6 Types of Addiction Treatment

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 | By JP Emerald Coast

The 6 Levels of Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment has been highly stigmatized for decades as being an option for “weak” people or those who just can’t control themselves. Today, however, that narrative is changing and those who would have previously shied away from treatment are asking for the help they need to get better.

There are several different types of professional addiction treatment programs available throughout the United States that have been developed specifically to treat those struggling with this disease. For many, treatment means spending a few weeks in the care of professionals while for others, it means devoting many months (and even years) to their full-fledged recovery. Regardless of what the needs of the person may be, there are treatment options available that can support those who are ready to change their lives for the better.

addiction treatment therapist


If a person is dependent on drugs or alcohol, has preexisting conditions, or may experience medical problems if they stop using cold turkey, detox is the first place they should start when it comes to treatment. 

Detox is the process of clearing the body of any and all addictive substances like alcohol, meth, opioids, cocaine, prescription pills, etc. For many people, detoxing consists of physical and psychological symptoms that can be managed and do not impact the course of their lives. For others, however, detox is vital in order to survive. That is because some substances can cause serious and/or life-threatening effects when a person who is dependent on them stops using them suddenly. Detox serves as a safe place for people to end their substance abuse while being monitored by medical and mental health professionals

When detoxing, clients will experience some degree of withdrawal symptoms. Generally, the more severe the abuse, the more painful the detox. It is common for clients to develop withdrawal symptoms that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia/hypersomnia

Being in a professional detox program can help mitigate the severity of these symptoms, as nurses and other medical professionals can supply over-the-counter and prescription medications to help safely ease a client’s distress. In the event that the client is detoxing from opioids (e.g. heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, opium), the professionals at the detox center may decide to provide them with methadone or buprenorphine, both prescription medications designed specifically to help treat withdrawal symptoms and cravings in opioid-dependent individuals. 

Depending on the type of substance a person is addicted to, their stay in detox can last anywhere from a few days to upwards of two weeks. The goal of detox is not only to clear the body of drugs and alcohol, but also get the client to a state where they can manage their withdrawal symptoms easily and focus on the therapeutic aspects of their recovery. 

When detox is completed, clients can transition into a treatment program that is appropriate for their current needs. 

therapies used in addiction treatment

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment is the highest, most involved level of addiction treatment. It takes a comprehensive, all-hands-on-deck approach to treat this specific disease. Clients of a residential treatment program receive personalized care plans designed by professionals and specialists in the program that empower them to address their unique needs. The care that is provided within residential treatment is extensive and detailed, making it an excellent option for those addicts and alcoholics who:

  • Have a severe substance use disorder
  • Have tried to stop using before but have been unable to maintain their sobriety
  • Have a co-occurring condition, meaning they have a substance use disorder and a mental illness that requires professional attention
  • Require 24/7, around-the-clock care
  • Do not have a safe, recovery-friendly place to reside while getting help

As its name reflects, those who enroll in a residential treatment program will live at the facility for the duration of their care. At the time of admissions, clients will be informed of where they will be residing in the facility. Admissions specialists are not able to tell clients how long they will stay at the facility, as that is a decision that is made by a team of mental health professionals. Typically, anyone who participates in a residential treatment program stays at the facility for 28-30 days. However, the time they may spend after those 30 days will be dependent on a number of things, including the following:

  • If the client participated in detox (e.g. only had two-three weeks of therapy instead of a full 30 day’s worth because they were detoxing for the first week or so)
  • The client is making important developmental breaks in their therapy and should continue 
  • The client’s therapist does not feel that they have the full set of skills needed to maintain sobriety outside of treatment
  • The client’s substance use disorder was severe and requires long-term, extended treatment

As the client makes their way through the program, they will regularly touch base with their therapist and other specialists to determine how much longer their treatment should continue for. 

Studies have shown that the longer a person remains in treatment, the better their recovery outcome will be. In a residential treatment program, the time that a person spends in treatment is used wisely and for the purposes of treating the underlying causes and active triggers of substance abuse. In order to do this, clients participate in therapies that are evidence-based and highly regarded for their effectiveness in ending behavior and thinking patterns that lend themselves to the continuation of active addiction. Most residential treatment programs offer the following therapies: 

  • Individual therapy 
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Exposure therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Experiential therapy 

Also heavily focused on during a client’s time spent in residential treatment include:

  • Relapse prevention 
  • Addiction education 
  • Drug refusal skills
  • Codependency
  • Family roles 
  • Life skills education

As mentioned before, each client has needs that are specific to their situation. With the vast array of therapies and approaches utilized within residential treatment programs, clients with all sorts of needs can get the help that will get them to stop using drugs and/or alcohol and begin practicing a life of recovery.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

A partial hospitalization program, or a PHP, offers a heavily structured treatment plan, primarily for those who:

  • Have completed residential treatment but require step-down care 
  • Need daily, consistent treatment but do not need to be supervised or monitored 24/7
  • Live in a safe place that is recovery-friendly, such as at home with family or a sober house

The amount of time that a client stays in a partial hospitalization program is usually around 30 days, however, as with most types of addiction treatment, they may remain longer if necessary. Again, much of this is dependent on the client’s progress and continued needs. 

