Finding the Right Addiction Treatment Program

Admitting you have an addiction is hard to do. But it is the first step in getting help for your problem. The next step is to get help through treatment.

The purpose of addiction treatment is to help yourself or another person:

  • Stop your addiction.
  • Keep your addiction stopped.
  • Be productive at home, at work, and in society.

Path to improved health

There are several types of treatment available in most places. These are some of the most common.


This is the most intensive type of treatment. It is for people with severe addiction issues. You live at a specialized facility for an extended period of time. The amount of time depends on the facility and the type of treatment you need. Some people may just stay a few days at a hospital’s in-patient addiction recovery unit. Others may stay at an out-of-town facility for 30 days, or multiple months. Some private facilities offer programs that last 6 months or longer. The most common are typically 30-day programs.

These programs are good for people who have trouble staying sober on their own. They may need more structure and guidance. An inpatient program gives you a safe and stable place to stay while you focus on yourself. While living there, you attend individual therapy, group therapy, and classes. These teach you about addiction. They help you learn to live without your addiction.

Intensive Outpatient

An intensive outpatient (IOP) program provides the same therapy and education as an inpatient program. But the program lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 or more hours a day. This allows you to stay at home for the duration of treatment. You may have a family or commitments that prevent you from being able to go away for treatment. IOP could be a good option for you. Some programs run during the day. Others run in the evenings. This would allow you to continue to attend school or work uninterrupted.

Sober Living

Some people choose to live in houses or communities of people who are all in recovery. This gives them more accountability and structure than they may have at home. There are usually certain rules that must be followed. Residents often have chores or responsibilities within the house. They get to live on their own but still have structure and support from their peers.


In this treatment, you usually attend group therapy on a weekly basis. It may only be once a week. It could be 2 or more times a week, depending on the program. This is a good way for someone to learn how to manage their addictive behaviors. Another form of outpatient treatment is individual therapy with a counselor. These forms of treatment are recommended for people who have been free of their addiction for some time.

Support groups

Many people are familiar with free support groups that help people with addictions. Some of these are called 12-step groups. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Overeaters Anonymous
  • Gamblers Anonymous

Other groups that aren’t affiliated with the 12 steps include:

  • Celebrate Recovery
  • SMART Recovery
  • Secular Sobriety

These groups are usually free to anyone who has a problem. They can offer a lot of support for someone struggling with an addiction. Because they are peer groups, you can learn from the experiences of anyone in the group. You also gain a sense of community that can support you as you deal with your addiction.

Things to consider

There are a number of factors you will need to consider when choosing what type of addiction treatment is right for you. These include:

  • The severity of your addiction. If you struggle with your addiction every day, you may need residential treatment.
  • If you need to detox. Some substances are very difficult to stop, and medical detoxification is needed. These include alcohol and heroin. You’ll need to find out if the treatment option you are looking at involves detox.
  • If you have a co-occurring condition. These are mental or behavioral disorders that you deal with in addition to your addiction. These could include depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
  • What you can afford. Medical insurance will usually cover some forms of addiction treatment. You need to find out what your insurance company will cover before you make your decision. If your insurance doesn’t cover the treatment you need, you’ll need to decide how much you can afford to spend. Some treatment programs are willing to work with you. They may offer discounts if you pay cash up-front. Some offer sliding scales. Some programs, like 12-step programs, are free.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • How severe is my addiction?
  • What kind of treatment will be best for me?
  • How long should I be in treatment?
  • Do I have any co-occurring conditions that I should be treated for, too?
  • Can you refer me to a treatment facility?


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