Types of Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

Clinically Reviewed by Linda Whiteside, LPCC

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson, MD

Types of Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

Table of Contents

Types of Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

Substance abuse is a global problem that affects people of all ages, genders, and cultural backgrounds. It impairs a person’s ability to make decisions and perform daily tasks.

Willpower alone is rarely enough to break an addiction once it has established a foothold. The good news is there are many different kinds of programs and treatments for drug and alcohol abuse that help people in their recovery process.

If you or your loved one is ready to get help for substance use disorder, find a life-changing addiction treatment program that encompasses all your needs.

Types of Drug Rehab Programs

Individuals seeking treatment for substance dependence may significantly benefit from an initial assessment or examination by an expert in the field of alcohol and drug addiction, such as a doctor, psychiatrist, counselor, or other qualified individuals with addiction treatment experience.

Several addiction treatment facilities are commonly used to treat patients with substance abuse. They are classified into two groups: inpatient rehab program and outpatient rehab program. Selecting an appropriate treatment type based on addiction severity is essential to improving the chances of a favorable outcome. 

Inpatient Addiction Treatment Programs

In inpatient treatment programs, individuals admit themselves into a controlled environment or a residential facility to address substance use disorder, co-occurring mental health issues, and other behavioral issues. Residential or inpatient rehabilitation programs demand more time and commitment than outpatient rehab. The duration of a typical inpatient treatment ranges from 28 days to 6 months.

Residential Treatment Centers

Residential centers offer round-the-clock medical and psychological support for individuals with serious mental health and behavioral issues. In residential programs, individuals are required to temporarily live in a facility where medical professionals can closely watch them.

They may live alone or with a roommate, eat meals at the facility, and participate in scheduled individual or group counseling sessions multiple times daily.

These programs can be helpful for those whose health is at risk if they remain at home or in a community where triggers exist. In addition, residential programs are for people who have not improved with outpatient therapy or require more intensive care after receiving inpatient psychiatric treatment.

Residential Treatment Centers

Short-term and Long-term Inpatient Programs

Short-term or long-term inpatient programs are geared toward helping people throughout the detoxification process and preparing them for life outside of treatment. According to American Addiction Centers, short-term rehabilitation programs often run for 28 days or less. Typically, short-term inpatient programs are beneficial for individuals who:

  • Previously attended rehab and experienced a brief relapse
  • Believe they are on the verge of relapsing and require a stabilization treatment
  • Are unwilling to enroll in a long-term treatment program
  • Suffer from a mild substance use disorder and plan to enroll in an outpatient facility
  • Do not require medical treatment and do not have a co-occurring disorder

Short-term and Long-term Inpatient Programs

Meanwhile, long-term inpatient treatment is a program that lasts 90 days or longer. The usual components of such programs are medical detox, peer support, behavioral treatment, and discharge planning. Long-term inpatient programs are suited to manage co-occurring mental disorders. These programs are beneficial to individuals who:

  • Have a history of long-term alcohol abuse or drug use, putting them in the category of “chronic users”
  • Have a co-occurring health problem or feel they have a mental health condition
  • Have a history of relapse after participating in short-term programs 
  • Need immediate medical attention

Outpatient Addiction Treatment Programs

In outpatient treatment programs, individuals may continue living in their homes and with their daily activities. Compared to inpatient care, outpatient care can be arranged around a person’s schedule, giving them more freedom and options while still meeting their day-to-day needs. They often visit a treatment facility, mental health clinic, or hospital at certain times and days of the week. The program runs for 90 days or more.

Outpatient treatment is often more affordable than a residential program. However, the degree of assistance provided may be less intensive. With an outpatient program, individuals can also live in a sober living home associated with their treatment center.

Intensive Outpatient Drug Treatment Programs (IOP)

Intensive outpatient drug treatment programs (IOP) provide more structure and support than typical outpatient settings. Typically, individuals attend three 3-hour IOP sessions weekly, totaling 9 hours per week.

However, other outpatient programs offer lengthier sessions per day or more sessions per week. Individual and group therapy, psychoeducation, relapse prevention, and other recovery skills classes are all central to these meetings.

