Addiction treatment and dual diagnosis treatment for mental health and substance abuse can be overwhelming. Finding the best quality care for you or your loved one can be difficult. Here in Maryland, whether locally here in Towson in Baltimore County or surrounding areas such as Harford County or Howard County, there are many different IOP’s to choose from. So how do you know that an outpatient drug treatment center is right for you or your loved one?


First, ask questions. When searching for intensive outpatient treatment in Maryland, call each provider and ask questions. Do not just decide that the first number you call is the best place to go for IOP addiction treatment. Ask them about their programs. Ask what happens on a daily basis and what type of schedule you or your loved one can expect. Ask them about their clinical philosophy: How do they approach the disease of addiction and how do they treat it? Ask about what type of approach is taken during treatment? Every intensive outpatient treatment center will use buzzwords like “patient-centered” or “individualized treatment”, so inquire about what that actually means.


Second, make sure the IOP treatment program is comprehensive. Remember, IOP programs in the state of Maryland must perform at least 9 hours of treatment to qualify as an intensive outpatient treatment program. However, that 9 hours is the minimum, so make sure to find out how comprehensive the program is as a whole. Does it offer both group therapy and individual therapy? This is vitally important, because different issues are discussed in each and having a therapeutic trust that occurs during individual therapy sessions in IOP will help support and facilitate the necessary process of recovery. Ask about the IOP’s family program. Does the intensive outpatient offer true family treatment or simply some family education? Does the IOP addiction treatment program include the family members in the treatment process? Why is this important? Because if addiction is a family disease then the treatment program should be helping to treat the entire family unit, not just the addict or alcoholic. Families need help and guidance and coaching in creating healthy boundaries with the client in need and it is the role of the intensive outpatient treatment provider to aid the family in doing so.


Third, ask about the treatment approach. Many of the intensive outpatient treatment centers in Maryland or the IOP treatment programs in Baltimore are medical models, meaning they subscribe to the approach of medication maintenance programs. Much of the core principals are guided by the beliefs that patients should be on medications such as methadone or Suboxone for long-term periods of time (or even forever.) However, there are also abstinence-based, recovery-oriented IOP’s that believe anyone can be free from the shackles of addiction if they are able to deal with the underlying causes and conditions that drove them towards addiction in the first place. Find out the philosophy of the program.


It is important to understand that intensive outpatient drug treatment was never meant to act as primary treatment. Many of the marketing or selling points of outpatient treatment programs are based on the idea that “you don’t need to go away to get treatment” or “stay at home, keep your job and still get treatment for your addiction”. However, these are just ways to market programs to a population that will naturally take the easier and softer way every time. Very few people suffering from addiction WANT to go away to treatment for 28 days or longer. No person ever WANTS to tell their job they have an addiction and need help. However, as much as an intensive outpatient wants to sell themselves a “primary treatment”, they are not. Think of addiction as any other disease. The initial 28 days inpatient or residential treatment stay at a typical rehab is your “acute treatment”. Just like many other diseases, long-term extended care is necessary. So IOP or outpatient treatment is your extended care or follow up care after acute care in rehab. So any IOP in Maryland that promotes themselves as the alternative to inpatient or residential treatment should be questioned by anyone speaking to them. Are they telling me I can do this without inpatient treatment just to get me through the door? Intensive outpatient addiction treatment can be tried by some whose life circumstances truly make it almost impossible for them to go away to rehab for 30 days, but typically IOP drug treatment is meant to be an after care, extended care treatment service for those discharging from inpatient or in need of a higher level of care than just individual therapy.


So remember, when choosing an intensive outpatient treatment center in Maryland or IOP addiction treatment in Baltimore County, make sure to 1) ask questions, 2) make sure the treatment program is comprehensive and 3) find out about the treatment approach and philosophy.


If you or someone you know is in need of help because of drug and/or alcohol abuse or addiction, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis substance abuse treatment in the Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia 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 Contact us today.

For more information on all of our drug addiction and alcohol addiction services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at

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