Levels of Care for Addiction Treatment

Overcoming an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol is most effectively accomplished through the receiving of comprehensive professional treatment. As was previously discussed, there are different phases included in the recovery process. Once withdrawal and detox are complete, engaging in comprehensive therapeutic treatment services can be considered the most important aspect of care that results in long-term recovery.

The following are among the many types of treatment:


Detoxification, or detox for short, refers to the physiological process of having harmful substances removed from the body. Detox should be done in a setting where the individual can be medically monitored 24/7, ensuring his or her safety and comfort during the process. The detoxification process can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days to, in some cases, even a few weeks. When done under the supervision of medical professionals, prescription medications may be given in order to alleviate the distressing symptoms being experienced. Not only does participation in detox work to dispel uncomfortable symptoms, but it also offers individuals a safe environment where they do not have access to their drugs of choice, therefore preventing relapse.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment can be considered the most intensive form of care, most frequently used to treat acute cases and handle crises. For those addicted to substances, this is where the detoxification services will likely take place, followed by interventions that are designed to alleviate acute concerns.

Residential Treatment

Often one of the most beneficial forms of treatment for overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol, residential treatment offers individuals long-term care in a safe environment. The particular length of stay can vary from person to person, as well as across various treatment centers. During one’s time in residential treatment, he or she is able to remove him or herself from the stressors and temptations of everyday life and instead place all of his or her focus on recovering. Here, individuals are able to be completely away from their old drug lifestyle and make a fresh start.

Partial Hospitalization Programs

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) are a treatment option for individuals who do not need the around-the-clock care offered in inpatient or residential settings, but still need the intensive structure of a day-long program. Depending on the particular treatment center, the PHP schedule will vary, but most take place five days a week for around six hours each day.

Intensive Outpatient Programs

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are designed for individuals who do not require the day-to-day treatment offered in partial hospitalization programs, but who can benefit from a structured treatment setting as they work to acclimate to life outside of treatment. Again, the schedules for IOP will vary amongst different treatment centers, as well as based on each individual’s unique needs, but typically occur a couple of days per week for around three or four hours each day.

Traditional Outpatient Services

This level of care typically involves ongoing meetings with a therapist, yet does not take place as frequently as PHP or IOP. These sessions are scheduled based on the specific needs of each individual.

Sober Living Homes

Some individuals may benefit from residing in sober living homes, also known as halfway houses, before returning to their true homes. These environments are designed to be a safe place for individuals to live during the interim between their completion of treatment and their future lives. These living arrangements can serve to benefit individuals as they work towards being able to stand against temptation to resume using drugs or alcohol and remain successful in their recovery.

Support Groups

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can provide ongoing encouragement as individuals adjust to living outside of treatment. These support groups are designed to give people a safe space where they can come together with others who have shared similar struggles so that they can give and receive encouragement and find lasting support from those who understand the trials that they have overcome.

Types of Interventions Used in Addiction Treatment

Within the various levels of care offered from those working to overcome an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, there are a variety of therapeutic interventions implemented. These interventions are described briefly in the following:

Group Therapy

Group therapy is often the main intervention used in all treatment settings. These groups are led by trained professionals who initiate topics of discussion that are relevant to the group members. These groups can serve to be educational, while also providing individuals with a forum where they can discuss issues that they are facing, and give and receive support to and from others who have shared similar experiences and trials.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a time for people to meet one-on-one with a therapist. This is meant to be a safe and confidential setting where individuals can discuss their personal struggles, address any concerns that may have arisen in treatment, and celebrate successes as they come.

Family Therapy

Family therapy offers individuals a time to come together with their loved ones in a therapist-led setting. Here, relationships that have been negatively affected by the presence of addictions can be healed, and family members can become educated on ways that they can be of most help to their loved ones as they progress in recovery.

Experiential Therapies

Many treatment programs offer a variety of experiential therapies that are designed to complement the more intensive aspects of the treatment experience. These therapies are designed to provide a holistic approach to recovery, working to heal an individual’s mind, body, and spirit. Examples of experiential therapies can include, but are not limited to, art therapy, music therapy, Yoga, meditation, and recreational therapy.

By participating in a comprehensive treatment program, individuals are given the opportunity to receive individualized treatment plans that incorporate many, if not all, of the aforementioned interventions. Here, individuals can address all of their concerns and achieve their recovery goals.

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