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If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.

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Types Of Drug Rehab Centers

If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.

In this guide, you will find information about the various types of drug rehab centers. Read on to learn more:

About Treatment Centers

In terms of similarities, almost all of the drug treatment centers you will come across with have the following goals in common:

  • Achieving a life free of addictive and intoxicating substances
  • Maximizing the different aspects of a fully functioning life
  • Reducing or preventing the severity and frequency of relapse
  • Reducing substance abuse

In terms of differences, these programs will generally fall into either one of two broad categories - outpatient and residential (inpatient). Understanding both of these categories will help you know which one might be best suited to your particular needs and requirements.

Research on substance abuse and addiction treatment tends to classify programs into a couple of modalities or general types. Additionally, you should remember that individual programs and treatment approaches continue evolving and becoming diversified by the day. In the same way, some programs may not fit into the traditional classifications for addiction treatment.

However, most of these programs will start with medically managed detoxification and withdrawal, which is generally considered to the first stage of drug treatment. Detox, the shortened form of detoxification, is the process through which your body will get rid of the addictive and intoxicating substances you have been abusing.

It is typically designed to help your body and brain manage the sometimes potentially dangerous and acute effects that arise when you stop abusing alcohol and drugs. However, detox - in and of itself - cannot address all the behavioral, social, and psychological problems associated with substance abuse. Therefore, it is highly unlikely to produce the lasting behavioral changes required for full recovery. As such, you might have to follow detox with a formal assessment as well as a referral to a more comprehensive drug treatment center.

In the same way, detox is often accompanied by potentially fatal and unpleasant side effects arising from withdrawal. As such, it is usually managed using medications administered by the medical team at an outpatient or inpatient rehab center. When this happens, it is called medically managed withdrawal. The medications that are used mostly apply to addiction to barbiturates, opiates, alcohol, benzodiazepines, and other sedatives.

Finding The Right Addiction Treatment Center

If you struggle with substance abuse and addiction, it is important that you receive help as soon as possible. However, even before you look for the help you require, you may first want to understand how recovery works.

Essentially, dependency is complex - both psychologically and physically. To deal with alcohol and/or drug addiction in the most effective way, you should understand there is no universal or one size fits all approach. This is because everyone has their own unique problems that need to be considered to tailor a fitting treatment program.

  • That said, some of the issues you may face when you become dependent on drugs/alcohol include but are not limited to:
  • Any additional problems that need to be considered
  • The duration of your addiction; long term dependence, in this case, will require a different approach from short term dependence
  • The substances you are addicted to
  • Your budget for treatment

Since there are many different recovery centers providing a variety of programs, you might conclude that it is difficult to find the right type of center for your particular needs - which is almost always true.

Still, understanding your options may make it easier for you to uncover the right fit for your requirements and preferences.

Factors To Consider

Before jumping right into the popular drug and alcohol recovery programs currently available, you should remember that everyone is unique and different. As such, some people may make faster progress and enjoy easier recovery through rehab. Among these are addicts with a relatively stable support system back home - or after they check out of the rehab clinic. Others will require far less counseling and therapy than another patient who has no one to help them out once they are done at the drug treatment center.

Current research shows that long term inpatient rehabilitation is the best solution. However, this might not necessarily be an option for you. For instance, if you are a single mother and you are struggling with addiction, it might be difficult for you to check into a rehab facility for more than a few days - particularly if you have no one to leave your children with. You may also have to continue working to pay for the therapy and continue taking care of your familial obligations. In this situation, an outpatient program might be the only option - even though the rates of success may be lower than an inpatient program.

In the same way, you also need to consider your own preferences. Some patients, for instance would prefer to get treated at a luxury rehab facility that comes with all the comforts they have become accustomed to. Studies currently show that these programs are quite effective - both for patients who are already used to the lifestyle offered at such a facility and for those who are new to it. However, making this choice is more a matter of preference than of need.

So, what should determine the best drug abuse treatment option for you? As we mentioned earlier, treatment for substance addiction is never universal and most people benefit more when the approach is tailored to their specific needs and requirements.

That said, the following are some of the variables you may want to think about before deciding on the type of treatment that is most appropriate for you:

  • Co-existing medical conditions
  • Dual diagnosis or co-existing behavioral addictions or psychological conditions
  • If you abuse other intoxicating substances
  • If you need medical assistance for withdrawal and detox
  • If you need pharmacotherapy during rehabilitation
  • The type of intoxicating substances you used
  • The amount/frequency of substance abuse
  • The duration of the alcohol/drug abuse problem
  • The need for family/legal counseling/assistance and employment
  • The number of previous attempts at addiction treatment

As you continue looking for a drug treatment center that meets your needs and requirements, there are other additional factors that you need to consider - even though the decision of the best type of center for you would be better left to an expert at addiction treatment.

