top of page

Ask a Counselor: What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

By Addiction Policy Forum

In intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), patients can receive between nine-to-19 hours of treatment services per week. IOPs are typically for stabilized patients and are a step down from residential or partial hospitalization programs (PHPs). It’s not uncommon for a patient to receive medication-assisted treatment from an opioid treatment program (OTP) while receiving behavioral healthcare from an IOP.

An important component of an IOP is to help the patient to develop healthy coping strategies. These strategies will assist the patient in strengthening their recovery, health, and wellbeing. The length of participation in an IOP depends on the severity of an individual’s substance use disorder and their individualized treatment plan. There are times, such as after a recurrence of use, when a patient may need to increase their treatment to a higher level of care. It’s important that the patient and care team frequently assess the patient’s progress to ensure the level of care is appropriate, with optimal wraparound recovery supports in place.

For more information about substance use disorder treatment, please visit


Addiction Policy Forum is a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating addiction as a major health problem. Our national headquarters is located in Washington, DC with resources and services in every state.


bottom of page