Types of Drug Treatment Programs

types of drug treatment

When looking for help recovering from addiction, you may notice there are a ton of terms thrown out there. There are many different types of drug treatment programs, each offering advantages and disadvantages. Whether you’re looking at a private drug rehab or a faith-based or county-funded program, it can be useful to know what these different programs offer and which may be most beneficial for you or your loved one.


Detox is often the first stage of treatment and recovery. Drug detox is the process of getting the drugs or substances out of your system. With some drugs, this may mean simply trying to stay comfortable through the process. With other drugs, such as benzodizapines, the withdrawal process can be really unpleasant and even dangerous.

At a drug detox, professionals will help you get through withdrawal with minimal discomfort. Of course the experience may still be unpleasant, but a detox facility will help you get the drugs and alcohol out of your system with as much ease as possible. Sometimes medications may be prescribed to help manage symptoms, and many times the individual is offered therapy and support while withdrawing. This is a vital stage of the process, as detoxing on your own can be uncomfortable, trigger intense cravings, and even be dangerous in many cases.

drug addiction treatment methodsResidential Treatment

After detox, many people go to a residential treatment center. Sometimes referred to as inpatient treatment, this is where the individual lives in the location in which they are receiving treatment. This is often either a residential setting or a hospital/clinical setting. Residential is often the first real stage of treatment for substance abuse, where the individual begins to investigate their addiction, its causes, and how to move forward and lead a healthy and sober life.

The benefit of residential treatment is that the individual doesn’t have to worry about outside issues. Rather than being faced with the temptation of using friends, situations which cause stress, and everyday obligations, the person is offered the opportunity to focus completely on themselves. The isolation from the outside world may be scary or difficult, but it is a wonderful chance to really focus on oneself and begin to recover.

Partial Hospitalization

A partial hospitalization program, or PHP, is a step down from residential treatment. In PHP, individuals often live at one location while completing treatment in another. The residence is often some sort of structured sober living home, where individuals have rules, a community, and support. The clinical side offers programming aimed at helping people recover, and may include cognitive behavioral therapy, process groups, twelve-step, and other modalities.

One of the benefits of PHP treatment is that individuals are allowed a bit more freedom often. This can be a good step-down program for people coming out of residential treatment, helping to re-integrate the person back into the real world. The downside is that this new freedom often brings relapse, the availability of drugs, and other harmful behaviors. This new opportunity for unwholesome behavior can help the individual build resiliency and learn to cope, but it is definitely a period of testing for many newly sober individuals.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient rehab is like PHP, but often involves less programming. There are outpatient programs called IOP, which means intensive outpatient programs. IOP often involves more groups than regular outpatient, but the principle is the same. Like PHP, individuals do not reside where they receive treatment. They may live in a sober living home or on their own while receiving treatment. Outpatient allows the person the opportunity to get help for their addiction without the time commitment of residential or partial hospitalization programming.

The benefit of outpatient drug treatment is that individuals can begin to re-integrate into daily life. Many people in outpatient treatment begin looking for work, going back to school, and progressing with building a new life. You may also have the opportunity to engage with family more and have the freedom to do what you wish. This can be a huge benefit, but also carries added risk.

Sober Living

Sober living homes offer a place to stay while newly sober. Although they don’t really qualify as a type of treatment program as they don’t offer true treatment or clinical care, but it is a type of drug treatment program in that it is often incorporated into a continuum of care. Sober livings give the individual a safe place to stay where they can learn to be sober and interact with the world while having a safe and supportive environment.

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