Reimagining Treatment Options

When most people think of “treatment,” they often envision detoxification or a stay at a residential rehabilitation facility. However, it’s important to clarify that detox, also known as detoxification, solely tackles the physical symptoms of withdrawal and is not a comprehensive treatment. Furthermore, residential programs represent just one facet of the diverse array of addiction treatment options.

Treatment for substance use disorder unfolds in various settings, including inpatient and outpatient environments, and encompasses a spectrum of intensity levels. Typically, a treatment plan is carefully tailored to address not only the individual’s substance use but also their physical, psychological, emotional, and social challenges. In some cases, it may involve medications, such as those used to manage opioid use disorders.

Before making any decisions, it is essential to gain a clear understanding of what treatment entails, what it does not, and the wide-ranging options available to individuals seeking help.

Varieties of Addiction Treatment Programs

  1. Outpatient

    • Intensity: Low to Medium
    • Description: Clients participate in treatment for up to nine hours weekly (somewhat less for adolescents) at a specialized facility while residing at home. Many programs offer evening and weekend services to accommodate work or school commitments.
  2. Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

    • Intensity: Medium to High
    • Description: Clients engage in 10-20 hours of treatment per week (slightly less for teenagers) at a specialized facility while continuing to live at home. Evening and weekend services are often available, making it suitable for individuals with coexisting medical or psychological issues or those who have not succeeded in outpatient treatment.
  3. Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

    • Intensity: Medium to High
    • Description: Clients attend four to eight hours of daily treatment (totaling 20 or more hours a week) while residing at home. This option is commonly chosen when a structured and intensive experience is required, often for individuals with co-occurring mental illnesses.
  4. Residential (Rehab)

    • Intensity: Medium to High
    • Description: Residential programs deliver treatment within a residential environment and can last from one month to a year. Residents progress through various phases during their program, which may include limited contact with family during certain phases. Families should inquire about program policies, procedures, and additional services like education or vocational training.
  5. Inpatient

    • Intensity: High
    • Description: Treatment is administered in specialized units within hospitals or medical clinics that offer both detoxification and rehabilitation services. This option is typically reserved for individuals with severe medical conditions or mental disorders.
  6. Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT)

    • Description: For individuals with physical dependencies on specific substances, such as alcohol, nicotine, and opioids, medications may be incorporated into their treatment alongside counseling and other therapeutic services.

Varieties of Treatment Services

Individuals in treatment require a comprehensive array of services to effectively address the full spectrum of issues. If a specific service is not available within your child’s program, the program’s staff should assist your family in locating it elsewhere.

  1. Individual Counseling

    • Description: One-on-one counseling sessions to explore personal issues that an individual may not feel comfortable discussing in a group setting.
  2. Group Counseling

    • Description: Typically involves six to ten participants, with one or two counselors facilitating discussions about their struggles, experiences, and challenges.
  3. Educational Services

    • Description: Includes grade-appropriate or GED classes for teens still in school or those who may have dropped out, reducing disruptions to their education.
  4. Vocational Services

    • Description: Provides vocational aptitude and interest assessments, job skills development, resume assistance, and other work readiness skills.
  5. Life Skills

    • Description: Focuses on behavioral tools designed to help teens or young adults cope with daily life stresses and challenges. It also aims to boost self-esteem to better manage recovery.
  6. Mental Health Treatment

    • Description: For individuals with co-occurring mental illnesses, treatment for both substance use and mental illness is essential, ideally integrated into a single comprehensive approach. Treating one condition in isolation will not resolve the other.
  7. Family Services

    • Description: Family involvement is often a crucial component of treatment for teens and young adults. It helps family members understand addiction as a chronic illness, set realistic treatment expectations and goals, and enhance communication and overall family functioning.
  8. Continuing Care

    • Description: Sometimes referred to as aftercare or follow-up care, this involves treatment prescribed after completing a formal structured program in any setting. It provides crucial support for applying the skills learned in treatment successfully in real-world scenarios.

Support Following Treatment

Recovery from addiction encompasses more than mere abstinence from substance use. It involves enhancing one’s overall quality of life, achieving emotional and physical well-being, succeeding in education or employment, cultivating healthy relationships, and maintaining a vibrant social life. For most individuals, sustaining recovery necessitates ongoing support and services beyond their initial treatment plan. Common recovery supports and services include:

  1. Recovery or Sober House

    • Description: Transitional residences for adults 18 and older in recovery, often peer-led or staffed by a small professional team. These homes enforce abstinence rules and provide a structured environment.
  2. Sober Dorms

    • Description: For college-bound or college-enrolled teens and young adults, inquire about on-campus dorms dedicated to students in recovery or explore the process for establishing a sober dorm at the university.
  3. Recovery High Schools

    • Description: High schools that blend state-approved curricula with recovery support services. Ensure the school meets diploma-granting requirements.
  4. Recovery Support Groups

    • Description: Inclusive of 12-Step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), as well as non-12-Step groups like Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART). These groups foster camaraderie, support, and guidance, aiding individuals in maintaining their recovery journey. Find a group that aligns with your child’s comfort and preferences.