If you or a loved one is living with a drug or alcohol addiction, you may be wondering what addiction treatment looks like. While everyone’s treatment plan will vary based upon their unique situation and needs, there are some general things that you can expect from addiction treatment. There are different levels of treatment, as well as different types of treatment and counseling.

Levels of Addiction Treatment

When seeking addiction treatment, there are multiple different levels of care a person can consider.

For those who are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, addiction treatment typically begins with a detox program. Detox can be on an inpatient or outpatient basis, but when people are suffering from extreme withdrawal symptoms, they are likely to enter an inpatient program, where they can receive around-the-clock medical care. Staff in a detox program monitor withdrawal symptoms and keep patients as safe and as comfortable as possible while withdrawal is occurring, and they may prescribe medications to help with managing withdrawal symptoms.

After detox, it is important for people to enter ongoing addiction treatment, because detox is only the first step in the treatment process. Depending upon a person’s needs, they may enter one of the following treatment levels after detox:

  • Outpatient: According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), outpatient treatment is any service that occurs for fewer than 9 hours per week for adults. Someone who receives outpatient services lives at home and attends appointments at a clinic or treatment center. This level of care is typically suitable for those who have a less severe addiction and who have safe living conditions.
  • Intensive Outpatient: This level of treatment occurs for at least 9 hours per week for adults and is utilized when someone has a more severe addiction or has co-occurring conditions like a mental illness that also requires treatment. People receiving intensive outpatient services return home after treatment, but they may spend several evenings per week, for instance, engaged in services for a few hours at a time.
  • Partial Hospitalization: People receiving this level of care spend at least 20 hours per week in treatment. This level of care is necessary for people who need a highly structured program but are able to return home at night. Someone receiving partial hospitalization services will participate in services at a treatment center most days of the week for hours at a time. For instance, they may report to treatment Monday through Friday from 9 am to 2 pm but return home during the evenings and weekends. A structured program of this nature can be helpful for people who have had trouble staying sober and becoming stabilized in recovery.
  • Inpatient or Residential Treatment: At the highest levels of care are inpatient or residential programs, which require patients to live on-site while receiving treatment. In these programs, patients receive clinical services and participate in group activities to help them resolve the underlying issues that led to addiction. They sleep on-site and also receive meals and medical care while in this type of treatment program. Residential and inpatient settings are beneficial for those who have not been successful maintaining sobriety in outpatient programs, or who do not have safe living arrangements. For instance, someone who is living among others who are addicted and still using drugs and alcohol would be better suited for an inpatient program, which removes them from the unhelpful home environment.

Treatment Activities

There are several levels of care in addiction treatment, as well as several activities that constitute “treatment.” Some of the following are the most common:

  • Individual Therapy or Counseling: Many people who are in addiction treatment participate in some sort of individual therapy or counseling to help them change their behaviors and address the underlying issues that contributed to addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a common type of therapy utilized in addiction treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps people to cope with triggers that may lead them to use drugs and alcohol.
  • Group Counseling: Groups are a common form of addiction treatment. In group counseling, people can develop social skills and learn from others who are also in recovery.
  • Support Groups: People in addiction treatment may also attend mutual support groups like AA or NA to connect with others in treatment and develop relationships with those who are also sober.
  • Medication: Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is often used in opioid addiction treatment to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. People may also take medications to stay sober from alcohol.
  • Other Activities: Addiction treatment can also involve medical services as well as therapies to address co-occurring mental illnesses. People may also receive vocational rehabilitation services to help them obtain employment, or help with obtaining resources like housing and financial support.

Online Addiction Treatment

Another type of addiction treatment that has emerged is teletherapy, or online services. Instead of going to a clinic or treatment center for addiction counseling, people who participate in teletherapy for addiction receive services from the comfort of home via a webcam or phone app.

At iRecoveryUSA, we provide comprehensive addiction treatment in a 100% online format via our telehealth platform. You can receive a full continuum of addiction services, including individual therapy, group counseling, and MAT without ever leaving home. Contact us today to learn more about our services.