According to an addiction prevalence review study from 2011, researchers estimate that as many as 47% of Americans will struggle with some of the signs of an addictive disorder at some point during any given year.1 If you are among this number and are unable to stop abusing substances and regain control of your life on your own, then detox and rehab programs may provide the treatment you need.
Detox centers help people safely withdraw from drugs and alcohol in a controlled environment, after which many of them continue with or enter some form of rehab that lasts between a couple of weeks to a couple of months. There they receive some combination of individual and group counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and support groups to aid them in their recovery.
Many people who complete addiction treatment stop using drugs or alcohol and improve their overall wellbeing. However, while substance abuse treatment builds an important foundation for obtaining sobriety, it is crucial for you to follow up with aftercare to improve your odds of maintaining long-term recovery. Relapse rates for addiction are similar to those of chronic diseases, such as asthma and diabetes—as many as 40-60% of people completing treatment will relapse and require further treatment.2
Detox is often the first step in substance abuse treatment since quitting specific varieties of drugs can potentially send you into physical and psychological withdrawal, the symptoms of which can be uncomfortable, dangerous, or even fatal, depending on the substance you’re addicted to.
There are many detox centers in the United States, but not all are created equal. When looking for a reputable and effective program, make sure it has these components:3,4
Following the successful completion of detox treatment, some people opt to continue their recovery efforts through outpatient addiction treatment. If you are of one of them, once you’ve safely navigated the withdrawal period, you might attend some form of ongoing, outpatient treatment in one of a number of settings: at a standalone rehab facility, a community mental health center, a hospital, or a physician or therapist’s office. Outpatient programs may be designed to last a few weeks to a few months, depending on the intensity of treatment you need.
These types of post-detox rehabilitation are often a first choice for many people, since they may be relatively less expensive and generally allow them more freedom than their inpatient or residential program counterparts. When you attend an outpatient program, you go to treatment several days a week but live at home and may be able to continue working or attending school. This flexibility allows many people to stay with the program longer, as opposed to an inpatient program, for which you must live at the treatment facility for a set time.
Some outpatient programs are relatively low-intensity and may meet for a few hours throughout the week to provide drug education and substance abuse counseling, while intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) often provide care comparable to inpatient rehab in terms of intensity.5 Most people attend an IOP for 4 to 8 hours a day, 4 to 6 days a week.6
Quality outpatient care should consist of all the same elements as detox, including experienced clinical and medical staff, professional certifications or accreditations, a commitment to clearly stated ethical standards, and evidence-based treatment modalities.
Outpatient treatment may encompass a variety of therapies and treatment modalities, such as:5-7
While for many people, IOPs may be just as effective as inpatient treatment, they are not suitable for everyone. Those with severe addictions or co-occurring mental health conditions may do better with the around-the-clock supervision and the added therapeutic intensity of an inpatient program.6
Inpatient rehab differs from outpatient programs primarily in that it takes place in a live-in setting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a designated period of time. You may attend inpatient treatment in a hospital, a psychiatric unit, a residential drug rehab center, or a therapeutic community. Short-term residential treatment typically lasts between 3 and 6 weeks, while long-term inpatient rehab can go for as long as 6 to 12 months.5
For many people, inpatient drug rehab is the preferred setting in which to get sober since it provides an added measure of safety and support for those who need it, such as for those with severe opioid and sedative addictions. Inpatient programs are also a safer place to recover for people with significant mental and physical health issues, such as severe depression, anxiety, or chronic pain. The constant supervision and care these rehabs provide allows anyone with a complicated psychiatric or physical diagnosis to get sober safely.
Additionally, many inpatient rehabs offer in-house detox services that transition directly into long-term care. Since this would be dangerous and inadvisable in an outpatient setting for those with certain addictions—for example, where withdrawal symptoms are either inherently dangerous (e.g., the seizures sometimes associated with alcohol withdrawal) or so difficult to endure that the risk for relapse is very high (e.g., opioid withdrawal symptoms)—inpatient care is an important option.
Inpatient programs typically offer most of the same types of treatment modalities and options as outpatient programs, including:5,7
Those with relatively mild addictions may not necessarily need the full intensity of a long-duration, inpatient treatment program to kick start their recovery. Residential rehab may also prove difficult for those who need to continue to work, go to school, or take care of personal matters during treatment; an IOP may be a better option in these cases.
There are many treatment programs available that are geared toward special populations and their unique needs, such as: