Treatment is an essential part of sobriety when dealing with addiction. Regardless of the substance used, getting help is part of the process. Addiction claims the lives of more than 70,000 Americans each year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Nearly half of all adults in the United States (46%) have dealt with a family member or loved one who struggled with substance abuse. With addiction such an integrated part of the social fabric of the United States, flexible treatment options are needed to help people on the road to sobriety.

Intensive outpatient programs offer those with addiction the option to continue most normal daily activities while also working on sober living. By combining several treatment options and offering program members the option to continue working, IOP is often the only way to help people make long-term changes.

What Is Outpatient Addiction Treatment?

Inpatient addiction treatment programs have some of the highest long-term success rates for addiction treatment. Unfortunately, not every patient is willing or able to commit to several weeks without much access to the outside world. Some people with addictions have families to support or lack health insurance coverage that can mitigate the cost of an inpatient program.

When inpatient care is available, treatment doesn’t suddenly cease at the end of the program. Many people who struggle with addiction do better with long-term support systems in place. Intensive outpatient treatment is one way to continue offering help to those who need it most.

Ultimately, outpatient treatment is offered as either an alternative to an inpatient option or as a continuing program after a patient has completed an inpatient program.

Outpatient substance abuse treatment comes in several varieties. Intensive outpatient programs may also be known as partial hospitalization programs. Partial hospitalization can include an initial medical detox for those who need it, followed by 4 to 6 hours of psychiatric care delivered 3 to 5 days each week.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse ties successful recovery programs directly to the length of treatment programs. In general, participants in a recovery program should plan to continue treatment for a minimum of 90 days. Outpatient alcohol treatment is one of the most successful options, but outpatient treatment programs may be less effective for those with an opioid addiction.

IOP is generally offered for a minimum of 90 days instead of the 28 days of an inpatient program. However, many patients benefit from much longer treatment programs lasting up to a year or more.

During IOP, patients can still go to work, spend time with their families and meet social commitments. Patients visit their treatment center several times a week on a schedule that works for them. This flexibility in treatment lets patients go through rehabilitation programs without negatively impacting other areas of their life.

Importance of Utilizing an Outpatient Program

Because treatment length is one of the most important factors in determining patient outcomes, an outpatient program is a crucial ingredient for long-term sobriety. Inpatient programs have a lot to offer, but the cost makes them an inefficient and expensive option for long-term care. Outpatient recovery programs offer the flexibility and affordability necessary for most people struggling with addiction.

An outpatient program often combines group therapy, individual therapy and other treatments such as physical or occupational therapy. By offering all types of rehabilitation through a single program, Sunlight Recovery can help patients treat multiple issues through a single outpatient program.

The more support someone has after starting recovery, the more likely they are to continue with sobriety after completing a treatment program. Like other chronic illnesses, relapse does occur, but many people report staying sober for months or years after completing an outpatient program.

What Makes an Outpatient Program Effective?

What makes an outpatient program effective? Time. The more time a patient spends on treatment, the more likely they are to be successful after treatment ends. Unfortunately, simple isn’t the same as easy.

Committing to a program that lasts for months is incredibly challenging — particularly once a patient starts to feel better. As the treatment program begins to show results, many patients start to think about ending their time commitment early. The best programs, such as the one offered by Sunlight Recovery, include patient engagement options that keep people coming back.

Many IOP options also include temporary housing referrals and other programs to help patients get back on their feet. Employment assistance and volunteer organizations may work in tandem with treatment programs to give patients a network of support.

Flexibility is the hallmark of a good intensive outpatient program. Admitting to the problem and seeking help is hard. When help is only available during a limited window, that makes things even more difficult. By offering nighttime and weekend treatment programs in addition to therapy during normal business hours, IOP can be highly effective for those who need help.

How to Get Started and Seek Outpatient Treatment

When you or a loved one are ready to get help, the first step is often a call to your insurance company. Under current laws, most health insurance plans are required to cover addiction recovery programs. If an inpatient program doesn’t fit with your lifestyle or you’ve completed one and are looking for continuing care, Sunlight Recovery offers IOP that can help you on the road to long-term sobriety.

Insurance companies may have a list of covered providers for rehabilitation. When seeking preauthorization for treatment, there may be a waiting list for some programs, particularly inpatient options. An intensive outpatient program is often available immediately and affordably.

Find out what the out-of-pocket costs for care will be ahead of time and be prepared for any co-pays related to your treatment. For those without health insurance, there may be national or state-sponsored programs available in your area for a sliding-scale fee.

Many people who struggle with addiction may also be eligible for Medicaid. Low-income earners who have a tough time maintaining employment can often qualify for Medicaid programs. Medicaid covers all the costs associated with drug treatment programs, so if you qualify, you can find treatment with no out-of-pocket costs.

Long-term outpatient programs and support groups may be available for free through a variety of organizations. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are two organizations that offer long-term support for those who have completed treatment and transitioned back into normal life.

If you or a loved one are ready to get help and start treatment for your addiction, reach out to one of the caring, friendly intake professionals at Sunlight Recovery. We can help you navigate insurance issues and start treatment quickly.