Treatment Types

Addiction Treatment Types Explained

We firmly believe that there is no one size fits all approach to addiction treatment.  While the most common form of treatment employs one-on-one counseling, group sessions and continued 12 step meeting attendance, other approaches do exist and are gaining in popularity.  Evidence based approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy show promising results.  Regardless of the approach you will find several types of facilities and several levels of care in our database.  These distinctions can sometimes be confusing but here is what you need to know to make an informed decision.

There are four basic facility types:

Hospitals with inpatient services – Most hospitals have some form of behavioral health or addiction services.  These services are usually short term, involving detoxification or temporary stabilization.  These services are designed to medically stabilize the person before they are transferred to residential or outpatient facilities.

Clinics or outpatient offices – These are small clinics or offices which provide counseling on an outpatient basis.  They may provide counseling with our without medications.

Mental health facilities – These facilities specialize in treating mental illness in addition to addiction.  These facilities usually provide intensive medical supervision and treatment for psychiatric issues.

Residential facilities – These facilities represent your typical 28 day rehabilitation center.  Clients live at the facility while they attend treatment.  There is usually less intensive medical supervision and counseling is is the main focus.  Some longer term facilities can last 4-6 months.

Levels Of Care

In addition to the type of facility, treatment is provided on a scale of intensity.  The lowest intensity treatment is Outpatient while the most intensive is Inpatient.  The cost of treatment is associated to the level of care which is needed.  When searching for treatment you should know what each of the terms mean.  Detoxification is usually the first step in treatment. Depending on the severity and type of addiction this can be done at a hospital or a residential facility.  After the detox phase clients are assessed for the level of care needed.


Not all individuals entering treatment will need to attend detox prior to beginning treatment.  The goal of detox is to medically stabilize the body prior to handling addiction with counseling or other forms of treatment.  Individuals needing detox usually fall into one of several categories.  They have underlying medical issues which could cause life threatening medical issues when the body withdraws from the substance, they are using benzodiazepines or alcohol, or they are physically dependent on  opiates or heroin.

It is especially important to be assessed by a medical doctor prior to stopping heavy alcohol or benzodiazepine use because a person can have seizures or other medical issues which can be life threatening with the body begins to withdraw.  However, any substance can have physical effects when use is discontinued so it’s important to see a medical doctor immediately upon entering treatment.


The inpatient level of care provides short term medical management and stabilization, usually at a hospital, for individuals who are having complications due to their drug use beyond what detoxification handles.  The goal of this level of care is to stabilize the patient so they can be transferred to a lower level of care.  This level of care is also the most expensive because of the 24 hour medical care and monitoring provided.  Some counseling may be provided, but generally this is limited to finding a residential treatment center for continued treatment.


Residential care is the most common form of treatment available.  This can be a short 28 day stay or a longer stay depending on the severity of the addiction.  While in treatment clients meet daily with counselors and other staff to address the behavioral component of addiction.  Client must usually have completed detox and/or inpatient services to be eligible for this level of care.  Generally the longer a person stays in a residential facility the higher the success rate.  Overall success rates vary, but several studies have shown that the length of treatment, rather than the type of treatment, indicated overall success.

Partial Hospitalization – Day Treatment

Despite the name this level of care usually does not take place in a hospital, rather it provides similar medical services.  In this level of care clients live at home and attend the treatment program daily or several times a week.  This form of treatment when coupled with sober living facilities has become known as the “Florida Model” of addiction treatment.  There are many experts which suggest that individuals in this type of treatment would likely have better outcomes in a purely residential facility.  However, the lower costs associated with providing treatment at this level of care has made it a popular choice.


This is the lowest level of care.  Clients live at home and attend meetings 2-3 times a week.  Treatment consists of counseling and working on life skills.  When following a residential program this can be effective in helping prevent relapse.