People who do not require round-the-clock care, have access to a safe home and resources, and benefit from a structure will thrive in the IOP setting. IOP entails daycare, evening, or weekend programs that may provide comprehensive services.

Intensive outpatient programs are not advised for persons with severe addiction or co-occurring disorders. Since these cases generally call for more intensive therapy and round-the-clock monitoring, they are commonly prescribed inpatient care.

Partial Hospitalization Drug Treatment Programs (PHP)

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP), the most intensive outpatient treatment, aim to stabilize behaviors for individuals in early recovery.

Persons with complex medical and co-occurring mental disorders, or those who require a high level of medical care but do not need round-the-clock supervision, can get help from an interdisciplinary team composed of doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and other treatment providers.

PHP programs often involve 5 to 6 treatment sessions daily, for 5 to 6 days per week. Due to the time and effort involved, this type of care is normally delivered during non-working hours. Counseling in various forms (individual, group, or family) and a wide range of additional services (such as methadone maintenance treatment) are common elements of PHP programs.

Mutual Support Groups and 12-Step Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

Mutual support groups are groups in which participants help each other recover from substance dependence without professional therapy or guidance. These programs include behavioral, spiritual, and cognitive elements, such as 12-step programs.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the first 12-step program, having been established in 1935. It is a support group for those battling alcoholism. At AA gatherings, one person shares their story of dealing with alcoholism, finding the determination to get sober, and adjusting to life in recovery. During meetings, the speaker is given time to share their experience, followed by an open discussion among the attendees. AA pioneered the 12-step program for addiction rehabilitation, which is now widely used by other recovery meetings. The 12-step program provides a framework for reflection and development, facilitating positive life changes.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) was founded in 1953 to assist persons in recovery from drug addiction. NA is the second most well-known after AA and utilizes the 12-step program. NA meetings are casual, and there is no membership record. Anonymity is maintained to make sure that members can engage in meetings without fear of social or legal repercussions.

SMART Recovery

The self-management and recovery training (SMART) program is a self-help group that empowers individuals to recover from addictive behaviors. The SMART program encourages the appropriate use of FDA-approved medications and is founded on cognitive therapy. People who employ SMART Recovery may overcome their addictions and implement a self-directed lifestyle transformation. The SMART Recovery Program can be used alone or with other recovery techniques.

Other Peer Support Groups

There are many other peer support groups for various types of addiction, such as Gamblers Anonymous (GA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), and Marijuana Anonymous (MA). People who struggle with addiction meet regularly under the supervision of a trained peer support worker or facilitator to discuss their experiences and struggles. Peer support workers help individuals become and remain active in the recovery process, learn skills to live more effectively in their communities, and lower the probability of relapse through mutual empowerment, shared understanding, and respect.

Dual Diagnosis or Co-Occurring Disorder Rehab Treatment

Many people suffer from both mental illness and substance use disorder. Dual diagnoses, such as anxiety disorder and opioid use disorder, can make treatment more challenging. Nevertheless, by treating the whole person, integrating assessment and treatment for each condition improves the quality of care and health outcomes.

Dual Diagnosis or Co-Occurring Disorder Rehab Treatment

Integrated Treatment Approach

The integrated treatment approach is an evidence-based treatment program for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illnesses. At different stages, it utilizes counseling, motivational interventions, and other psychosocial treatments, among many others. Integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders is helpful for individuals from different backgrounds. 

The following are some of the benefits of an integrated treatment approach:

  • It offers people with mental illness the ability to learn about the complex interactions between drugs and their underlying mental disorder
  • It helps patients see how substance use is connected to other aspects of their lives by taking a psychological approach to their addiction and mental health problems
  • It assists patients in their recovery by offering holistic services like medication management and career counseling.
  • It provides individualized, group, or family therapy (or a combination of these) for people struggling with alcohol or drug abuse and mental illness.

Specialized Therapies for Dual Diagnosis Patients

It is challenging to manage patients with dual diagnoses (substance use disorder and mental disorder) because a lack of treatment for either condition may result in a relapse. However, there are specialized therapies tailored to specific health problems and require a multidisciplinary approach by a team of treatment providers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors.

