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Stages Of Addiction Treatment

Addiction affects individuals in different ways, but the effects of a reliance on drugs or alcohol often are the same. An individual may also have a compulsive need to participate in unhealthy activities, such as excessively watching porn or gambling, and treatment is also available for these behaviors. Addictions can have a detrimental effect on an individual’s personal life and relationships with a spouse, children, parents, friends, and others. The individual who is addicted to substances or activities may struggle in the workplace and this can impact his or her financial situation. In some cases, the individual may have a related legal issue, and this can compound the situation. [Tweet “Recovery is generally a lifelong process, and the individual must receive ample support and care from those close to him or her in order to find success on a daily basis”] In most cases, individuals who are most successful in their effort will spend time in an addiction treatment center and emerge a sober and transformed individual.


The first stage in any treatment program is the detoxification stage. During this stage, an addict who is dependent on drugs or alcohol may experience physical withdrawal symptoms as the substance passes through the body. Individuals who are addicted to an activity may need to overcome their impulse to participate in the activity. Generally, the detox process can take between three and 14 days, but the actual time may vary based on the level of dependency the body has on the substance, as well as the type of substance in the body.

In some cases, the individual suffering from a dependency on drugs or alcohol may participate in a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or a residential treatment program. In these programs, the detox stage may be medically assisted. Some withdrawal symptoms may be painful, and medical assistance can make this process easier to endure. There are also intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and outpatient programs (OP) for all types of addiction.

Treatment and therapy process

In many cases, the in-patient and hospitalization programs are shorter in length and more intensive in nature, but this is not always the case. When an individual initially visits an addiction treatment center, he or she will participate in a screening process. During the initial screening process, the needs of the patient will be ascertained by well-trained individuals and the level of the dependency will be determined. While the detoxification stage may be the first stage in all types of treatments, the type or level of assistance provided after detoxification may vary. Some individuals may need assistance with stress management or behavioral counseling to overcome their addiction. Others may need to learn how to better deal with anxiety in social situations. Each addict has a behavior that stems from unique factors, influences, stressors or even personality traits and genetic conditions, and these will be reviewed during the consultation. A customized treatment plan will then be created that will address those unique issues and challenges.

Once the individual has completed their treatment plan and is ready to return to their everyday life, they are given the option of living in a sober living facility. The individual may live at a sober living facility for as little or as long as needed, between 30 to 365 days. This step serves as a transition from living in a treatment facility to a house with other addicts in recovery who maintain a steady job and are working to remain in recovery. Sober living facilities offer the individual the support system they need upon leaving the addiction treatment center.

Why treatment times vary?

Typical treatment time can vary from approximately 30 days to 18 months or longer. This is a large variation in treatment times, and this variation stems from the fact that each addiction is unique and each individual has special needs that must be met during the treatment process. In addition, some individuals react differently to certain types of treatment. The treatment process may include group therapy, individual therapy and counseling, and medicated treatment. Psychological disorders, behaviors and social situations may all be contributing to the addiction, and these will all be addressed and treated during successful treatment. The treatment plan will be reviewed up-front with the addict before the process begins.

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Receiving support at home during the recovery stage

After the actual treatment process has been completed, the individual may still struggle with an inclination or desire to participate in the behavior again. Individuals are never cured of an addiction, and instead, they will remain in an on-going state of recovery. Those who are most successful at leading a sober lifestyle free of their negative or destructive behavior are those who receive adequate support at home and from their friends. Because of this, the best treatment plan is one that incorporates education and support services for the loved one of the addict.

Continuum of care in the treatment process is important. When an individual relapses, there may be a need for the individual to walk through the entire treatment process once again. If you or a loved one is struggling with a problem with alcohol, drugs or any type of impulsive behavioral issue, it is important to reach out to an addiction treatment center to receive the support that is needed.

What Type Of Treatment Is Best For You?

Deciding to get help for addiction takes courage, but choosing the right addiction treatment center can be intimidating. Addiction rehabilitation can take multiple forms and the addict will ultimately have to decide which type of treatment is the best for them. Treatment options vary in terms of length and depth of care as well as affiliation; the severity of the addiction should also be considered when one is choosing an addiction treatment center.

Long-term residential centers

Long-term residential treatment centers are highly popular because they provide the addict with complete treatment in an isolated environment, away from their everyday lives and triggers. These centers normally offer rehabilitation and recovery services from 1-3 months depending on the center and the needs of the individual. Detoxification, medical treatment, counseling and group therapy are all options that long-term treatment centers may offer. Some of these centers are affiliated with religious or social groups and thus tailor the recovery process to fit their needs.

Short-term residential centers

Short-term residential treatment centers are quite similar to long-term residential care except that it only lasts up to a month rather than the additional 1-2 months of long-term addiction treatment. The residential stay in this type of treatment center is often shorter than that in a long-term center because the treatment plan might involve taking a step down in intensity to an outpatient treatment program or to a 12-step support group. As with long-term treatment centers, addicts need to check for affiliations before choosing a residential treatment center; those with a particular religious, social or sexual affiliation may have more success in a treatment program that incorporates their beliefs and addresses their particular issues.

Outpatient treatment programs

Outpatient addiction treatment centers are sound middle options between highly intensive residential centers and less intensive support groups and therapy sessions. Instead of providing around-the-clock care, these programs meet several times a week for 2-4 hours per session, on average. Outpatient treatment programs are often the next steps from residential treatment care.

Support groups

12-step groups fall into this category; they are especially effective for those who have gone through more intense treatment for their addictions and for those whose addictions are less severe. The intimate nature of these groups makes them ideal for affiliation since they are often geared towards providing support to specific groups of people. Christianity, for example, maybe a part of the treatment plan for a faith-based support group. Other such groups may be ideal for members of the GLBTQ community or for individuals dealing with specific addictions and other disorders.

One-on-one therapy

One-on-one therapy is ideal for someone who has already gone through detoxification and more intensive therapy, but who prefers a more personal approach than that of a group setting. For some addicts, this one-on-one interaction with a trained professional may be enough to recover from their addictions. One-on-one therapy addresses the underlying issues that are causing the individual to self-medicate through various addictions, helping them by eliminating the causes of relapse. One-on-one therapy is also a good follow-up step to more intense forms of treatment.

Sober living facilities

Individuals who have gone through residential addiction treatment but want to spend more time in a drug-free residential setting with other former addicts in recovery may want to consider a sober living facility. Sober living facilities are ideal for those who think that going home right after finishing residential treatment could trigger a relapse. Group support is another beneficial aspect of this treatment option.


While an intervention is not something that someone with an addiction plans, going with friends or family members to talk to a professional about the dangers of addictions in a pre-planned meeting can be a short but effective treatment method. An intervention is not sufficient to cure addictions or to help individuals begin living a drug-free life, but it often makes the individual aware of their addictions and their need for help. The biggest benefit of an intervention is that the interventionist is equipped to advise addicts on available addiction treatment rehabilitation options in the area so that they can begin more intensive treatment.

When choosing an addiction treatment center or other addiction treatment method, proper research on all available options is key for choosing the program that is likely to be the best fit. Reputation and accreditation are also important, as is the presence of a solid, established aftercare program to help addicts beyond the initial treatment.


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Ultimate Guide to Recover from Addiction:

  • Benefits of Addiction rehab
  • What Addiction causes to your brain?
  • Finding the best treatment center