A Complete Guide to Addiction Treatment


Sober Recovery Expert Author

If you or your loved one suffers from addiction and is ready to get help, the breadth of addiction treatment options available can seem overwhelming. After all, there are many factors to consider: treatment length, type, philosophy as well as your personal beliefs, preferences and budget. All of these things matter. To better help in the process, here is a breakdown of addiction treatment options so you make an informed decision.

Treatment Types


Your physician should make this recommendation, but some treatment centers require this step in their programs. Detox helps the client safely rid their bodies of their substance of choice as well as help treat withdrawal symptoms. For example, detox from benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or other anti-anxiety drugs, must be monitored by a physician as suddenly stopping these drugs carry severe risks for the addict. Narcotics, such as pain killers, heroin and other opioids may be detoxed by substituting with alternative medications like Suboxone or Methadone.

Physicians typically find a detox program necessary for those who have abused substances for extended periods of time. For your own safety, it is important for you to be completely honest with your healthcare providers and treatment personnel regarding how much drugs you have taken or are taking and for how long. Detox is performed in hospitals or semi-medical settings so doctors and other healthcare providers can monitor the client. Some inpatient treatment rehabs require detox and may even have their own detox facilities.

Inpatient Treatment

Based on the details of your personal situation, many people consider an inpatient program to be the best form of treatment as it is the most comprehensive and intensive introduction to recovery. Inpatient treatment programs offer residential services where clients in recovery live in the facility, dorms or hospital rooms during treatment. Most inpatient programs last from about 28 to 90 days and may be the best option for someone who has had long-term substance use issues, chronic relapse or other specific medical needs. Many programs offer counseling, therapy and group meetings as well other supplementary alternative treatment methods such as yoga. There are programs or services labeled as “treatment” that require at least minimal supervision by a medical doctor or psychiatrist, allowing them to bill clients’ health insurance providers for their services.

Outpatient Treatment

Despite its benefits, entering an inpatient rehab may not always be possible due to several factors including work, family life and finances. This is when outpatient treatment may be extremely helpful. Generally, outpatient programs involve receiving treatment during the day and returning home at night. This type of treatment is usually scheduled about three or four days per week, which may consist of group and individual counseling. There are high or low-cost outpatient treatment programs available depending on the specific addiction treatment agency. Outpatient treatment also offers flexibility, as there are partial, intensive or step-down programs created for those who cannot leave their homes, jobs or families to enter an inpatient treatment program. Some also offer services that dovetail with inpatient rehab and are designed to help the clients who are transitioning back to home via daytime or after work programs. Today, most programs are based on the 12-Steps due to its well-established model and longest-term results. However, other alternatives and support groups are gaining popularity as well.

Sober Living Home

A sober living home is set up to provide a living situation that is conducive to maintaining abstinence. For those who have reached the end of their treatment programs, opting to stay in a sober living home may help ensure they maintain their sobriety. These types of homes cater to a wide range of client needs and lifestyles, from affordable living situations to high-end, private suites or cabins in lush settings. While most provide no treatment, clients pay rent, maintain abstinence and follow rules governing the entire household, including curfews, chores and mandatory meeting attendance.

From inpatient centers to outpatient centers, and many other types of addiction treatment centers, you'll find one to meet your needs. Check out all the options here to get on the right road to recovery.

This living phase is optional but the process can help make the individual affirm what they’ve learned in rehab and be better prepared to re-enter their lives. Sometimes, treatment centers refer clients over to specific sober living homes that can meet their needs. Others give their clients a list of sober living homes or even help them with placement at the end of their programs. Many treatment programs have even opened sober living homes to assist clients who need that type of support for ongoing stability in their recovery. When you face the end of rehab, it is up to you to gauge your personality and long-term recovery goals to decide if moving into a sober living home is a step you’d like to take.

Additional Specialties

Addiction is a complex disease that affects people from all walks of life. People with different backgrounds, lifestyles and experiences may also have different treatment expectations and preferences. Once you and your physician have decided on the type of program you need, you may choose to further customize your rehab experience through any one of these additional options.

Substance Type

Substance abusers have different motivations for using their particular choice of drug, which is why a substance-specific rehab program helps clients confront their unique set of issues, better understand themselves and learn from their past mistakes. This includes programs that cater specifically to alcohol, cocaine, heroin or any other substances. Some centers also offer simultaneous treatment for substance use and possible co-occurring disorders.


Treatment programs centered on faith or belief in higher power usually follow a specific religious doctrine. This type of program is proven to be very helpful for clients with strong religious or spiritual beliefs. Most notably, the 12-Step program belongs in this category.

Gender/Sexual Orientation

There are programs that cater specifically to women, men, gay or lesbian-only populations. Some programs are developed for women with children so they can gain access to treatment without leaving children in foster care or other type of placement. Some addicts may have trauma that requires them to feel safe in a setting with members of their own gender. Others may have added sex addictions, making it prudent to place them in gender-specific treatment settings.

Alternative Healing

If you are looking for an alternative to traditional rehab therapy, a holistic drug rehab may be the right treatment approach for you. A holistic drug rehab offers a drug addiction treatment program that addresses the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental effects of substance addiction—not just the body’s chemical dependence on substances. Holistic addiction treatment often includes detox and psychotherapy along with other alternative treatments, including acupuncture, neurofeedback, eye movement desensitizing and reprocessing (EDMR) therapy, Reiki, massage therapy, equine-assisted therapy and more.

Luxury Treatment

For those who have high-end lifestyles or special needs, treatment can become an exclusive experience. This type of treatment allows for specialized services such as private rooms, maid service, laundry service, specialized dietary needs or a personal chef, massage therapy, personal trainers and exercise programs, exotic locations, or specially-designed and personalized therapies such as those found in spa facilities. When media access, confidentiality or privacy needs to be considered, luxury treatment centers often provide extra security. Note, however, that costs for these luxury treatment centers are known to be high and insurance may pay only a small portion of the costs, if any.

Teens Only

Teen drug abuse has become increasingly more common, bringing about teen rehabs that cater specifically to adolescents. Youth addiction recovery programs offer around-the-clock addiction services in a residential drug or alcohol rehab community of counselors and fellow recovering young addicts. Teens can stay in these programs up to several months or longer. Some of these teen treatment centers are referred to as therapeutic communities, boot camp, wilderness retreats and sober colleges.

Payment Options

Many insurance companies will cover a part of your addiction treatment. As a matter of fact, most have established contracts with rehab centers for specific treatment services. The most common treatment package includes detox services performed in a hospital or medically-monitored treatment facility, followed by further treatment as determined by a professional. Remember to first check your insurance benefits, copay information and network. You can also ask most rehabilitation agencies to assist in checking your insurance benefits as well.

For those who can afford to pay out-of-pocket, the choice becomes more personal. Many clients base their decisions on a rehab center’s popularity or reputation. Some may like to go outside of their community to get help, whether that may be a place with a nicer climate or a facility that offers specialized care.

On the other hand, those who do not have sufficient resources to pay for treatment may find help from their county or state drug and alcohol programs. There are also non-profit organizations that have done this work for many years such as the Salvation Army as well as churches or other religious groups. These organizations offer programs that range from long-term residential treatment to group meetings and outpatient services. More specific information can be found online or by contacting your local agencies.

If you or someone you know is seeking help with addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 866-606-0182 to start the path to recovery today.

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