Intensive Outpatient Rehab in Sacramento, CA

Have you been considering a drug treatment program, but aren’t sure if inpatient or outpatient is the right choice for you? With so many options for treatment now available, choosing the right program can be critical in your path to recovery. It is important that you get the right information to make sure this first step is one that is headed in a positive direction. Determining whether an inpatient or outpatient program is best suited to your needs can be a vital part of the process.

Outpatient rehab in Sacramento, CA has been growing in popularity in recent years. In addition to being less expensive overall, it also offers you greater flexible in dealing with an addiction problem. Centers offering Intensive Outpatient Rehab, usually simply referred to as IOP, give you many of the benefits of inpatient treatment, while not requiring that you be totally removed from the home environment.

What is Intensive Outpatient Rehab?

Depending on your circumstances, the level of addiction, and the addictive substance involved, medical professionals sometimes recommend IOP as a rehab option. IOP can either be followed as its own treatment protocol, or as ongoing care following a period of inpatient detox.

IOP, however, should not be viewed as a watered-down version of therapy. As the name implies, it is still an intensive program. The treatment is group-focused, but also includes one-on-one sessions with a therapist. Typically, these will occur on a weekly basis, but may vary according to the program and the patient.

This can be a very beneficial and useful recovery program for many. The advantages of being able to remain in a comfortable environment, surrounded by trusted friends and loved ones, can be a tremendous asset.

It can also be important that the addicted person faces real world challenges to remaining sober, once the initial detox has been completed. IOP affords the opportunity to strengthen recovery skills in a somewhat uncontrolled environment, deal with urges and cravings, and yet still have a support system in place to assist you with the particularly tall hurdles.

Outpatient treatment can potentially be a very rewarding and positive recovery experience. Many come to appreciate aspects of their surroundings that they had taken for granted while suffering from addiction. Just as critical, however, will be avoiding the pitfalls of the familiar environment that might have led to the addiction in the first place.

IOP Program Duration

In most cases outpatient rehab in Sacramento’s treatment centers is recommended to last for at least 90-days. This should be regarded as the minimum. Frequently outpatient treatment is extensive due to the fact that you are more likely to encounter environmental conditions that can lead to relapse. It should, therefore, be viewed as a process of gradually increasing freedoms and responsibilities.

Initially, most intensive outpatient programs will consist of 9 therapeutic hours per week. At some point, usually in the range of 12-16 weeks, the therapy may begin to scale back. It will depend on the success of the patient and how well the treatment is progressing. In that sense, there is some flexibility in IOP that one does not necessarily find in the more rigidly structured inpatient therapy.

Group sessions can also vary from program to program. Most commonly there will be 3 sessions per week that last anywhere from 2-4 hours. It is not unusual, however, for meetings to occur 5 nights a week. Others may have an hourly requirement in the range of 20 to 30 per week.

Whatever the protocol, IOP is going to represent a significant and ongoing investment of time in order to achieve a full recovery. You or your loved one should be prepared to make a commitment to an extended recovery process.


The Stages of IOP

IOP can be thought of as involving two main stages. The first is the initiation phase, which can be as short as a couple of days, but can also last as long as a few weeks to complete. In many ways, this is also the most critical time in the recovery process, because it is when the highest dropout rate is encountered.

There are certain goals that must be achieved in order to complete this first stage:


Defining treatment goals


Outlining responsibilities


Maintaining sobriety


Successful completion of drug tests


Resolving any major crises that might be hampering the recovery process


Initiating the patient-counselor relationship


Developing a treatment plan that will be the most effective for that particular patient

Once these criteria have been met, you will be ready to move on to the second phase of the treatment. This stage will last for a minimum of 6-weeks, but can also be as long as 12-weeks. Services offered through outpatient rehab facilities in Sacramento will include treatments such as educational forums, group therapy, family counseling as well as one-on-one psychiatric care.

The purpose of these services is to help you develop a number of recovery skills that can be used to handle a variety of real world challenges. Patients learn to address the underlying causes of their addiction and the mechanisms that can trigger a relapse. Once this foundation is established, you can then begin building a substance-free lifestyle and moving forward.