Specialized therapies, such as a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI), are frequently used in treating mental disorders and substance abuse that occur concurrently. Support groups such as SMART Recovery Program and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) may also help address addiction.

Researcher Roger D. Weiss and his team employed a specialized therapy called integrated group therapy for bipolar disorder and substance use (IGT), which they developed to address bipolar disorder and substance use by formulating an individualized treatment plan. Its goal is to increase adherence to prescription drugs, promote abstinence, and recognize triggers and early symptoms to prevent relapse. Their study proved effective in both mental health and substance use outcomes. However, further research is needed to implement this type of therapy in the clinical setting. With this progressive study, there is hope that other researchers will follow suit in developing evidence-based therapies that address specific mental disorders.

Detoxification Programs for Substance Abuse

Detoxification Programs for Substance Abuse

Detoxification is a series of interventions used to treat addiction, withdrawal, and acute intoxication. It is the method of eliminating toxins from the system of a person with substance dependence. Detoxification comes in two types: medical and social. 

Medical Detoxification

In medical detox, healthcare practitioners assist persons experiencing withdrawal by keeping them under close monitoring and providing medication-assisted treatment to manage unpleasant symptoms. While detoxing from substance use disorders, it is important to have medical supervision because acute withdrawal symptoms can be quite harmful and life-threatening.

Medical detox centers usually offer emergency medical treatment if more serious issues arise during detox, such as seizures or high blood pressure. 

Social Detoxification

In social detox, individuals struggling with addiction receive counseling from trained professionals. However, they are not given prescribed medications to ease the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. Social model detox centers around the person’s well-being in terms of mental and physical health and drug abstinence. Individuals engaging in social detox have access to a qualified counselor and other trained specialists who can help ease their severe withdrawal symptoms. 

Behavioral Therapy for Drug Addiction Treatment

Behavioral therapy works to identify and modify harmful patterns of behavior. It is founded on the belief that all behaviors are learned and that individuals can change their taught behaviors. Treatment generally focuses on the person’s existing issues and how to change them.

Behavioral Therapy for Drug Addiction Treatment

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) incorporates behavioral techniques and cognitive therapy to address the underlying causes of thoughts and undesirable actions. Thoughts and beliefs are the focal points of treatment because of their impact on behavior and mood. The primary objective of CBT is to form habits of thought and action that improve quality of life.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) combines behavioral and cognitive strategies to help individuals learn to regulate their emotions, deal with challenging situations, and enhance their relationships with others. People also acquire the skills necessary to handle conflicts without taking them to a higher level. Despite its initial use in treating borderline personality disorder, DBT has now been found to be helpful in the treatment process of addiction.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a type of counseling that helps people find the drive to change their behavior for the better. Given the difficulty of making major changes in one’s life, this method is practical, compassionate, and time-bound. MI encourages individuals to change their behaviors and habits that are harmful to their health. It also helps people be ready for other treatment modalities.

Contingency Management (CM)

Contingency management (CM) is a form of behavioral treatment in which individuals are rewarded or reinforced for demonstrating positive behavioral change. It is founded on principles of operant conditioning, in which a reward is given to a person in addiction treatment for meeting certain goals. These goals include passing drug tests or remaining sober for a certain amount of time. If the desired goals are not achieved, the reward is withheld.

Contingency Management (CM)

Health Insurance Providers That May Cover Rehab Treatment

Understanding Your Insurance Coverage

Health insurance plans significantly vary in terms of the scope of coverage and the type of policy. In the United States, all health insurance plans provide coverage for mental health conditions, addictions, and substance abuse. In addition, the Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance providers cover alcohol and drug rehabilitation. This ensures that people will be able to receive alcohol or drug abuse treatment regardless of the health insurance plan they choose. Still, there are variations among health plans about the length of time they pay for rehab, the specific types of treatment they cover, and the treatment facility they pay for. Make sure the outpatient rehabilitation center or treatment services you choose accept your health insurance before making any commitments.

