Like other life-threatening diseases, addiction requires serious and immediate treatment. Learn about the recommended process. Then, ask our M.D. or Ph.D. doctors treatment questions at the bottom of this page.
Levels of Addiction Treatment
Just like you can go to your doctor for a quick visit or spend weeks in the hospital, there are different levels of care for addiction treatment.
|Level of Care||Time||Recommentation|
|3-10 Days||Recommended to stay safe and avoid relapse during withdrawal|
|~30 Days||Recommended to get to the root of the issue so you are able to stay sober|
Intensive Outpatient Program
|6+ Weeks||Recommended to avoid relapse when the risk of relapse is highest|
Outpatient Program, Therapy
|As-Needed||Optional any time you feel triggered or low|
Medication-Assisted Treatment, Suboxone Maintenance
|3-12 Months||Optional if there is chronic relapse opioid relapse|
|Sober Living||1-12 Months||Optional to build support and have accountability when the risk of relapse is highest|
Detox relieves withdrawal symptoms, reduces cravings and prevents complications while drugs and alcohol leave your system.
Detox is not like doing it on your own.
- Medications with similar properties as the abused drug(s) are given in minimum doses and continually decreased based on progress.
- Other medications help manage specific symptoms — like beta-blockers to curb a fast heart rate.
- Vitals and well-being are monitored by medical professionals.
- You are relaxed, hydrated, nourished and attended to, especially at a rehab instead of a hospital.
A detox evaluation is part of rehab.
- Detox is required when a “cold-turkey” approach causes vomiting, seizures, hallucinations, blood pressure issues, panic or heart attacks.
- Risks increase each time the drug is started and stopped.
- Alcohol, heroin, “benzos” and prescription pain pills need a full detox, but drugs like marijuana or meth may not.
You’re still mentally addicted (and spiritually beat down).
Detox gets drugs and alcohol out of your system, but it doesn’t stop you from putting them in again. Go directly to rehab to find the happiness and peace that makes you want to stay sober.
Your Options for Detox
With medical detox, you’re comfortable rather than feeling miserable, so you want to continue treatment.
Rehab provides around-the-clock clinical, medical and social support. It has the highest rate of long-term success.
Rehab is so much better than people think.
- The majority of time is spent in therapy — whether group, 1-on-1 or family sessions.
- Specialized therapies — like art, music and equine — are also worked in.
- Relaxation activities like yoga, meditation or exercise balance the emotional therapy sessions.
- You also have self-reflection journaling during downtime.
- Recovery meetings are recommended.
- You see the medical team regularly to stabilize your medications and any physical symptoms.
- You learn to have fun and socialize without drugs or alcohol. (Seriously, patients have fun here).
You focus on getting well without distractions of everyday life and with 24/7 support.
Most people try support groups or outpatient therapy first — usually several times. Sobriety will be short-lived without getting to the core of the issue. While rehab may feel “extreme,” it’s just a few weeks of the rest of your life.
The Top Rehab Centers in the Country
Rehabs offer detox and help with all outpatient planning, so just focus on finding a good rehab.
IOP is therapy that happens while living in the “real world” with a 9-11 hour weekly commitment.
IOP works around work or family obligations.
- You come into a clinic 3-5 days per week while you live at home or sober living.
- You address the same issues as inpatient rehab but without 24/7 supervision.
- IOP involves drug testing, one-on-one therapy, group therapy and medication evaluations.
IOP is for after rehab.
Everyone transitioning from the shelter of rehab needs outpatient treatment, starting immediately after you leave. If you’ve been to rehab before, follow-up is likely what tripped you up. Positive reinforcement helps you voluntarily avoid drugs or alcohol — until the risk of relapse decreases.
If insurance was used for rehab, IOP is likely fully covered. The extra support comes at no cost to you.
Learn more > What is IOP
Other Treatment Options to Add to Your Treatment Plan
(Not substitutes for detox, rehab or IOP above)
Addiction Treatment Methods
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the main focus of addiction therapies. CBT involves changing thinking patterns. You learn to recognize distortions in your thinking that are creating problems and reevaluate them in a healthy way.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) – DBT is a form of CBT for intense emotions to help you understand, accept and manage difficult feelings.
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) – MBCT combines CBT with meditative practices to stop negative thinking rather than analyzing it.
Add-on therapies effective for addiction:
Medications for Addiction Treatment
Though not a “cure” for addiction, medications can be life-changing in the beginning by removing physical cravings and rebalancing the body. You don’t need to come in knowing what medications will be best. That’s the physician’s job. You just need to encourage your loved one to be open to medications and bear with the process until they get a medication (or combination) that help.
For Opioid Addiction
In addition to Naltrexone, these medications are also FDA-approved to treat heroin/pain pill addiction:
- Buprenorphine+Naloxone (Subutex, Suboxone, Probuphine, Bunavail, Cassipa, Sublocade, Zubsolv) helps prevent withdrawal symptoms by replacing the effects of opiates with a lesser effect that does not produce a “high.” This is typically administered for 7-10 days, though those with chronic relapse may be recommended for a longer maintenance program. This medication is addictive but poses a much lower risk than the abused drug.
- Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose) is a more dangerous version of Suboxone that is never recommended.
Additional medications help manage withdrawal symptoms during detox. Clonidine (Catapres, Duraclon, Kapvay, Nexiclon) is the most common, along with Methocarbamol (Robaxin), a muscle relaxer.
For Alcohol Addiction
While Naltrexone is the first choice, the following medications are also FDA-approved for alcoholism:
- Acamprosate (Campral) reduces symptoms of long-lasting withdrawal and cravings, such as insomnia, anxiety, restlessness and feeling unwell. It must be taken three times a day.
- Disulfiram (Antabuse) interferes with the body’s ability to absorb alcohol. Instead of feeling “good”, alcohol causes unpleasant reactions like nausea and possibly be dangerous. Those who have shown the ability to stay sober for an extended period with recent relapse are ideal candidates.
- Topiramate (Topamax, Qudexy) is an FDA-approved medication for seizures that is used “off label” to also reduce alcohol cravings due to initial promising research.
For Underlying Issues
All other physical and mental health issues (like depression and anxiety) need to be treated to stay healthy long-term.
Common mental health prescriptions include:
- Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem) or Bupropion (Wellbutrin) for depression
- Aripiprazole (Abilify) for mood and bipolar
- Trazodone (Oleptro) or Hydroxyzine (Vistaril, Atarax) for sleep and anxiety
- Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva, Brisdelle) or Sertraline (Zoloft) for major depression, PTSD, OCD
- Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) for mood stabilization
Paying for Addiction Treatment
Health insurance covers addiction treatment, including Medicaid. The cost you will pay is specific to just your policy and includes factors like your deductible amount and how much you’ve already paid for healthcare this year. Click below to learn more about your options.
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