There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to getting mental health treatment. There is a wide range of therapies, medications, and settings that can be used solo or combined with each other in order to develop the best plan for each individual seeking treatment. Some people may just need regular therapy sessions while other people might need treatment options that are more intense. Intensive outpatient programs might be one of those options. But how does it work and which mental health conditions does it work best on?

What Is IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program)?

An IOP is a structured treatment program, often held at a psychiatric treatment center, that provides mental health services to those who require intense treatment but don’t need the constant supervision that comes with inpatient treatment. It can be considered a more holistic approach that allows a patient to receive treatment but still carry on with their daily lives.

What Mental Health Conditions Is IOP Used To Treat?

IOPs are commonly used for moderate to severe mental health issues, mainly the following five:

IOPs typically last between eight to twelve weeks, but they can be modified to the needs of each individual patient.

There is a wide range of therapies and treatments that are provided by IOPs, and can be combined to create a comprehensive treatment program.

Individual Therapy

This involves regular one-on-one therapy sessions with a mental health professional. In these sessions, specific mental health concerns are addressed and underlying issues are discussed. The mental health professional helps the person to create personalized treatment goals that they can work towards during therapy.

Group Therapy

Group therapy offers an individual the opportunity to speak about their experiences in a group setting, with other individuals who are facing similar challenges. This establishes that the individual is not alone and can help them to build the support structure that they need during their road to recovery.

Management Of Medication

Prescription medications may be prescribed to the patient and provided to them on a regular basis. By monitoring the side effects, these medications can be adjusted to find the right dosage that works best for the individual so that their recovery feels like they’re making progress.


Information about mental health conditions, their symptoms, treatment options, and strategies are provided to each patient, as well as to their loved ones and friends. These efforts to educate can help to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health treatment so that they are not embarrassed about attending a treatment program.

Aftercare Planning

Treatment should not end just because a person has successfully accomplished their goals while in treatment. Once a person leaves, it can be easy for them to relapse because they no longer have the structure that the program provided. That is why aftercare is important to ensure that they stick to those goals.

If you feel as if an IOP might be right for your needs, or the needs of a close friend or loved one, contact a mental health professional immediately to get started with the recovery process.