Substance abuse treatment programs vary based on an individual’s needs and the severity of their addiction. Some people may complete treatment on an outpatient basis, while others may need more intensive care, such as residential treatment. A team of addiction professionals can work with an individual to determine which substance abuse treatment program is best for them.
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Types of Addiction Treatment Programs
There are multiple types of addiction treatment programs. Some people may pass through various phases of treatment, whereas others may only require one or two levels of care.
A medical detox program is the first step for someone who is beginning treatment for a severe addiction to substances like heroin, alcohol or benzodiazepines. In medical detox, patients are supervised by trained health professionals who can monitor symptoms and ensure that patients remain safe while withdrawing from drugs or alcohol.
In a medical detox program, staff can provide medications to ease the discomfort of withdrawal as drugs and alcohol are leaving the body. For example, experts report that people who are withdrawing from heroin may take lofexidine to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. People may also take buprenorphine or methadone during medical detox. It’s important to keep in mind that medication is only used during withdrawal when clinically cleared by a medical professional.
Medications can be used during the withdrawal process in medical detox, and they can also be a part of an ongoing medication-assisted treatment program. Medication-assisted treatment involves using medications in tandem with counseling during the recovery process.
Medication-assisted treatment is typically used to treat addictions to illicit opioids, prescription opioids and alcohol. Medications can help control cravings and stabilize both brain chemistry and bodily functioning. According to research, medication-assisted treatment can help people stay in treatment, reduce opiate abuse, increase survival rates and decrease criminal activity. Much like with medical detox, methadone and buprenorphine are commonly prescribed in medication-assisted treatments for opioid addiction. Disulfiram and acamprosate may be used for the treatment of alcohol abuse.
Inpatient rehab is typically provided in a hospital or a clinic that specializes in inpatient treatment. In this type of treatment setting, medical professionals supervise patients and have 24-hour access to nurses. People participating in inpatient treatment often receive medications and counseling services and participate in group therapy.
Inpatient treatment typically involves ongoing assessment of the addiction and monitoring of goals. Once a patient has completed inpatient treatment, staff create a discharge plan and the patient is moved to another treatment setting, such as ongoing outpatient therapy.
Residential rehab is similar to inpatient treatment but is typically longer-lasting. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), residential services usually occur outside of a hospital setting, meaning residential facilities provide more of a home-like environment. People receiving residential care reside at the treatment facility on a full-time basis.
Stays in residential rehab can last for a few weeks or several months, with the goal of helping people develop healthy social skills and change ineffectual behaviors. However, the length of treatment is comprehensive and can vary widely depending on both the program and the individual’s needs.
Partial Hospitalization Program
A partial hospitalization program offers an alternative to inpatient or residential treatment. According to The Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare, these programs are offered either in hospitals or freestanding clinics and provide intensive services. People who participate in a partial hospitalization program may receive treatment during days, evenings or weekends, and they return home at night. In other partial hospitalization programs, clients may live on-site at the treatment center.
Partial hospitalization is suitable for patients who are not a danger to themselves but still require intensive treatment. In these programs, people spend more time in treatment than those in traditional outpatient programs, but they may be able to live at home.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Intensive outpatient treatment involves group treatment sessions as well as individual counseling. People who are engaged in intensive outpatient treatment may also take medications and receive medication management services. Depending on the program, clients may live off-site at home or in sober living housing or on-site at the treatment facility.
Intensive outpatient programs are an alternative to hospitalization or inpatient programs. In some cases, people will begin an intensive outpatient program after transitioning out of an inpatient setting. According to research, intensive outpatient programs provide at least nine hours of service per week, but some programs may be more intensive.
Outpatient rehab is a step down from intensive outpatient treatment. Per the American Society of Addiction Medicine, someone in outpatient treatment receives less than nine hours of services each week.
Similar to intensive outpatient programs, outpatient rehab typically involves individual and group counseling as well as access to medication and medical services. In outpatient programs, people schedule appointments at times that fit their schedules, and they can continue to work in the community and live at home throughout treatment. Outpatient programs offer flexibility, which is a benefit of this type of treatment.
Dual diagnosis treatment is provided to individuals who have both an addiction and a mental health condition. For example, a person who lives with opioid addiction and bipolar disorder would be a candidate for dual diagnosis treatment.
With this form of treatment, people receive integrated services that address both addiction and mental health conditions. People in dual diagnosis services receive counseling, supportive services and medications. Treatment plans must consider both the mental health condition and the addiction to be effective. For instance, if a person receives treatment for addiction, but underlying depression is not treated, the person may relapse to drug use as a form of self-medication.
Court-ordered treatment is given as a legal consequence for drug-related offenses, and comes with consequences for noncompliance. Studies show that court-ordered treatment is just as effective, if not more so than voluntary addiction treatment. may take many forms and often is conducted in the same setting as voluntary treatment. The specific requirements of treatment vary with each unique court sentence. In some cases, treatment may be given as an alternative to incarceration or as a way to reduce the length of incarceration or probation.
Depending on the level of offense, types of court-ordered treatment include educations programs, group counseling, outpatient programs, community-based programs and residential programs.
Some treatment facilities approach addiction recovery through the lens of spirituality. The most well-known community support group, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), was founded on strong religious principles and continues to promote faith-based healing to its 2 million members around the world.
If you believe that spiritual principles could benefit your recovery, you can easily find treatment programs that implement these principles alongside traditional medicine. Research shows that recovering patients with higher levels of spirituality exhibit positive qualities such as increased optimism, lower anxiety and higher resilience to stress. By helping a person in recovery find inner strength, faith-based rehab facilities hope to fortify their path to sobriety.
Aftercare includes services that people participate in to maintain lasting sobriety after completing a treatment program. Aftercare services may involve ongoing counseling, participation in support groups, or linkage to case management or peer support services. Aftercare plays an important role in preventing relapse. According to research, aftercare is more effective when people participate in it for longer periods of time.
Short-term treatment typically lasts around 30 days, but treatment of this length may not always be effective. NIDA reports that short-term residential programs are typically intensive, and it is necessary for people to transition into an outpatient program after completing one.