When enrolled in a partial hospitalization program, clients will spend the majority of their time at the facility. These types of programs require a full-time commitment, as therapy usually lasts upwards of eight hours per day. Clients may attend their PHP anywhere from 5-7 days each week, however, continue to live at home when not at the facility. 

Partial hospitalization programs are very similar to residential treatment, as therapy, activities, and education last throughout the day. Individual therapy takes up the majority of a client’s time per week, however they will also be participating in other therapies that are deemed appropriate for their recovery goals. Some of these therapies include the following:

  • Behavioral therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Trauma therapies, such as exposure therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Group counseling
  • Support groups both on and off-campus (such as Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous)
  • Experiential therapy in the form of art therapy, music therapy, equine therapy, etc. 
  • Family therapy 

And, similar to residential treatment programs, clients of a partial hospitalization program will also focus on developing relapse prevention skills and life skills, as well as focus on addiction education. Each client’s progress will help determine their next steps once they complete their PHP, as some clients may return home while others may continue to transition slowly out of treatment.

intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

A step-down in intensity from a partial hospitalization program, an intensive outpatient program, or an IOP, is highly effective in treating addiction when applied to a specific clientele. Intensive outpatient programming, like any other form of treatment program, is not for everyone. It has proven to be most effective for those who:

  • Have a moderate to severe substance use disorder but do not require detox service
  • Have completed higher levels of addiction treatment like residential treatment and/or a partial hospitalization program 
  • Do not need to be supervised or monitored
  • Have relapsed and require a more structured level of care that does not require a full-time commitment 

An intensive outpatient program is similar to having a part-time job in the sense of how much time a client puts into it. Most IOP’s run anywhere from 4-12 weeks and require the client to go to the facility several times per week. When at the facility, clients spend a good amount of time there each day, ranging anywhere from a couple of hours to the whole day. Unlike the PHP, the client does not have to be at the facility each day for treatment. They can incorporate their IOP into their daily lives, allowing them to maintain some level of work and/or responsibility outside of their program. This program allows more freedom to clients, as they can still live at home and make outside plans while getting treated. 

Outpatient Treatment

Not all people who are experiencing addiction need a level of care as involved as that offered at residential treatment, PHP’s, or IOP’s. Some people, instead, develop mild addictions or reach out for treatment before the disease progresses. To help provide the most appropriate care for this population of individuals, outpatient treatment offers programming that can meet their needs. 

Outpatient treatment utilizes the same approach to addiction treatment that is found in most other types of treatment programs where therapy serves as the foundation of one’s recovery. Each client participates in individual therapy, which occurs in a one-on-one setting with a licensed therapist. The majority of the client’s time spent in outpatient treatment will be in individual therapy, for that is where they can work with their therapist to identify and address the underlying causes and triggers associated with their addiction. Other therapies (like group counseling) are also included in each client’s care plan. Then, based on their personal needs, additional therapies can be added to their schedule, such as behavioral therapies or trauma therapies. 

Outpatient treatment requires the least amount of time commitment from clients, as they only need to go to the facility at least once per week for therapy. This means that clients in this program can continue to uphold a full-time job and maintain their responsibilities at home, too. This type of treatment is not for everyone, especially because it is not as heavily structured or demanding. However, outpatient treatment is highly effective for those who:

  • Have a mild addiction
  • Are early on in their addiction
  • Have completed higher levels of addiction treatment and require transitional care
  • Have suffered a relapse and need additional treatment to get back on the road to recovery
  • Are absolutely unable to take time off of work or from the home to obtain treatment

It is imperative that those who do enroll in an outpatient treatment program have a secure place to live where they can stay focused on their recovery. Sharing an apartment with someone who is still using is not ideal for someone who is trying to get sober with a program that only offers a limited amount of care. Instead, clients of an outpatient treatment program benefit most from the program when they live among supportive family members, a sober house, or within their own home where they can control the environment. 

Outpatient treatment programs typically last anywhere between 4-12 weeks, depending on the needs of the client. During that time, clients will go to the facility at least once per week and spend a few hours of time there a day. Many outpatient programs are held in the early morning or evening to accommodate clients’ work schedules.  

How Do I Know If I Need Treatment?

Being addicted to drugs or alcohol is extremely painful and distressing. No matter how happy or content a person under the influence may seem, the disease of addiction can wear them down — and quickly. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, then you know this to be true. You might also know that the idea of getting treatment can provoke fear, anxiety, and disbelief within yourself. It can be much easier to stop thinking about getting treatment than to just get treatment. However, continuing to do this only places your life in further danger with every minute that passes you by. Determining if it is time for you to get help is crucial in preserving your wellbeing and your life. 

