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EDUCATION - KEY TOPIC

Finding Your Next Step

Understanding the Range of Resources for Addiction Recovery

There are a range of resources that provide treatment and support on the journey to recovery. Clinical care, safe environments, and healthy community create opportunities to address and resolve trauma, pain, or other contributing factors to addiction. It is important to understand what resources are available in order to choose what will provide the best care for your needs. Ultimately, decisions on what resources are best for you should be made with insight from trusted and trained individuals who understand your circumstances.

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Finding help around addiction or other mental health challenges is a process. It can be challenging to navigate the range of options available.

We encourage you to take the biggest step towards health and hope today that you are ready to take, in consultation with trained medical professionals. The costs of addiction and its consequences can be severe. Understanding and finding a recovery resource that is a good fit quickly is vital. There’s an inherent tension in this process — acting speedily while finding the right resource is a challenging feat for individuals and families to navigate.

For many struggling with addiction, several of these types of resources may be needed in the recovery journey. We recommend working with medical professionals and other trusted individuals to develop an individualized plan for care.

Below, you will find a list of the basic types of recovery resources available. Take a look and talk with your doctor or counselor about which options may be right for you.

Types of Recovery Resources

*If this is an emergency situation, please call 9-1-1. Emergency services are an important lifeline if there is risk of injury or death.

Detoxification services. Detoxification centers provide short-term care for individuals in the early days of getting clean or sober, particularly when they are still under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The high level of medical care and oversight for detoxification is necessary as the  body’s adjustment to the absence of a heavily-used substances or toxins can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Some treatment centers do not provide detox services, but require several days of sobriety before admitting patients. Coverage of detoxification services, known as “detox,” varies by state.

Residential / Inpatient treatment. These treatment programs require staying at a hospital or residential facility. They are meant to create the safe environment that is needed to support recovery.  Programs typically range from acute medical care for 7-10 days to residential stays ranging between 30 and 180 days. In residential treatment facilities, patients are involved in therapeutic activities 5-7 days per week and live on-site. Program content varies by provider, but typically involves a mixture of individual and group therapy sessions and support groups. Amenities, living arrangements, and activities vary greatly across treatment centers. Treatment centers vary in the type of payment they accept, including out-of-pocket, private insurance, and government-funded insurance. Some centers have models where participants work at the center or elsewhere in order to cover board and keep, while others offer scholarships.

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP). These treatment programs generally run on an outpatient basis with clients commuting from home or staying in sober living environments.  Patients travel to the facility an average of 5 days a week and participate in treatment for an average of 5-7 hours per day. PHP can be the first step in treatment or a transitional phase from a higher level of care.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP). Clients commute from home or staying in sober living environments in an outpatient care model.  Patients travel to the facility an average of 3 days a week and participate in treatment an average of 3 hours per day. IOP can be the first step in treatment but is generally the second or third step on the continuum of care for severe addiction. When in IOP, many clients will work and participate in outside recovery activities. This is a supportive environment that helps them transition back in normal life.

Outpatient treatment. These treatment programs are generally constructed for the individual by their primary therapist. Treatment at this level involves a mixture of individual therapy, medication management (if necessary), case management and outside support groups. Many individuals will start at this level of care, but their primary therapist may recommend higher levels of treatment as time goes by. After completing higher levels of care, outpatient treatment is a long-term support system for individuals integrating back into life. Programs typically range from 30 to 180 days, but can last up to a year. Program content varies by provider, but typically involves a mixture of individual and group therapy sessions, and support groups. Some providers are now prioritizing outpatient care with the goal of helping individuals find recovery in the midst of their normal communities and lifestyles.

Support groups. There are group meetings that range in type, style, approach, and impact. Traditional 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous emerged as providers of support, accountability, and encouragement. Over the years, several variations have developed. Most groups meet in public places like community centers, schools, or churches, and have strong policies of non-judgment and anonymity. Traditional 12-step programs also prioritize letting go of control and embracing a “Higher Power,” particularly through one-on-one mentorship. Similar models that do not include spirituality have also emerged. Studies support the value and lasting impact of community-based support.

Counselors and Therapists. Counseling and therapy is a central part of addressing mental health challenges, including addiction. There are a range of therapy styles or approaches, and an incredible amount of nuance involved in the letters used to classify counselors and therapists. This article does a wonderful job of laying out these specifics in more detail. Please be aware that some letters only require completion of a high school degree, while others require significant graduate-level coursework. Before you choose a therapist, you need to understanding their level of expertise and education, as it can affect the quality of the therapy. Likewise, it is crucial that you connect with, and trust, your therapist in order for your therapy to be effective.  

Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT). This treatment type refers to the usage of prescribed medications to help address the physical aspects of addiction, including cravings. Some medications involve blocking the ability of the brain to get “high” from a particular substance. Others gradually wean the patient off a lower dosage of a similar drug or substance. MAT should be accompanied by therapy and counseling in order to address the roots of the addiction, and is offered by some treatment centers. MAT is still considered controversial by some in the recovery world due to negative perspectives of relying on an additional substance. Others point to the evidence base that has shown MAT can reduce fatalities by helping wean individuals away from more dangerous substances.

Talking with trained professionals whom you trust can help you find your most appropriate next step in recovery.

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