Finding a Good IOP for Schizophrenia

February 10, 2022 Robert Vickens

Schizophrenia is a spectrum disorder. Some people experience acute symptoms, while others experience mild to no symptoms. When you begin to notice signs of schizophrenia, it's best to reach out for help. I did, eventually, and I found an intensive outpatient program (IOP) that has helped me and that I enjoy.

You never have to feel ashamed or alone. Many people suffer in silence for far too long, and it causes a detriment in quality of life. Reaching out to a good psychologist or psychiatrist can make all the difference. If you find yourself having any schizophrenia symptoms (see here), remember there is help.

Before I Went to Intensive Outpatient Program Treatment with Schizophrenia

When I first began experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, I didn't reach out for help. I just thought, "This is normal now; this is my life."

Then, reality became a distant memory. I was submerged in my hallucinations (experiences that aren't real) and delusions (false beliefs). I had a roommate at the time, and we began to argue and fight. He knew this wasn't my regular character. After an altercation, he called the police, and they escorted me to the local hospital. This episode made it difficult for me to trust people.

While in the hospital, I was diagnosed as schizophrenic. They put me on medication to help relieve the symptoms, but I was reluctant to take it. I didn't trust the doctors or any of the staff members. Oddly enough, my saving grace came in the form of a hallucination. I heard my friend Amalia (who was deceased at the time) telling me that I needed to take my medication. I listened. Once I began taking medication, my encounters with the staff and doctors were positive. My hospital psychiatrist recommended I join the intensive outpatient program (IOP).

After my discharge, I listened to my psychiatrist and joined the IOP. I was nervous during my first visit, but one of the patients assured me that everyone was friendly and I had no reason to worry. After meeting my new team of therapists and my new psychiatrist, I was relieved. Everyone wanted to help; no one was there to hurt me in any way.

We would cry together, express our emotions, and talk about our daily life and ways to cope with our various mental illnesses during class. It was relaxing. Finding a constructive IOP was the pivotal moment in my schizophrenia treatment.

Finding a Good IOP When You Are Diagnosed with Schizophrenia

Finding a good IOP can help anyone who is suffering from their schizophrenia. It can turn suffering into thriving. Because of my IOP, I learned different tools to navigate my mental illness. I learned how to express myself to others about my condition. I knew that there was no reason to be afraid or ashamed. There are people out there who desperately want to help.

Finding your own IOP can feel like a daunting task, but it needn't be. If you are new to treatment, asking your primary care doctor or your psychologist/psychiatrist can be a great start. They can point you in the right direction for receiving treatment.

If you prefer to find one on your own, then a quick Internet search will yield good results. Make sure you do ample research by reading their website and searching for reviews. Patient reviews will be the best source of information regarding the quality of treatment.

You want to find an IOP that's right for you, so taking the time out to visit first can give you a good feel of the facility. Finding doctors you can trust is crucial. Talk to the therapists first and find out if it is the right fit for you. Some IOPs even offer transportation to and from the facility, which may be necessary if mobility is an issue. Next, check with your insurance and make sure the treatment is covered. If not, call the doctors and determine if they accept Medicare or Medicaid.

If insurance is an issue, joining the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) can help. They host regular meetings and offer tools to cope with living with mental illness.

APA Reference
Vickens, R. (2022, February 10). Finding a Good IOP for Schizophrenia, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Robert Vickens

Robert has written the book DARCCI Diaries: A True Tale of Recovery on his journey through the South Florida recovery system and the pitfalls within the system.

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