When people think of “rehab” they often imagine packing up and leaving home to stay in a facility for a month or more. While this is one form of addiction treatment, the reality is that there are multiple levels of care available for those seeking drug and alcohol services.

The Levels of Care in Addiction Treatment

The American Society of Addiction Medicine specifies several levels of care. The best option for you will depend upon your unique circumstances, such as the severity of your addiction, the safety of your living environment, and your financial situation. Learn about the various levels of care below:

Outpatient Treatment

When a person enters addiction rehab, outpatient treatment is typically the lowest level of care. People enrolled in outpatient addiction treatment receive under 9 hours of services per week. They attend individual and group counseling sessions at a clinic or rehab facility, and then return home after appointments.

Outpatient care is appropriate for people who have a supportive living environment. For instance, if they are living with people who support their recovery and are not abusing substances, outpatient care may be a suitable option. Outpatient services are also practical for those who need to continue working and/or caring for their children.

Intensive Outpatient (IOP)

Patients enrolled in intensive outpatient (IOP) services receive at least 9 hours of care per week. Like those in outpatient treatment, those in IOP participate in group and individual sessions at a clinic or rehab center and then return home afterward.

IOP is better equipped to handle the challenges that come with multidimensional problems. For example, if someone is living with both an addiction and a mental health condition, IOP services provide them with sufficient services to address both diagnoses. IOP can also be beneficial for patients who have a severe addiction.

Partial Hospitalization

While partial hospitalization services occur on an outpatient basis, with patients returning home at night, they are far more intensive than IOP or standard outpatient care. Partial hospitalization services occur for 20 or more hours a week and require a considerable time commitment.

A patient receiving partial hospitalization services spends several hours per day, most days of the week, in a structured rehab program. They may report to a clinic or hospital Monday through Friday, for example, and participate in individual and group counseling, medication management, and therapeutic activities like yoga or art therapy.

Partial hospitalization services provide patients with intensive support. They are a good fit for those who have a severe addiction and need frequent contact with treatment professionals to help them achieve a state of abstinence from drugs and/or alcohol.

Inpatient/Residential Treatment

People participating in inpatient or residential treatment live on-site in a hospital or residential treatment facility while receiving services. They receive 24/7 care and support from medical staff and addiction professionals. There are various types of residential and inpatient programs available, but what they all have in common is that patients do not return home each night.

Some patients may begin with a brief inpatient stay to receive medical detox services, during which doctors and other medical staff provide medications and support to keep patients as safe and as comfortable as possible as the body withdraws from drugs. After detox, people may continue in a residential program, or they can transition to an outpatient program.

Residential programs are often a starting point for individuals who have a severe addiction that requires around-the-clock care. While in a residential program, people do not have access to triggers for drug or alcohol use, such as unstable living environments or negative influences from friends or family members who are still using. After establishing a period of sobriety and stronger coping skills, patients in residential treatment return home and transition to an outpatient program.


A new treatment approach that became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic and remained popular even after stay-at-home orders were lifted is the use of telehealth or teletherapy services for addition. This is, of course, a form of outpatient care, as patients remain at home, but it makes addiction treatment more accessible. With teletherapy services, there is no need to take time off from work or find childcare so you can travel to a clinic for appointments. You can receive addiction services from the comfort of home, at times that fit your schedule.

At irecoveryusa.com, we provide comprehensive addiction treatment services, including individual and group counseling, as well as medication-assisted therapy (MAT) in a 100% online format via our telehealth app.