Get in touch with your rehab center or health insurance provider to verify if they cover your alcohol or drug addiction treatment.

Health Insurance Providers That May Cover Rehab Treatment

Common Health Insurance Providers

At NuView Treatment Center, recovery from drug or alcohol addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions is possible. Most health insurance companies cover our treatment programs:

Successful recovery from substance use disorder and mental illness is always possible. Treatment and recuperation are continuous processes that take place over time. The first step is to seek assistance. If you want to learn whether alcohol or drug addiction treatment programs are covered by insurance, call us at (323)307-7997 today!

Assistance Programs for Those Without Insurance

Although a large percentage of Americans have health insurance, many are still not covered by any insurance plan. Thankfully, these people have alternative options accessible, such as state-funded drug and alcohol rehab centers and charitable groups that fund free rehab. Many addiction treatment centers are also open and flexible to negotiate payment plans for those who wish to pay out of pocket.

In some instances, those who pay out of pocket to attend treatment require financial assistance. They can do so by negotiating a payment plan with their rehab facility, obtaining a personal loan, fundraising for medical expenses, and seeking financial help from close friends and family members.

If you do not have insurance and are unsure how to pay for addiction treatment, contact a facility that meets your needs. They will likely assist you in determining your options and guiding you toward the admissions process so you can attend a rehab program.

Assistance Programs for Those Without Insurance

Substance abuse treatment programs have many advantages, but the choice of recovery and a new life ultimately rests with the person receiving treatment. By attending treatment programs for substance abuse, you can break the cycle of addiction and relapse. Remember that you don’t always have to do it on your own. Support from other people— such as your doctor, addiction medicine specialist, therapist, support group, and family— can contribute to your addiction recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A dual-diagnosis disorder, also known as a co-occurring disorder, refers to a condition where an individual suffers from a mental illness and a substance use disorder simultaneously. It's a complex issue that requires comprehensive and integrated treatment strategies.

A dual-diagnosis treatment center specializes in concurrently treating individuals with mental health conditions and substance use disorders. These centers offer an integrated treatment approach, combining mental health services and addiction treatment, tailored to each individual's unique needs. This distinguishes them from regular treatment centers, which may focus solely on addiction or mental health, but not both.

A dual diagnosis program addresses a range of mental health conditions that can co-occur with addiction. These include but are not limited to, anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Recent trends indicate that many individuals struggling with addiction also have a co-occurring mental health condition. Recognizing and treating these disorders concurrently has become an important focus within the addiction services field, as treating recovering addicts' mental health is crucial for long-term recovery success.

Yes, an outpatient program can effectively treat dual-diagnosis disorders. These programs allow individuals to receive comprehensive treatment while maintaining their daily routines, offering flexibility that residential programs may not. Each patient's treatment plan is individually tailored to their unique circumstances and can include various therapies, medication management, and support services.

Addiction services provide detoxification, addiction counseling, group therapy, family therapy, and relapse prevention. These services work in tandem with mental health treatments to address the individual's overall well-being and aim for sustained recovery.

Yes, addiction remains a lifelong risk even after successful treatment. However, through comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment, individuals can learn coping strategies and develop a support system to manage these risks, leading to long-term recovery and improved quality of life. Regular follow-ups and participation in support groups can also significantly reduce the risk of relapse.

  1. American Addiction Centers. (2022, October 21). Short-Term Rehab Addiction Treatment Programs. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/short-term-rehab
  2. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 1997. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 24.) Chapter 5—Specialized Substance Abuse Treatment Programs. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64815/
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022, September 27). Peer Support Workers for those in Recovery. https://www.samhsa.gov/brss-tacs/recovery-support-tools/peers
  4. Subodh, B. N., Sharma, N., & Shah, R. (2018). Psychosocial interventions in patients with dual diagnosis. Indian journal of psychiatry, 60(Suppl 4), S494–S500. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_18_18
  5. Petry N. M. (2011). Contingency management: what it is and why psychiatrists should want to use it. The psychiatrist, 35(5), 161–163. https://doi.org/10.1192/pb.bp.110.031831

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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