Participating in IOP at The Recovery Village Atlanta can equip you with the skills needed to manage drug use triggers and recover from addiction.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are one of several different types of addiction treatment offered at Georgia rehab facilities like The Recovery Village Atlanta. 

Our IOP gives you access to a variety of services to help you recover from drug and alcohol addiction. Services include individual and group counseling, medication management, support group meetings, case management and relapse prevention planning.

What Is IOP?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines IOP as any level of treatment that offers nine to 19 hours of services per week. Services are provided on an outpatient basis, meaning patients attend appointments and group meetings at a treatment center but return home at night.

An IOP provides a structured treatment program while still allowing patients to live in the community. Programs are usually offered during the daytime as well as in the evening for people who have work and family obligations. 

IOP Level of Care

An IOP is a step above standard outpatient care but is at a lower level than partial hospitalization or residential treatment. IOPs offer many of the same services as standard outpatient programs, but programming tends to be more structured, and patients spend more time each week in a treatment center. 


Like a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an IOP falls within the outpatient level of care. Patients in PHPs have the option to return home each night or live onsite at the treatment facility, while those in IOPs generally live offsite. Another difference with IOP vs. PHP is that PHP offers 20 or more hours of service per week, making these programs even more structured and in-depth than IOP. For example, patients in PHP may attend treatment for five hours per day from Monday through Friday. 

In both these programs, patients may participate in individual and group counseling, support groups, family therapy, medication-assisted treatment. These programs may also provide access to onsite medical and laboratory services. However, those staying onsite during their PHP may also have access to recreational therapies offered to clients living onsite. 

IOP vs. Outpatient 

The difference between IOP vs. outpatient care is that standard outpatient treatment provides under nine hours of service per week. In outpatient settings, patients have access to similar services to those offered in IOP, but there is typically less structure. Patients may schedule one or two counseling sessions per week, and these sessions can be provided in a variety of settings, including primary care clinics and counseling agencies. IOPs, on the other hand, are typically offered through specialty addiction treatment facilities. 

IOP Therapies

IOPs usually offer individual, group and family therapies to help clients achieve their treatment goals. Therapy sessions can help people develop the motivation to change their behaviors, learn skills to resist drug cravings, strengthen their problem-solving abilities and improve relationships. 

There are multiple therapeutic techniques that can be used in IOP. One type of therapy that has been found to be beneficial for treating addiction, especially when combined with medication, is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This modality teaches people to change unhelpful thinking patterns in order to modify their feelings and behaviors. Therapies like motivational enhancement therapy are also useful. 

Other IOP Program Features 

Therapy is an important part of addiction treatment, but IOPs offer additional services to meet the needs of people recovering from addiction.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) refers to using a combination of counseling and medication in the treatment of addiction. MAT is often utilized to treat opioid addiction, but it can also be used to treat people with an alcohol use disorder. Medications used in MAT can relieve drug cravings and stabilize brain chemistry to help people decrease drug and alcohol misuse and stay in treatment. 

Medication Management

About half of people who have a substance use disorder will also experience a mental illness like anxiety or depression at some point during their lives, called a co-occurring mental health disorder. Some people with mental health conditions require medication to manage their symptoms. IOPs offer medication management services to monitor side effects and ensure that patients are getting the most benefit from their prescriptions. 

Recreational Therapy

IOPs may offer recreational therapies like yoga classes, painting or exercise groups to help patients develop ways to manage stress and spend free time without turning to drugs or alcohol. These therapies can be an important part of relapse prevention. 

Peer Support

Peer support groups allow individuals to establish relationships with others who are experiencing the challenges associated with recovery. In peer support meetings, participants can share their experiences, learn from others and develop new coping strategies. Research shows that these groups can keep people engaged in treatment, reduce substance misuse and help people manage their cravings. 

12-Step Programs 

IOPs may offer 12-step groups as a part of the treatment process. The 12-step program is often associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, and it requires participants to work through various steps during their recovery journey. In 12-step groups, patients work through the steps together and discuss their progress in treatment. 

Sober Living Strategies

Through psychoeducational groups, IOPs can teach sober living strategies that help people manage cravings and avoid triggers for drug and alcohol use. These groups can also teach patients skills required for sober living, which can include maintaining employment, managing finances and practicing self-care. Relapse prevention planning and organizing aftercare support are also key parts of this program. 

How Long Is IOP Treatment?

The length of IOP treatment can vary based on a patient’s needs and the offerings at the specific treatment center they choose. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends that treatment should last for at least three months, as participating for a shorter amount of time is typically not effective. That being said, each person will progress through IOP treatment at their own pace, and addiction treatment professionals can help determine the best treatment plan. 

How Much Does IOP Treatment Cost?

The cost of IOP will depend on where you go for treatment, how long you spend in IOP and the type of services you receive. A recent study that evaluated the cost of IOP for opioid addiction found that the average cost was $3,148 per month at the start of treatment. Your costs may be more or less depending upon where you receive treatment. For example, upscale facilities with luxurious amenities will come with a higher cost than basic facilities. 

Is IOP Treatment Covered by Insurance?

Many private insurance providers cover addiction treatment services, which can offset some or all of the costs of IOP. According to stipulations of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid programs must cover addiction treatment as essential benefits; however, not all facilities accept this government-provided health insurance. If you’d like to use insurance to lower your out-of-pocket costs for IOP, you can verify your benefits with your insurance provider. You can also contact a treatment facility like The Recovery Village Atlanta to confirm that your insurance is accepted. 

IOP Programs Near Me

If you’re looking for Georgia-based IOPs, The Recovery Village Atlanta offers this level of care as a part of our full continuum of addiction treatment services. In addition to IOP, we can provide medical detox, inpatient treatment, PHP, standard outpatient care and aftercare programming.

Our treatment center is a part of The Recovery Village network, which offers comprehensive addiction treatment programs across the country. Our centers are known for providing evidence-based treatment and individualized treatment plans, and each of our facilities is accredited by at least one of the nation’s most prominent accrediting bodies, so you can be sure you’re getting quality care. 

Intensive Outpatient Programs at The Recovery Village Atlanta

If you or a loved one is in need of an IOP, The Recovery Village Atlanta is here to help. Give our admissions team a call today to get your questions answered, verify your insurance or begin the admissions process. 

The Recovery Village - Atlanta
By – The Recovery Village Atlanta
The Recovery Village Atlanta builds tailored treatment plans with an understanding that addiction is a mental health disorder and a chronic disease. Read more
Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more
Medically Reviewed By – Jenni Jacobsen, LSW
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker through the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. She has seven years of experience working in the social work field, working with clients with addiction-related and mental health diagnoses. Read more

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village Atlanta aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.