Addiction Treatment Options | AspenRidge Recovery

Addiction Treatment Options: Levels of Care and Therapeutic Approaches in Rehab Explained

Therapeutic Interventions

A therapeutic intervention is an attempt made by one or more people to help someone who struggles with addiction. This is one of the initial steps in addiction treatment. It usually takes the form of a conversation between the addict and several of their family members or friends. While not all recoveries start with an intervention, they can be a necessary way to confront the problem of addiction. If performed properly, interventions do not threaten the addict but help to steer them toward the path to recovery.


Detox is a necessary step in any form of addiction treatment. This is the process through which the addict rids their body of the chemical that they’re addicted to. During the detox period, patients may experience withdrawal symptoms. As withdrawals are often painful and potentially dangerous, many addicts choose to detox in a treatment facility. During a medical detox, a doctor will supervise the addict as their body withdraws from the drug. This process can take several weeks, depending on the severity of the addiction. Detox is often carried out as part of an inpatient treatment program. After detoxing, addicts will live in or regularly attend the treatment center.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Substance Rehab

Two of the most common forms of addiction treatment are inpatient and outpatient rehab. Addicts may seek or be required to rehabilitate using one of these treatment methods. Whether a patient chooses to attend an inpatient or outpatient program depends on a number of factors. The severity of an addict’s life and addiction, as well as the cost of the program, will usually inform their choice of treatment. The amount of supervision and number of responsibilities range in both inpatient and outpatient centers. Each program requires a range of scheduled check-ups and therapy sessions. Some programs allow the patient to schedule their own sessions while others are based around a regimen administered by an addiction specialist.

Levels of Care for Substance Abuse

When it comes to addiction treatment, there are four main levels of care. Each level is defined by the amount of scheduled time a patient spends in rehabilitation facilities and the amount of attention they receive from a medical professional. The four levels of care are as follows:


Level 1—Outpatient programs: An outpatient program (OP) is a form of addiction treatment in which patients attend regular rehabilitation sessions but don’t live within the treatment facility itself. They may be required to attend up to ten hours of treatment each week. Those going through an outpatient program will usually attend individual and group therapy.

Level 2—Intensive Outpatient programs: Addicts working through an intensive outpatient program (5-Day IOP) will live outside of the treatment facility itself. However, they will attend more than ten hours each week of scheduled treatment. These sessions will include individual or group therapy sessions. Intensive outpatient treatment commonly follows a period of hospitalization.

Level 3—Medically-monitored intensive inpatient programs: Monitored inpatient programs are a residential form of addiction treatment. The patient will live in a rehab facility. During this period, the patient will frequently meet with doctors. They will be under the supervision of an addiction professional for twenty-four hours each day. The patient will attend scheduled rehabilitation sessions such as group or individual therapy.

Partial Hospitalization Rehab Programs

Partial hospitalization programs (Day Program) are a middle-ground between inpatient and outpatient rehab. In some cases, Day Programs may be the same as, or overlap with, intensive outpatient programs. Patients do not live in the facility while being treated in a Day Program. However, they are required to spend their days in a treatment facility. Usually, a Day Program patient will attend around eight hours of support groups, therapy and counseling sessions each day of the week. These programs often work well for certain addicts. They allow for the patient to attend to family needs and work part-time jobs if necessary. At the same time, they provide the patient with the intensive support and therapy needed to recover from an addiction.

What is Rehab Aftercare?

It is common for recovering addicts to attend an “aftercare” program after completing rehab. Aftercare is intended to help patients transition from their rehab regimen back into everyday life. This usually involves continued therapy and support as well as regular check-ups with an addiction specialist. In some cases, the aftercare program may require that patients remain clean of substances for a certain amount of time before enrolling. Aftercare is a method used to reduce the risk of relapse. While patients who attend a residential program do attend aftercare post-rehab, it is more commonly used to help inpatients with their transition. Inpatient rehab, after all, usually comes with a strictly regimented schedule. Therefore, aftercare is a useful tool in helping them stay sober once they start to live on their own again. Common forms of aftercare are:

Housing in a rehab facility: Some treatment facilities will offer short or long-term housing. This is different than inpatient rehab. Whereas an inpatient program implements a strict schedule on the addict, aftercare will give them more freedom while still providing support. In-house aftercare programs will often allow the addict to hold a job outside of the facility. They will also bring in guest speakers or program alumni to help with recovery.

