Types of Addiction Treatments

Addiction treatments and modalities continue to evolve and diversify. Because addiction is so complex, treatment often includes a number of components like the individuals’ drug use, restoring relationships, and learning of the rewards associated with abstinence from drug use.

Treatments for drug abuse and addiction can be delivered in a variety of settings using behavioral and pharmacological methods. More than 14,500 drug treatment facilities in the United States offer counseling, therapy, case management, and other services to those who suffer from addiction.

Types of Addiction Treatments

Due to the complex nature of addiction and drug abuse, there are a variety of treatments that can be offered in outpatient settings. However, there are also residential treatment facilities that offer 24-hour support to those suffering from the side-effects of addiction and withdrawal.

Residential Treatments

There are two different types of residential treatment centers – long-term and short-term. Long-term treatment provides care 24-hours a day, in a non-hospital setting. Many residential programs offer a therapeutic community where individuals stay between 6 and 12 months. This type of therapy focuses on the “resocialization” of people and utilizes every component of the facility as active parts of treatments. This includes other residents and the staff. Addiction can affect social and psychological deficits and long-term treatments focus on developing accountability, responsibility, and productivity in their social lives.

Short-term treatment facilities are based on a 12-step approach. This type of program, originally designed for alcohol addiction, are modified to treat other types of substance abuse. A short-term treatment is between 3- and 6-weeks in a hospital-based clinic. However, short-term treatment is typically followed by outpatient therapy in group settings. After a clinical treatment has been completed, it is crucial for individuals to stay connected and engaged in treatment programs that offer support and encouragement. These programs are designed to reduce the risk of relapse.

Outpatient Treatments

Outpatient programs allow addicted individuals to live at home while getting treatment. It is less intensive than residential programs. This type of treatment allows individuals to learn about their disease, how to control it, and how to manage it without imposing severe restrictions on their lives.

Outpatient treatments can be broken into two categories: intensive or non-intensive.

  • Intensive Treatments: Intensive programs require individuals to participate in some type of therapy for at least 9 hours a week. Generally, this is divided into 3-hour segments, 3 days a week. However, some intense programs require almost 70-hours of participation in some form or another every week.
  • Non-intensive programs: As opposed to the intensive program, this treatment typically requires less than 9 hours per week of involvement. Non-intensive programs are usually for individuals who have completed an intensive or residential program, as a way to remain involved, but phased out of a long-term program. Non-intensive programs can last for up to 6 months.


Many addiction treatments include counseling as a common form of treatment methods. Counseling can be performed in two types of settings – individual or group sessions.

  • Individualized counseling focuses on stopping a drug addiction while also addressing other areas of impaired function due to the addiction, such as employment, family relations, and social activity. There is an emphasis on behavioral goals, coping strategies, and teaches ways to refrain from drug use and maintain abstinence.
  • Group counseling sessions utilize social reinforcement to promote drug-free lifestyles. Peer discussion offers encouragement and socialization to help individuals regain impaired function. This is often used alongside individual counseling sessions or behavioral therapy to achieve positive outcomes.


  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This type of therapy teaches individuals how to recognize moods and situations that may spark drug cravings. Therapists teach people how to avoid those triggers and replace those negative thoughts and feelings with healthy ones that will help individuals stay clean.
  • Family Therapy: When someone suffers an addiction, it affects their family as well. Successful treatments are achieved when strong relationships with friends and family are regained. Family members can be a powerful force to encourage change and can help heal the damage any addiction caused. Family therapy often results in lower relapse rates and helps children who were affected by an addicted parent.
  • Contingency Management Therapy: This type of therapy offers positive incentives to addicted individuals to stay clean. In an intensive treatment setting, this may mean more privilege, or vouchers to be used towards goods and services.

There is no single treatment program that suits anyone’s needs. A combination of therapies and treatments proves to be most effective for individuals who are addicted to drugs.

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