurance. If you have an insurance plan, you can work with your IOP to receive coverage from your insurance provider.

5. Access to a Recovery Community

While attending IOP, you can completely immerse yourself in the recovery community near you. For example, it is common to attend 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous during an IOP program.

These recovery support groups can provide you with peer support, help you develop healthy habits in sobriety, and teach you vital coping mechanisms to help you avoid relapse.

6. The Ability to Practice Your Skills

Lastly, during IOP you will be living at home and engaging in the outside world. This means you will face daily triggers outside of your recovery program. Thankfully, IOPs prepare you for this by teaching you healthy coping mechanisms and relapse prevention skills.

Since you have the opportunity to try out your coping skills during treatment, you will learn what works for you and what doesn’t. This better prepares you for living a sober life once your treatment program has ended.

Get Connected to an IOP in Memphis

If you or a loved one suffers from substance abuse, it’s time to seek professional help. PAX Memphis can connect you with an IOP program near you.

Contact us today for more information on how to get started in an intensive outpatient program.


  1. The National Institutes of Health (NIH): 10 percent of US adults have drug use disorder at some point in their lives