Futures Recovery Healthcare

Understanding Different Types of Addiction Treatment


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Addiction treatment is one of the most common ways someone with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) or substance use disorder (SUD) gets help to begin their recovery process from alcohol or drugs. Drug treatment or addiction treatment is the process by which an individual works with professionals to stop compulsively seeking and using drugs, including alcohol. 

Treatment programs can include a variety of different settings, approaches, and last for different amounts of time. The treatment program that is best for one person may not be the best for another. Deciding upon what type of addiction treatment is best for you or a loved one should not only include a look at your own or your loved one’s specific needs and circumstances but also involve the advice of a professional with experience in this area.

Within each type of addiction treatment program, there are some common approaches used. These include the use of evidence-based therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management, dialectical-behavior therapy, group therapy, 12-Step approaches, family therapy, medication-assisted treatment, detox, and more. The first step to finding the most effective treatment plan is to understand the options.


Residential or inpatient treatment, whether long or short-term, provides 24-hour, round-the-clock care in a non-medical setting. In this type of treatment modality, patients generally stay anywhere from 30 days to up to 12 months. In some cases, there are longer stays recommended. How long each person stays in residential or inpatient treatment is specific to their unique situation and needs. When it comes to addiction treatment, it is not a one size fits all approach.

Generally, the first step in residential treatment is the detox phase. During this part of addiction treatment, the individual is safely detoxed from alcohol or drugs or both. Detoxing means ridding the body of the toxins, which, in this case, is drugs or alcohol and many times both. When a person has been using alcohol or drugs regularly for extended periods of time it can be dangerous—even fatal—to suddenly stop using them. For this reason, it is highly recommended to detox in a medically-supervised setting with treatment providers who can help navigate this challenging time and work towards your recovery journey.

Many times individuals who try to go it alone when it comes to detoxing from alcohol or drugs will relapse. This is because the withdrawal symptoms can be so uncomfortable they are driven to use the drug to find relief. Today, there are certain medication-assisted treatments that can help to ease these hard to manage acute withdrawal symptoms and make it easier for the individual to get through this first, essential stage of their recovery process.

Many of the residential treatment programs also offer detox and stabilization programs. When looking for an addiction treatment facility, it’s a good idea to be sure they also have a detox program. Being able to undergo detox and smoothly transition in the same addiction treatment facility to the next step makes it easier and less stressful for all involved but most especially the person who needs help.

Residential or inpatient treatment for alcohol or drugs usually follows the Therapeutic Community (TC) model. In this model for addiction treatment, the focus is on healing the individual and resocialization. This involves numerous parts of the community including other residents, staff, and social contexts. This model works on the premise that the person with the alcohol or drug problem has social and psychological deficits that lead them to compulsively use drugs or alcohol. The TC model used frequently in residential treatment programs focuses on the individual learning personal accountability and responsibility.

These inpatient programs are highly structured and guide the individual to examine their own hurtful beliefs, damaging self-concepts, and self-destructive behaviors. Once these are uncovered, the individual is taught new, healthier ways to cope and interact with others. For most, this takes some time and some work. Longer stays in residential programs allow more time for the individual to work through all of these before going back out into the ‘real world’ with its triggers and temptations.

No matter how long the individual stays in an inpatient treatment program, it’s imperative to have support established outside of treatment. Sobriety and living in recovery from alcohol and drugs is a lifelong commitment and process. Hence, support outside of treatment is essential for long-term recovery. This can include supportive family and friends as well as active and regular involvement in support groups such as 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).


Outpatient addiction treatment is treatment for addiction that doesn’t involve the individual staying at the treatment facility 24 hours a day. There are different types and levels of outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment programs are best suited for someone who has extensive family or friend support or is unable to attend inpatient treatment due to family or job responsibilities they can’t leave.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

A partial hospitalization program or PHP is a step down from an inpatient treatment program and a level higher than intensive outpatient programs. During a PHP, also referred to as day treatment programs, an individual is at the treatment facility for about four to six hours a day but they go home at the end of the day. Usually, these programs allow for both individual and group counseling as well as medical services. A PHP is often recommended when an individual is leaving inpatient treatment or for an individual who continually relapses and needs a more intensive type of care and support for a successful recovery. 

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Intensive outpatient programs or IOPs require the individual to come to the treatment center several days a week for a few hours at a time. This varies by treatment center and each individual’s needs. Most IOPs provide group counseling while some offer individual counseling as well. In many of these programs, participants are drug tested regularly. These IOPs usually last for about 90 days.

Individual Addiction Counseling

In this type of outpatient addiction treatment, individuals meet one on one with a trained addiction counselor. During these sessions the individual works on identifying problematic thought patterns, beliefs, and behaviors. Working together with the therapist, they identify new ways to address all of these. In many cases, when an individual is in individual addiction counseling, they will also be asked to be involved in support groups like AA or NA as well. As mentioned, staying sober takes work and is an ongoing process. It’s vital to have support outside of treatment.

While this may seem appealing and less intense for someone considering treatment for addiction, it’s important to honestly assess each person’s situation and unique needs. For many, this type of outpatient treatment simply isn’t enough to help them get on the road to recovery.

Group Counseling

Group counseling is commonly used in both PHP and IOP programs as well as in residential addiction treatment programs. However, group counseling can be used as the sole source of treatment, depending on the level and severity of a person’s addiction. In group counseling, participants are led by a qualified therapist to explore much about addiction. Many share their current challenges as well as learn about triggers and how to handle them. Many times outpatient programs aim to educate the individual about addiction.


When it comes to addiction treatment many people want to take the easiest and less invasive approach possible. And while this is understandable, in the long run, this isn’t always what’s best. It takes work to get sober and more work to stay sober. Anyone who wants to get help for an addiction issue needs to understand this. It’s vital to take an honest look with a trained professional as well as trusted family members or friends to evaluate each individual’s situation and needs when it comes to addiction treatment options.

Any one of the above-listed treatments can work—and does work—when the individual in treatment is committed to getting and staying sober. While it may seem more appealing to attend a one-hour counseling session once a week, it may not be what you need. In these cases, taking the easier way only prolongs the suffering and the healing.

Futures Recovery Healthcare offers three different residential treatment programs; Core, Orenda, and Rise, as well as outpatient options. Additionally, Futures has a strong and vibrant alumni group offering support well after individuals leave treatment. This aftercare support is crucial for long-lasting recovery.

If you or a loved one are ready to learn more about the treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders, contact us online or call us at 866-804-2098.


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