Still, you should ask yourself the following questions while choosing between different drug treatment centers:

  • Are there any special programs for different people (such as the type of substance I am addicted to, for LGBT people, along gender lines, for teens, or even for seniors, and so on)?
  • Can I keep on working while undergoing treatment?
  • Can I supplement the payments if my insurer can only pay for part of the treatment?
  • Do most of the counselors, nurses, and doctors have the credentials and qualifications in addiction medications and treatment?
  • Does the facility take care of dual diagnosis problems?
  • Does the facility use such specialized modes of treatment as alternative and complementary medicine and holistic treatment?
  • Has the practitioner or treatment center being publicly reviewed and can I read these reviews?
  • Is the drug treatment center close to my home or will I have to travel for detox and rehabilitation?
  • Will I be able to access medically assisted detox?
  • Will I have access to a private room?
  • Will I still have access to computers, phones, and email?
  • Will my insurance company be able to take care of the financial aspects of treatment?

As you continue looking around for the best drug treatment centers for you, it is essential that you find one that will provide you with full spectrum of care required to see you through to full recovery from your addiction.

There are, of course, other factors that you should take into account as you make a decision on the facility you will finally check into. A 2016 report published by Recovery Brands, for instance, showed that people leaving drug treatment centers said that they would consider the financial options open to them as a primary factor. Additionally, they reported that they would also check for the following:

  • Room options
  • Recreational activities
  • Food
  • Amenities

Others mentioned that they would think about the residential policies at the facility before committing themselves. These policies include:

  • Availability of internet and phone services/access
  • Privacy
  • Visitation

Different Types Of Rehab Centers

As you continue seeking treatment for your substance abuse and addiction problem, you may first want to get an addiction professional to perform an initial evaluation or assessment. Whether you get this done by an addiction counselor, psychologist, physician or any other qualified expert, the insight you receive will prove invaluable in bolstering your chances of success. This is particularly because they may be better placed to recommend the best type of drug treatment center for your particular needs.

ASAM (the American Society of Addiction Medicine) has a list of criteria that clinicians can use to match patients with the substance abuse problems they experience. According to this criteria for patient placement, there are 5 broad types of categories of substance abuse and addiction treatment.

The criteria further emphasizes that the best type of treatment should be provided continuously and that monitoring outcomes before, during, and after the drug treatment can determine if you would benefit from less or more intensive types of treatment falling on ASAM's scale.

Most of the categories classified in this criteria reflect the different types of addiction treatment as well as the varying levels of intensiveness you would find when you choose to seek help. These include:

1. Residential/Inpatient Treatment Centers

Residential Centers Allow Patients to Focus on Healing Round-the-Clock

Residential drug treatment centers are designed to allow you to focus on full recovery and healing by providing round the clock care. With this type of treatment, you will be required to live in the center for a relatively extended time period - generally longer than 30 days but shorter than a year.

The inpatient arrangement may, therefore, enable you focus on your recovery because you will be living outside your normal everyday setting. In most cases, you will also be put in a serene environment that can easily support recovery, healing, and reflection. Additionally, there will be caring and qualified professionals close at hand as well as other patients on the road to addiction recovery - and you can fall back on them for support.

After you check out of the residential facility, you may be given a follow-up plan for relapse prevention. For instance, you might be encouraged to follow a specific plan of behavior when you get discharged which specifies the number of meetings you should attend, getting support from sponsors and therapists, among other requirements.

Inpatient rehab can further be classified into the following modalities of treatment:

a) Long-Term Residential Treatment

Long term inpatient programs tend to last longer than 60 days. In the industry, they are considered to be the gold standard for rehabilitation since there is a lot of evidence showing that they achieve better results.

Since you will be living at the drug treatment center for so long, you may be able to focus more of getting better. You will also have fewer distractions from outside that could compel you to start using drugs or taking alcohol again.

Similarly, being in such a center will remove you from an environment that might have been promoting or sustaining your drug abuse. This is why the comprehensive and uninterrupted care you will receive has such high rates of success.

In the same way, most long term residential programs provide round the clock care but mostly in a non-hospital setting. The best known model of treatment is the TC (therapeutic community) that may require you stay for anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

The focus of this program will be on re-socializing you and enabling you to use the entire community of people you will encounter while undergoing treatment - including the staff, other residents, and the social context and active components of addiction treatment.