One of the best ways to determine if you need treatment is to ask yourself several questions related to addiction and be as honest as possible with your answers. Consider asking yourself the following:

  • Are you still drinking/using even though you thought you’d stop sooner?
  • Do you feel like you need to drink/use in order to function?
  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you cannot drink/use or are unable to drink/use as much as you regularly use?
  • Have you suffered repercussions related to your drinking/using but continued drinking/using anyway?
  • Have friends and/or family members expressed concern about your drinking/using?
  • Do you try to keep your drinking/using hidden from others?
  • Do you give up things you previously enjoyed to engage in drinking/using?
  • Have you experienced financial, legal, or professional consequences due to your drinking/using?

These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself. Answering ‘yes’ to even one of these questions can serve as a red flag that something more serious is going on. If you feel that you are up against the disease of addiction and do not know how to stop, reach out and ask for help. It is never too late to try and get on the road to recovery. 

Why Should You Get Professional Addiction Treatment?

As mentioned before, it is common for people to be hesitant and even resistant to getting treatment for their addiction. No one ever wants to believe that they have gotten to a point where they cannot help themselves, but when it comes to addiction, it is a disease that does require outside help. Thankfully, there is nothing to be ashamed of by saying, “I need help.”

If you do not get some form of professional treatment for your addiction, several negative things can occur. Consider the following:

Physical health

Depending on the type of substance that you are abusing, you run the risk of suffering severe physical health problems that may even cost you your life. Some common problems that untreated addiction can cause can include vital organ damage/failure, problems with the skeletal structure (e.g. osteoporosis), repeated broken bones or head injuries related to being under the influence, increased risk of cancer, and increased risk of contracting blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis.

Psychological health

The longer that drugs or alcohol are abused, the more the brain becomes affected. As a result, issues such as anxiety, depression, fear, panic, hallucinations, delusions, and mania can easily develop. When substance abuse is occurring, these issues not only just develop but they also get worsened as the use continues. Some substances significantly change the physical structure of the brain, making it difficult for the brain to assist in things such as decision-making, concentration, and memory. 

Social life

Addiction is a disease that affects everyone it touches, including friends and significant others. As you continue to use, you run the risk of losing bonds with close friends, having increased arguments with your boyfriend/girlfriend, and becoming socially isolated. Loneliness that comes from these effects can keep the cycle of addiction continuing, as drinking or using can seemingly help take away the pain associated with your social life. 

Professional life

As mentioned before, the more you drink/use, the more serious your condition will become. Continuing to drink or use can begin impacting your job performance or jeopardize your ability to get a job. If employed, you may be demoted or let go because of actions such as being consistently late, not finishing assignments on time, or having conflict with co-workers. If looking for a job, you may struggle with consistency, appearance, punctuality, and preparedness, standing in the way of you becoming employed. 

Personal life

As your addiction grows, your personal life can get worse. You and your spouse might be separating or divorcing while you may be fighting for a percentage of custody with your children. Your finances may be in disarray due to your need to continually fuel your addiction, leaving you in a predicament where you may not be able to afford basic needs like housing, clothing, and food. And, your behaviors associated with your drinking/using may have you tied up in legal troubles that prevent you from living your life. 

While it takes many people hitting rock bottom to realize their need for help, you can take action right now. You do not need to be on your last breath before admitting that you need help. By asking for help and focusing on your individual program, you can benefit in the following ways:

  • Immediately eliminate the risk of overdose 
  • Reduce the risk for further physical and psychological damage to develop
  • Get connected with trained, experienced, and compassionate professionals who can show you the way
  • Develop coping skills that prevent you from turning to the use of drugs or alcohol again
  • Figure out what the underlying causes of your addiction are, as well as what triggers are encouraging you to continue to use
  • Bond with other individuals who have also struggled with addiction and who are trying to recover
  • Get the option to slowly transition out of treatment by going from one program to the next until you are comfortable doing it on your own (for the most part)

The benefits of getting addiction treatment are endless, as the harder you work, the more you will gain from your program. All of this (and more) is possible when you start the process by asking for help.

Get Treatment Right Now at JourneyPure. Do Not Wait.

There is no need to continue abusing drugs/alcohol and possibly throwing your life away. If you are ready to address the issues you are facing, do not hesitate. Call us today for a free benefits check and information on how to find the right type of treatment for you or your loved one.

JourneyPure Emerald Coast offers detox, residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and aftercare for a full year. JourneyPure is confident that each program is equipped to handle any of the complex combinations of co-occurring issues that a client can struggle with. Substance abuse counseling coupled with psychiatric care and therapeutic modalities creates an environment where anyone can receive the type of care that they require to recover.

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