As with the first stage of recovery, the second stage is based upon achieving specific goals:


Continuous, total sobriety


Replacing addictive behaviors and activities with drug-free lifestyle choices


Identifying triggers and developing strategies to prevent relapse


Identifying core personal problems and working toward their resolution


Successfully implementing behavioral changes


Continued participation in a support environment

Pros and Cons of IOP

The pros and cons of any type of addiction treatment can be somewhat subjective. There are many factors that go into determining whether or not a protocol will be effective. Always bear in mind that there are many different treatments that can work for an individual, but the best approach to addiction treatment is identifying the process that is going to be optimal for your successful recovery.

With that said, here are some the issues and benefits that you might encounter with IOP.



Shorter duration of recovery for highly motivated patients


Strengthening recovery skills with real world challenges


Rigidity of inpatient treatment may be a hindrance to some



Addicts may continue living in an environment that fostered addictive behavior


Outpatient may not provide sufficient time to master recovery skills


Some patients need a higher degree of uniformity to stay with a program

IOP treatments are shorter in duration than many inpatient programs. This can be good if you are an addict that is highly dedicated, and motivated to get clean. It offers patients with a high level of commitment the chance to quickly develop the strategies and skills necessary for remaining sober. It also means that their addiction is not going to unnecessarily consume even more of their lives.

On the flip side, if an addict is entering outpatient rehab before truly recognizing the difficulties of remaining sober, or has engaged in some self-deception about his or her level addiction, then the shorter duration may end up working to the patient’s detriment. The patient may leave the program before being fully equipped to maintain a sober lifestyle over the long term.

During inpatient treatment, the patient will also be receiving 24-hour supervision by a professional staff. This can be a huge advantage in the recovery process. It is particularly true in the beginning stages of treatment, where physical cravings and withdrawal symptoms are at their greatest degree of intensity. It is also during this time that an actual medical emergency can arise due to the withdrawal process.

In addition, being in an inpatient treatment facility is a controlled environment where you will interact exclusively with those facing the same problem, or those who are working to help you recover. This is not the case in outpatient and sometimes it is the toxic home environment that has led to the addiction in the first place.

successful recovery

However, if an addict can develop the proper recovery skills and strategies on an outpatient basis and in a difficult real-world environment, those skills are going to be much more finely honed than those of an addict stepping back into the outside world following an inpatient program.

Another potential advantage of outpatient recovery is that many patients simply do not respond to the rigorous structure of inpatient programs. Sometimes inpatients become too fixated on the fact that every moment of their day is being dictated to them. As a result, they end up rebelling against the structure, rather than focusing on their recovery. They come to see the staff as their oppressors, rather than those who are helping to overcome their addiction.

When it comes to outpatient programs, if the patient is able to steer clear of the environment that contributed to the addiction in the first place, then these can make good sense both financially and in terms of beginning a successful recovery. However, it might not be the best route for everyone. It is critical to closely evaluate your individual situation before making a commitment to either inpatient or outpatient treatment.

successful recovery

In Closing

Outpatient rehab in the Sacramento, CA area offers many choices that can be a pathway to overcoming addiction. Outpatient treatment also offers flexibility that allows patients to continue on in a fairly normal manner, while at the same time receiving the treatment they need.

There is also the cost factor to weigh when considering any type of rehabilitation. Often, outpatient programs can make much greater economic sense. It is important, however, that economics not be the sole guiding factor in your decision-making process. The number one priority must be overcoming the addiction and choosing a path with the highest likelihood of a successful outcome.

If you are considering outpatient treatment, take a critical and honest assessment of your addiction problem. Is your current environment conducive to success? Are you able to handle the distractions and temptations that are a part of everyday life? Can you handle the lack of a rigid and enforced schedule and still remain dedicated to your recovery?

Questions like these should be a jumping off point for you when deciding. If you can honestly answer yes to them, then you may want to discuss with an addiction treatment specialist if an outpatient program is right for you.

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