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There are many treatment options available for people struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. These include inpatient and outpatient rehab, ongoing support groups and multiple kinds of therapies.

What are my treatment options?

Many people start their recovery process with either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Addiction treatment is different for each individual and can be customized based on each person’s unique needs and situations. Doctors and therapists will create a plan for recovery based on the substance being abused and the severity of the addiction.

  • 1

    Inpatient Treatment

    Inpatient programs offer the highest level of treatment care, with medically supervised detoxification and around-the-clock support. Inpatient rehab is recommended for severe addictions or for individuals with co-occurring disorders. Inpatient treatment also has the highest rate of long-term success. 

  • 2

    Outpatient Treatment

    Outpatient treatment is ideal for people who are motivated to stop using their substance, but require the flexibility of a program that will work around their schedule. Outpatient programs allow for continued care and access to family while in treatment. 

  • 3

    Sober Living Homes

    Sober living homes operate as a bridge between an inpatient treatment center and the “real world.” These are a great option for those who need additional time reinforcing what was learned in rehab and to develop healthy habits while still in the comfort of a monitored environment. 

  • 4

    Support Groups

    Support groups are instrumental to continued sobriety after rehab. There are a number of different support groups tailored to specific substances or demographics. Finding the right group provides a community of individuals that encourage and inspire each other to stay committed to sobriety. 

  • 5

    Addiction Counselors

    An addiction counselor’s role is to provide unbiased support for individuals going through a treatment program. Counselors create an individualized plan for treatment and aftercare and conduct one-on-one or group therapy sessions.

The Standard Treatment Structure

Most drug and alcohol treatment programs follow a similar procedure, beginning with a medical detoxification and continuing into ongoing therapies.

1. Drug and Alcohol Detox 

The first step in many treatment programs, a detoxification is performed under the guidance of a medical professional to ensure the patient’s withdrawal symptoms are under control. Detoxing from some drugs requires the use of medication during treatment to help ease the withdrawal process. These drugs are often tapered down until the patient is no longer reliant on any substance.

2. Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab 

Inpatient rehabs are intensive, residential treatment programs designed to help individuals overcome serious or long-term addictions. Outpatient rehabs are part-time programs, allowing the recovering user to continue going to work or school during the day. 

3. Ongoing Therapies (Life After Rehab)

After rehabilitation, there are many ongoing therapies available for recovering addicts to help them continue on the right path. As recovery is a lifelong process, it is important to pursue ongoing treatments that provide support and accountability. 

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Addiction Treatment Therapies

Therapies used in addiction treatment are based on an individual’s health and substance abuse patterns. Options for therapy include an array of individual or group therapy sessions and are organized by addiction counselors.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

    CBT is used to help people in recovery address problematic thoughts or feelings that may compromise sobriety or contribute to a relapse. This form of therapy is also useful in treating co-occurring conditions, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). 

  • Biofeedback

    During biofeedback therapy, electronic sensors are placed on a patient’s skin to provide medical professionals with an accurate read on an individual’s “bio” signs. On-site biofeedback therapy sessions typically last about 30 minutes to an hour and are designed to provide recovering addicts with a psychological edge to beat their addictions.

  • Holistic Therapy

    Within holistic therapy, the focus is on the individual’s overall well-being, while also treating physical symptoms of withdrawal. Holistic therapies may include yoga, acupuncture, art therapy and guided meditation.

  • Experiential Therapy

    Experiential therapy utilizes non-traditional treatment methods to help recovering addicts overcome repressed feelings and emotions that may have contributed to their addiction. Common types of this therapy include rock-climbing, wilderness therapy and ropes courses.

  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

    MET is used to help individuals in addiction recovery learn to change their thoughts and behaviors attached to their addiction. This type of therapy is frequently used to treat recovering addicts who have co-occurring conditions, such as bipolar or eating disorders.

  • Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT)

    During DBT, severe mental illnesses are treated in conjunction with an addiction problem. This therapy aims to improve self-esteem, encourage recovering addicts to remove triggers from their life and provide skills to manage stress.

  • Faith-Based Treatment

    Faith-based treatment centers provide individuals who value religion with specialized programs and facilities that center around faith and spirituality. Within this type of treatment, recovering addicts can surround themselves with likeminded individuals who are looking for guidance from a higher power to stay strong during sobriety. 

Addiction Support Groups

Support groups provide a community of individuals that offer encouragement and accountability throughout the recovery process. These groups are an instrumental part of staying on the right path once out of treatment, allowing for continued care after rehab.

Based on the Alcoholics Anonymous model, 12-step programs are the treatment standard in most rehabs. The steps encourage those in addiction recovery to accept their powerlessness over drugs or alcohol and get in touch with a higher power as a guiding presence to help with sobriety.

AA meetings provide a group of individuals that can all relate to one another on some level about their addiction to alcohol and how this has impacted their life. Most AA meetings take place daily or weekly in a local setting, such as a church or community building. Open meetings encourage family members or loved ones to attend while closed meetings are only for those in recovery themselves.

NA is a support group modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. It provides a community of support for those recovering from other drugs besides just alcohol. Members of NA motivate each other to stay committed to sobriety and avoid falling back into patterns of abuse. Meetings typically involve individuals sharing their stories of addiction and recovery.

SMART is a popular alternative to 12-step support groups. It teaches recovering addicts strategies to control addictive behaviors by addressing the underlying thoughts and feelings attached to substance abuse. SMART recovery utilizes a “4-point” program with steps that can be completed in any order.

Resources For Loved Ones

It can be incredibly difficult to watch someone you love battle an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Fortunately, there are various outlets in place to assist family or friends through the process of intervening, finding a treatment center and joining supportive communities.

  • How To Stage An Intervention

    An intervention takes place between loved ones and an addict and is often supervised by an intervention specialist. The idea behind an intervention is to help loved ones express their feelings in a constructive way and encourage the addict to enter a treatment program.

  • Al-Anon

    Al-Anon is a support group for friends and family members of individuals that have an addiction to alcohol. The mission of this group is to show loved ones that they aren’t alone in their struggle and to provide them with effective methods of how to treat an addiction as a family illness. 

How Do I Find A Treatment Center?

There are hundreds of addiction treatment centers across the U.S. that provide specialized treatment and care for those who are struggling. Whether you want to stay local or travel, there’s a rehab that can help you overcome your addiction.

Top 10 Treatment Centers: While there are many treatment centers to chose from, there are a few notable drug and alcohol addiction rehab facilities that stand out among the others and provide care options that are both time-tested and innovative:

Local Addiction Rehab In:

Or visit our treatment center map.


Sources & Author Last Edited: May 18, 2017

  1. American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse, Science of Addiction. National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2007.
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