What is Better, an IOP or Residential Rehab Program?

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If you or someone you know needs treatment for substance abuse, you’ll find that there are many different options to choose from. Understanding these options and your own unique situation is the key to picking the best type of substance abuse support for you.

We’ve put together this blog post to give you a better understanding of two of the most popular types of treatment for substance abuse — residential rehab and intensive outpatient programs. Keep reading to find the information you need to pick between these two choices.

Residential Rehab

What it is

Residential rehab involves living in a substance abuse treatment center for a pre-determined number of days. The most popular timeframes for this option are 30, 60, and 90 days.

In the average residential rehab program, an individual will receive several different types of care. The most important of these is individual therapy. This direct work with a trained mental health professional is the main way that a person will discover and resolve the root causes of their substance abuse problem.

On top of that, people in residential rehab programs may also participate in things like:

  • Group therapy
  • 12-step meetings (or non-12-step meetings, depending on the facility’s philosophy)
  • Health and wellness classes
  • Outdoor outings
  • Group exercise
  • And more

Every facility has its own philosophy and that influences the type of care that they provide alongside 1-on-1 therapy. This is why it’s important to do your research and think carefully about what you need before choosing a residential rehab program.

Who should pursue it

Residential treatment centers tend to have strict guidelines for what patients can and can’t do during their stays. They also usually provide 24/7 support to help residents resolve their problems no matter when they occur. The result of this is a treatment option that’s stricter than others but also more thorough.

Additionally, it’s much more difficult to relapse while staying in a residential rehab center because a patient isn’t spending time in the environment they lived in while struggling with their substance abuse problem.

This means that a residential rehab program could be a good choice for you if you’re looking for a thorough, strict, and comprehensive type of care that gives you the best chance of maintaining your sobriety.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

What it is

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are very similar to residential rehab programs but with a key difference. Someone who signs up for an IOP is able to leave the treatment center at night to sleep in their own bed.

Like residential rehab programs, IOPs involve working individually with a therapist to discover and address the root causes of a person’s addiction. They also may involve many supplementary types of treatment, such as those featured on the list in the previous section.

Who should pursue it

An IOP is a better option for someone who is looking for a more flexible treatment plan. There’s a great deal of variety from treatment center to treatment center when it comes to the intensity of IOPs. Patients have the ability to pick a plan that allows them to maintain their obligations at home and sometimes even at work.

However, the freedom and flexibility that IOPs offer can also be a downside of this option. The risk of relapse becomes higher when a person has the freedom to see and communicate with whoever they want throughout the duration of their treatment.

So if you trust yourself with the additional freedom offered by IOPs, they can be a great option. But if you have an external situation that you think would tempt you to relapse, then this may not be the best choice for your recovery.

The Bottom Line: What’s Better, an IOP or a Residential Rehab Program?

Both IOPs and residential rehab programs can help an individual recover from substance abuse. However, for the average person who wants to maximize their recovery, residential rehab is the better option.

Residential rehab wins out because of its comprehensiveness. Patients who participate in this choice have a lower risk of relapse and a higher chance of completing their treatment successfully.

That being said, IOPs are still absolutely a valid choice. You just need to come up with a strategy for managing the additional temptation that they offer. And, for some people, the heightened risk of relapse won’t be enough to outweigh the added freedom of the choice.

Zoe Behavioral Health Can Help You Choose

If you’re struggling to choose between these two options, get in touch with Zoe Behavioral Health. Our experts are standing by to answer your questions and to provide you with a personalized treatment recommendation based on your unique factors.