5 Phases of Addiction Treatment

Not all of those suffering from addiction need the same level of treatment. Severely-dependent individuals may need extended medical detox and inpatient therapy. Others may only need intensive outpatient therapy and follow-up counseling. The path to sobriety is different for everyone. This article covers the five main types of addiction treatment. The key is to find the ones that fit your needs and stay committed.

Isn’t Treatment Expensive?

The total cost of treatment can run in the thousands of dollars, but fortunately many addiction treatment centers accept most health insurance. Treatment is an investment in your health. The money you spend on treatment now will save you a stack of money in the future.  No matter which way you slice it, getting treatment is the less expensive route when it all shakes out.

The Levels of Care in Addiction Treatment

Substance misuse costs American society more than $ 200 billion a year in expenses related to the criminal justice system, healthcare, and loss in workplace productivity. Despite this, only 11.2% of Americans suffering from addiction ever seek treatment.

The five primary levels of addiction treatment are:

1. Medical detox
2. Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs)

3. Inpatient programs
4. Intensive outpatient programs
5. Counseling aftercare

You don’t have to complete all five levels for a successful recovery. In fact, many of them probably won’t be appropriate for you or your loved one.  Seeking a clinical evaluation for substance use is the best way to ensure you receive the appropriate treatment needed for your situation. 


1. Medical Detox

Medical detox is appropriate in severe cases of addiction. Patients may need extra care to take the edge off of withdrawals and avoid dangerous complications. Opioids, benzodiazepines like Xanax, and alcohol are the most likely to require medical monitoring. Withdrawals from these substances can include nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. During medical detox, doctors and nurses can administer I.V. fluids to keep you hydrated. They can also give you medications to make withdrawal symptoms more tolerable. Anti-nausea medications may be administered to help you keep food down. In the case of opioid addiction, opioid replacement therapy may be used to manage withdrawals. Methadone and buprenorphine are synthetic opioids that your doctors may prescribe. Withdrawals from alcohol and benzodiazepines can cause seizures in severe cases. Medical detox is the best place to be when seizures occur.

2. Inpatient Treatment

Following medical detox, your doctor will likely recommend that you enter an inpatient program. Most inpatient recovery centers require severe addicts to complete medical detox before starting the program. Inpatient treatment typically lasts between three weeks to two months, although most programs are four weeks long. Inpatient therapy is the most effective form of therapy. You live on-site and dedicate 100% of your time to recovery. One of the main benefits is that you’re removed from temptations to use. You aren’t allowed to leave the treatment center and have no access to drugs or alcohol. Experienced therapists lead multiple group and individual therapy sessions a day. You do exercises that encourage you to reflect on the patterns of addiction. Rather than trying to stay sober with the same habits, inpatient therapy offers you a chance to press the reset button on your habits and build new momentum going forward.

3. Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

Once the fog of addiction is cleared out of the way in inpatient, other underlying mental health issues may become obvious. Therapists may recommend that you enter a partial hospitalization program (PHP) to address treatment options in a controlled setting. You’ll receive treatment for your anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. PHPs allow you more freedom than inpatient. You’ll be able to leave the facility to see family and attend to business outside of treatment. Between 21 and 66% of people who are battling a substance misuse disorder are also battling a mental health disorder. Elderly addicts are significantly more likely to have concurrent mental health issues. Many addicts use substances to self-medicate their suffering mental health.


4. Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

Intensive Outpatient Programs are the most common form of alcohol and drug treatment. You attend them just like you would any other class. Most programs hold class three to five days a week and classes last one to two hours a session. Many require you to attend 12-step community support meetings. The main advantage of an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is that you get to live at home and go to work while attending treatment. IOP programs are usually much less expensive than inpatient programs since you don’t have the added costs of room and board.

5. Follow-Up Counseling

Once inpatient and outpatient programs are completed, it can be helpful to see an individual counselor who specializes in aftercare treatment of drug and alcohol misuse. A lot of the value of rehab programs is in the accountability they provide. You have a group of people who know where you’re at in recovery and who you can talk to when problems arise. Seeing a private counselor every week can help fill this void. If you can’t afford to see a counselor, consider attending AA meetings twice a week. The AA community offers a great opportunity to build relationships around sobriety.

The Danger of Apathy in Recovery

Once you’ve been done with outpatient therapy for a while, it can be easy to lose sight of what got you sober in the first place. There’s no “autopilot” setting for long-term recovery. You’re most at risk of relapse when you start to lose focus. That’s when old habits and negative mindsets can begin to erode the progress you’ve made. Ongoing aftercare through AA meetings and counseling are a great way to safeguard against sliding back into damaging relationships and risky choices.

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, Stonewall Institute Treatment Center is available to answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 602-535 6468 or email us at info@stonewallinstitute.com.