Intensive Outpatient: What separates the Maryland Addiction Recovery Center IOP program from traditional IOPs

Treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders in an Intensive Outpatient program (or IOP) can either be a first step in treatment for someone suffering from addiction, a step up in intensity of programming for someone either in an outpatient group or seeing an individual outpatient therapist or psychiatrist or the next step in the treatment continuum or as aftercare for an individual after discharging from a inpatient rehab or residential treatment center. An IOP program is a treatment program designed to offer clinical services and structure for individuals living at home or perhaps in a structured sober living or recovery house. IOP programs allow patients to receive necessary clinical services while staying in their local community, establish a foundation for recovery and begin to live life with their family, careers or school while still supported by clinical treatment services. Intensive Outpatient (IOP) programs aid those in treatment to merge their everyday daily living while clinical treatment services that can include counseling, psychiatry, medication management, drug and alcohol monitoring, and case management.


Traditional intensive outpatient (IOP) addiction treatment programs do not offer the necessary therapeutic, medical and life skills services appropriate to treat addiction and support long-term recovery. In “normal” or traditional IOP programs, patients receive 9 clinical hours in group settings facilitated by drug and alcohol counselors. A typical IOP addiction treatment program will last for eight to twelve weeks and include three group therapy sessions for three hours three times a week. For many or most typical intensive outpatient addiction treatment programs, the clinical programming is comprised heavily of psychoeducational groups or lectures, where patients are taught useful information regarding drugs and alcohol, substance use disorder and coping mechanisms. This approach, while certainly valuable, does not go very far in treating addiction and mental health issues, addressing core issues or supporting sustainable addiction recovery. Sometimes in traditional IOP treatment programs or rehabs, patients are seen by a psychiatrist or a psych nurse practitioner for a short period of time (sometimes as little as 5 minutes) for a med management session and a prescription refill on necessary medication. In many traditional IOP programs, there are little to no individual therapy sessions and family therapy and support is often nonexistent.


At Maryland Addiction Recovery Center, our Intensive Outpatient (IOP) programs are structured differently, with a purposeful approach that offers comprehensive treatment services to treat the individual and family. So what sets that Maryland Addiction Recovery Center IOP program apart from traditional intensive outpatient addiction treatment programs?


  • Flexible schedules. We offer both daytime and evening IOP programs that can customize a treatment schedule around the patient’s life to meet their needs.
  • A true community integration continuum of care. The MARC intensive outpatient program begins at 5 days a week and slowly transitions a patient down in intensity based on the clinical services and support they need to reintegrate back into daily living to support a sustainable long-term recovery.
  • A highly educated and specialized clinical team. MARC’s clinical and medical team is comprised of Master’s Level therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and therapeutic assistants. All groups, individual and family therapy sessions are facilitated by at least one Master’s Level therapist and often cofacilitated.
  • Group Therapy. Every patient in the MARC intensive outpatient program engages in a minimum of 3 group sessions weekly, but most begin with 5 process group sessions weekly to get the maximum amount of support to create a successful recovery outcome.
  • Individual Therapy. Every patient in the MARC IOP program is assigned a primary therapist that works with them throughout their entire treatment experience and they receive at least one weekly therapy session with that primary therapist.
  • Psychiatry. The intensive outpatient (IOP) program at MARC includes weekly or as needed sessions with one of our psychiatrists that last between 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Family Involvement. Addiction is a family disease that impacts the entire family unit. Therefore, it is vital that a patient’s family is involved throughout the entire treatment process in intensive outpatient treatment. Family members (and other important people in a patient’s life) receive weekly therapy sessions, phone calls, updates, coaching and support as well as any necessary referrals to local community provides for their own needs.
  • Transparency is key in recovery and it is important that all interested parties are involved, engaged and informed regarding their loved one’s treatment. Therefore, MARC’s IOP program involves regular community and collaboration with referring professionals and facilities, a patient’s family and extended family, and any other interested parties or institutions in their life, which can include employers, HR professionals, unions or EAPs, college or academic professionals and/or community organizations.
  • Clinical Philosophy and Evidence-Based Clinical Practices. Any type of addiction treatment, including intensive outpatient treatment, must include aiding a patient in identifying the underlying causes and conditions of substance use disorder, including underlying core issues, attitudes, behaviors, mental health issues, trauma, etc. Therefore, the MARC IOP program is based on process-oriented group therapy to identify and overcome those issues to create positive change and coping mechanisms. This also includes social services and case management, to aid patients in finding purpose and direction regarding their academic life or their career, life skills coaching and overcoming everyday barriers that can often lead to stress and relapse. Additionally, MARC psychiatrists offer support for those that need it through psychotropic medications and Medication-Assistant (MAT) Treatment for opioid use disorders.


Not all intensive outpatient programs are the same and not all IOPs offer comprehensive enough services to truly treat addiction and support a sustainable recovery. The Maryland Addiction Recovery Center IOP offers the most comprehensive outpatient services in the Maryland and surrounding areas.


If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or dual diagnosis issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our website at


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About the Author

Zachary Snitzer

Zach Snitzer is the Corporate Director of Marketing at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center and is responsible for the business development, marketing, branding, public relations and social media strategies of the organization.