Sober living homes: Sober living homes are a very common form of aftercare. They are designed to be supportive living environments for recovering addicts. Sober homes are usually not required, but offer addicts an opportunity to live with other people in recovery. The members of each sober house usually share domestic responsibilities, hold jobs outside of the house and work together on transitioning back into everyday life.

Outpatient aftercare: Intensive and first-level outpatient rehab can be forms of aftercare in themselves. As an addict graduates down from the third level of treatment, they often find that outpatient aftercare provides the support needed to recover. Outpatient aftercare can be helpful in minimizing the risk of relapse. It can be a great way for addicts to develop the skills they need to remain sober.

12-Step Programs

No matter which form of treatment an addict chooses, 12-step programs are often used in rehabilitation. These programs are named for their structure, in which addicts work through a series of “steps” to become (and remain) sober. There a variety of 12-step programs available, each catered to a different addiction. 12-step meetings are held in both treatment facilities and in public places. They can be open-invitation or relegated to members of a certain organization. At the heart of any 12-step program, however, is a focus on self-observation, compassion for others and moving forward toward a sober life.

Forms of Addiction Counseling

One of the key aspects to addiction treatment is counseling. Drug rehab counseling comes in many forms. Patients at a treatment center will usually attend several different types of counseling sessions, depending on their specific needs.

Individual counseling: Individual counseling is a necessary step for recovering addicts. Working directly with a counselor, therapist or addiction specialist, addicts are able to discuss their experiences and work toward sobriety. This is an especially helpful form of counseling for new addicts who are uncomfortable talking about their addiction with groups.

Group therapy: Discussing addiction and experiences with other addicts is useful in recovery. Addicts are able to share feelings and help each other work toward a sober life. There are currently a few types of group therapy used in treating addiction. 12-step programs, for example, are one popular model. Treatment centers often hold group therapy sessions where all of the residents meet to discuss recovery.

Family counseling: Family counseling, also called “family therapy”, aims to treat the wounds that addiction can cause to every member of the family. In this form of counseling, the addict and their family will meet to discuss the way the addiction has impacted their life. A doctor or addiction specialist will facilitate the conversations.

Approaches to Therapy

Therapy is integral to any strong rehab method. There are a number of forms used in addiction treatment. Therapy may be required by the chosen program or sought out by the addict themselves. Some people choose to stick with one form of therapy while others use them in combination. Common options for therapy include:

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is used in treatment to help the addict identify the problems at the root of their addiction. These problems may include trauma, certain behaviors or emotions and triggering situations. Through the use of psychotherapy, addicts are often able to develop life skills for coping with their addictions.

CBT: In cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), patients spend time confronting the unhealthy thought patterns they experience on a day-to-day basis. By working to recognize these patterns, addicts can start to shift the way the think. The goal of CBT is to equip addicts with the mental tools they need to stay sober on a daily basis.

DBT: Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is somewhat similar to CBT. It focuses on the management of stress, particularly during high-stress situations. DBT is helpful in teaching addicts how to relax and maintain control over their emotions as they encounter problems in their lives.

EMDR: Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, commonly known as EMDR, focuses on working through trauma. The root of many addictions is a traumatic experience. Because trauma has disruptive effects on the psyche, patients who’ve lived through traumatic experiences often encounter inner turmoil when faced with a high-stress situation. EMDR is a process intended to help addicts cope with such situations. EMDR works by targeting the type of situations that trigger a person’s traumatic thoughts. A doctor works with the patient to redirect those thoughts. This can be a helpful way to minimize the symptoms of trauma and prevent an addict from relapsing.

What is the Best Addiction Treatment Option for Me?

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, it can be tough to choose the right rehab option. It can also be difficult to find the best form of therapy and counseling. Luckily, addiction specialists and rehab professionals can help you to find the right option for your case. As medical doctors, licensed therapists and certified counselors, they can help you to develop the best plan for recovery. They will be able to diagnose the problem and determine the best form of treatment. Recovery is a difficult process, but the right form of rehab can help addicts to find the road toward a longer, happier life.

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