How To Improve Your Mental Health With IOP Therapy

The intensive outpatient program (IOP) is one of the most innovative treatments available to help individuals with mental health issues.

Researched, written by
Updated on April 26, 2023

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Experts agree that good mental health is one of the main factors towards an individual’s well-being. At least one in five adults has had mental health problems in the United States alone.

Besides genetics, factors such as the loss of a loved one, isolation, and many others have affected the mental well-being of individuals. To help people with mental issues, professionals are modifying the treatments and interventions available to adapt to the needs of their patients.


How To Improve Your Mental Health With IOP Therapy


What Is IOP Therapy?


The intensive outpatient program (IOP) is one of the most innovative treatments available to help individuals with mental health issues. It’s a treatment and support program widely used to treat bipolar disorders, self-harm, drug dependency, depression, and even eating disorders.

It doesn’t need the admission of an individual to a facility and doesn’t stop the person from doing their normal day-to-day activities. The treatment is so flexible that there are even virtual options for IOP therapy, providing help to those who don’t want to go outside their homes or cannot do so.

The IOP was available around the early ’90s because the cost of in-patient care of mentally ill patients was getting higher. It became a substitute for hospitalization and provided a cheaper alternative for individuals who wanted to seek help but didn’t want to be kept away from society.

Going with their normal day-to-day activities also helped patients maintain and improve their mental health, together with the interventions provided. It became a win-win situation for both patients and healthcare providers in the long run.


How Does It Work?


Treating a mental problem is the same as the treatments for a physical illness. There’s no shortcut to the healing process, and you have to treat it continuously until it’s healed. There are two types of care available for patients who have mental health issues, namely:

  • Inpatient Care 

In-patient care refers to the care of mentally ill patients inside an institution or facility. It’s best for patients who need to keep themselves away from things that’ll trigger them.

Most admitted patients are also those who need to assure their safety, especially from dangers coming from others or even themselves. It’s also highly recommended for those who’d need constant surveillance either because of detoxification from a substance or if they have other illnesses.

  • Outpatient Care

Mental health facilities provide outpatient care through various treatment programs given to patients after being screened and assessed by professionals. Instead of staying inside a facility, patients need to consistently attend the therapy sessions with counselors and their support groups as part of the treatment plan.

And because it’s intensive, the program is organized to provide a substantial impact on the patients. It usually happens around three to five times a week, and some institutions can also offer night shifts to accommodate those who work all day. Most institutions also make use of EHR software for mental health therapy to keep track of the progress of each patient, which will also be easily accessible to you in case it’s needed in the future. This will typically include all your basic information, along with lab test results, diagnosis, health history, and other instructions that you may need to follow during your treatment.

The frequency and intensity of the program rely on the patient’s needs. The interventions and treatments are reduced when patients have progressed so that their dependence on it minimizes itself until they can function well without it.

In cases where they go back to their previous behaviors, the program may intensify again depending on the healthcare provider’s assessment. Mental health issues last a lifetime, and it’s common for patients to make it a life-long habit to talk to professionals or their support groups.


What Are the Benefits?


For people with mental health disorders, it’s not easy to retain treatment. If you’re inside a mental health facility, you won’t be able to contact your loved ones or even talk to them anytime you want to. For IOP, you and your loved ones can keep in touch and speak during the whole process.

Another good thing about IOPs is that you don’t have to deal with severe transition episodes. When you’re in a facility, you don’t experience triggers, and when you get out, you might be overwhelmed. With IOP, you’re not isolating yourself from anything, and you’re able to receive treatment while being exposed to things that might set off your mental health issues.

When you’re in an IOP, you can interact with peers who are also recovering from other mental health problems. It’s generally known as group therapy, and it helps individuals gain support from other people who can understand them and know the struggles that come with their illnesses. It’s a great way to help those who have trouble sharing with other people, as it may reduce their anxiety of being judged.




Intensive outpatient programs are a great way of treating mental health issues. Patients can continue with their everyday lives and continue working while receiving interventions and support. It might not be the ideal setup for everyone, though, as some patients might need in-patient care.

But for those who can have outpatient programs, the treatment allows them to continue to live their lives and battle their mental issues at the same time. In the long run, the goal of these interventions is to help people overcome the hardships of living with a mental health issue and promote the betterment of their overall well-being.

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