In long term rehab, your addiction will be viewed in relation to your psychological and social deficits. As such, treatment may focus on helping you develop personal responsibility and accountability so that your life can be more socially and economically productive.

Additionally, the treatment will be highly structured. However, it might be confrontational from time to time - especially with regards to the activities, some of which might help you examine destructive and damaging self-concepts, beliefs, and patterns of behavior. Conversely, you may end up adopting new, more constructive and harmonious ways of interacting with others.

Most TCs today offer comprehensive drug treatment services - that may include support services and employment training. Still, the approach to treatment may also be modified to treatment people with special needs - including:

  • Adolescents
  • Homeless individuals
  • Individuals involved with the law and the criminal justice system
  • People with particularly severe mental disorders
  • Women

b) Short-Term Residential Treatment

Short term residential treatment, on the other hand, is based on anywhere between 28 and 29 days of rehabilitation. Although the 30 days (or less) might not be enough for you to achieve long lasting change, the program would be residential in nature. This may still get you out of your current environment of substance long enough for you to beat your addiction.

That said, short term drug treatment centers provide intensive - albeit relatively brief - treatment based on modifications of the 12 steps approach. The programs were initially designed for alcohol addicts. However, the cocaine epidemic (mid 1980s) compelled many of them to start treating disorders related to other intoxicating and addictive substances.

Originally, the residential treatment model took on the format of a 3 to 6 week inpatient treatment phase that was hospital based. This was followed by extended outpatient treatment as well as a requirement to participate in a self-help group - such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

After you check out of the short term residential center, therefore, it is essential that you continue engaging with outpatient treatment programs and aftercare programs. By so doing, you may be able to reduce your risk of relapse.

Both short term and long term inpatient rehab can further be classified into the following options:

i) Luxury Rehabilitation

Luxury rehabilitation facilities provide innovative treatment services and adopt evidence-based practices in their treatment. As you can well imagine, most of the programs tend to be expensive. However, they come with the added advantage of great levels of care due to lower staff to patient ratios - which is not always the case with a traditional rehab facility.

The additional funds also tend to make it easier for luxury rehab centers to formulate complete and comprehensive treatment programs around each patient - based on their particular needs, preferences, wants, and requirements.

ii) State Funded Programs

State funded programs are mostly the complete opposite of luxury rehab. Since they are funded by the state, it means that patients may not be required to contribute any money towards their treatment.

As such, it means that you may not have the benefit of the latest treatment options and innovations when you go to a state funded rehab facility. Additionally, the waiting period before you are able to check into the center may also be quite long.

iii) Private Rehabs

Most people with substance use disorders and addictions tend to check into a private rehab. Your insurance may make it possible for you to attend such a facility, although you might also have to pay right out of pocket.

Since the cost of treatment is quite high, it means that you may have some additional benefits, such as a lower staff to patient ration and short waiting periods. Similarly, the program may tailor the treatment to you.

iv) Intensive Inpatient Hospitalization

Here, you will receive fully supervised hospital based care around the clock. It works best for those with the most severe substance abuse and addiction problems, as well as for people with co-existing mental health or medical conditions.

In most cases, the intensive inpatient hospitalization may begin treatment for substance abuse if your psychiatric or medical state was seriously deteriorated when you were admitted. After that, you will receive medical intervention and close monitoring to ensure you return to a stable condition.

2. Outpatient Treatment Programs

Some people with substance use disorders may benefit from outpatient care. However, it is important that you have a honest and realistic outlook at your own condition before you choose this option.

That said, outpatient drug treatment centers provide most of the same options found in an inpatient setting. The only difference is that you will be able to go home at the end of each day. This is one of the main benefits as well as serious drawbacks to this type of treatment.

For instance, it will allow you to keep up with your responsibilities at home, school, and/or work and give you some level of freedom. At the same time, however, you might still be in an environment rife with triggers that could cause you to relapse.

Anyway, if you are completely unable to put your life on hold to check into an inpatient drug treatment center for a long time period, outpatient care might be your second best option.

Most of these programs, for instance, will still provide you with the same services you would receive at a residential center - such as detox and therapy, as well as group and individualized counseling. Some even offer mental health services as well.

Although both inpatient and outpatient treatment centers are designed to treat all the various types of substance abuse problems and addictions, an outpatient program may be ideal if your substance use disorder is less severe. Further, these programs tend to cost a lot less.

As such, you may prefer treatment on an outpatient setting if you lack the time and/or money for inpatient rehab. Additionally, you will be able to stay at home and keep up with your family and work demands. Of course, the duration and frequency of treatment will vary greatly - typically ranging from several hours of rehab and treatment a week to a couple of brief sessions.

Outpatient drug treatment centers also vary in terms of the intensity and types of services provided. However, if you check into a low intensity program, there is a high chance that you won't get more than basic drug education.

On the other hand, some of these models - including the intensive day treatment option - may be similar to a residential program in terms of effectiveness and services. Your choice will largely depend on your needs and characteristic.

Another form of outpatient therapy is partial hospitalization (also referred to as day treatment programs or intensive outpatient treatment). This option consists of most of the programs that you would receive on an outpatient basis. However, the services are administered somewhat more frequently or for more hours every day.

Additionally, partial hospitalization may accommodate you if you have co-existing mental health or medical problems. You will also be able to access most of the services available at inpatient drug treatment centers every time when you undergo rehab.

Drug Treatment Programs/Services

The above types of treatment can further include the following programs and services:

a) Individualized Drug Counseling

This type of counseling is designed to focus on stopping/reducing the abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs. Additionally, it addresses all other areas of impaired functioning - including social/family relations, illegal activity, and employment status. Through individualized drug counseling, you may also discuss the structure and content of your recovery program.

It often emphasizes on short term behavioral goals, which may help you develop the required tools and strategies to cope with your addiction and help you abstain from your favorite intoxicating substances. You may, additionally, be encouraged to participate in a 12 step program.

Last but not least, your counselor might make referrals for the much needed employment, psychiatric, and supplemental medical services that could help you overcome your addiction.

b) Group Counseling

Most drug treatment centers use group therapy so as to capitalize on social reinforcement through peer discussions and to promote a life free of drugs. Research shows that this type of counseling tends to achieve positive outcomes - particularly when paired with CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and individualized drug counseling.

c) Family Therapy

Family therapy sessions might include the participation of anyone who is significant and meaningful to the life of the addict - including siblings, parents, spouses, and significant others. With the permission of the patient, the family therapy sessions may occur either in person or through the use of technology for telephone or online sessions.

d) Recovery-Oriented Challenge Therapy

This type of therapy is provided in select facilities and comes with an experimental component. It is centered on activities where clinical professionals actively engage with the addicts.

Some examples here include skill building activities like games, equine therapy, ropes courses, outdoor activities, and group challenges. That said, this form of therapy is designed to help you identify your skills and strengths and build social support, as well as address basic issues in recovery. You may also learn and develop trust, accountability, boundaries, and self-care attitudes and habits.

e) Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication assisted treatment, otherwise denoted as MAT, involves the use of medications to treat addiction and substance use disorders. It is often used in conjunction with behavioral therapies and counseling.

f) Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, you may also suffer from another mental health problem. This condition may involve co-occurring disorders, and it is commonly referred to as dual diagnosis.

If you are dually diagnosed, you may have to check into a highly specialized drug treatment centers. The facility will provide integrated care by a team comprised of both addiction counselors and mental health professionals.

g) Treatment for the Criminal Justice-Involved

In some cases, you may be involved with the criminal justice system - which may present an opportunity for treatment and intervention before, during, or even after (or in lieu of) incarceration. This may decrease your substance abuse and the opportunities for engaging in related crimes.

f) Continuing Care

After you leave an inpatient or outpatient drug treatment center, you should always try to return if you feel that you need additional assistance. Since your life might be fragile and you may be susceptible to a relapse, it is essential that you have easy and fast access to immediate help - particularly in periods of crisis.

This is why most treatment centers tend to check in with former patients. These check-ins may alleviate potential problems and hardships, or even intervene before the situation becomes too serious and starts spiraling out of control.

As far as possible, even after recovery you should ensure that you are still connected to others who may help you - or who you may help. This could ensure that you are grounded and that you never forget how you struggled with addiction.

Even so, the best continuing care or aftercare plan should include steps for how and when to reconnect with the support and services you may need. You may, for instance, find that you need to return to the treatment center.

Alternatively, you might want to check into a sober living house or halfway house. This aftercare option will work perfectly because you will have your freedom and still be able to go to school/work or even participate in some recreational activities.


NIDA (the National Institute of Drug Abuse) reports that no single treatment or approach works universally for everyone with a substance use disorder. This is why there are so many different types of drug treatment centers today. Similarly, some of these approaches to treatment are used in tandem with each other.

Overall, however, as long as you ensure you are properly diagnosed and that you check into the right facility, you should be able to beat your addiction before it completely takes over your life. As always, the best time to get started is now.

Make the Right Choice. Get help NOW!

Getting treatment is vital to your success at beating addiction. Our addiction treatment specialists can help you find the right treatment choice for your personal situation.