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Drug Rehab: Where To Start?

Drug Rehab: Where To Start?

The moment that you understand that you need treatment is usually just the beginning of a series of decisions on your road to a healthier life. There are many aspects to consider before choosing the type of treatment that would work for you and the more you know ahead of time, the more likely you or your loved one will find the best treatment the first time around. To begin, it is helpful to understand the various types of treatments programs available to you. Characteristics to consider are cost, the level of the professionals that are facilitating the treatment, the time commitment, and the location. This article will review the common treatment options, including detox, residential, intensive outpatient, outpatient, and AA and NA meetings.


Detox is sometimes the first step depending on the substance being abused. Substances such as heroin, meth, cocaine, or opiate-based medication may have built up a tolerance and dependency in the person’s body and therefore, the body will have negative effects if the substance is removed. Some substances, such as benzos or alcohol, may even produce a life-threatening situation if stopped quickly and often require medical observation while a person removes the substance from their body. Detox takes place at a location where a person can safely go through physical withdrawal symptoms with medical observation and, at times, medication to help improve the experience. If a person has already stopped or significantly cut down their use and is seeking treatment for continued sobriety, they may not need to detox. This is a step toward recovery, but detox does not always include valuable information toward maintaining recovery, as it is presumed you would move from detox to some other form of treatment. Detox may be available through a hospital or a private facility, often costs a significant amount, and includes medical professionals.

Inpatient Treatment

The next option for treatment is an inpatient, residential facility. This form of treatment involves an individual living at the facility and participating nearly all day every day in various forms of treatments, such as group therapy, working through the 12 steps, individual therapy, coping skills groups, relapse prevention groups, educational groups, and many more for a minimum of 30 days up to one year. These programs often limit the individual’s contact to others and require they suspend working, cell phone and internet use, and completely focus on treatment for a set amount of time. Gradually the person’s contact with others may be increased or passes to go home for a visit may be available. This type of treatment would be a good option for a person who has the resources to be away from work or has significant negative consequences to their addiction, such as the risk of job loss, relationship loss, legal consequences, or more. It is common for a person with a significant addiction to start with a residential program and move to a lower intensity program once complete, sometimes to intensive outpatient and sometimes to a sober living environment. A residential program usually includes licensed and credentialed counselors, medication management, and many forms of treatment options built into a comprehensive program. Although this treatment can range anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 a month, one of Genesis Recovery’s main missions is to ease the burden on families by keeping our tuition low.

Intensive Outpatient Program

A third option for treatment is an Intensive Outpatient Program. In this phase of treatment, individuals normally live in sober living environments separate from the treatment facility and, in some cases, still work and remain involved with their family while attending treatment most of the day. It's common for a person to begin treatment five days a week, 3 to 6 hours per day, and cut back as progress is made in recovery. The treatment often includes similar educational and treatment focused-groups as in residential, as well as individual therapy. This is a great option when a person seems highly motivated and is not able to stop work or be apart from family. It is also a good transition option to move from residential to a less structured treatment before being completely on their own.

Outpatient Treatment

A fourth option for treatment, again taking a step further away from time commitment and intensity, is outpatient treatment. This may include group or individual therapy sessions that occur once or twice a week. The person may still work and live with family and attend sessions based on particular topics or a need to stay connected with treatment. This option is commonly used for those whose addiction may not merit residential or intensive outpatient or for those who have already completed higher-level programs and are using outpatient treatment to maintain their recovery.

While there is usually a straight line progression from detox through outpatient, it is also helpful to know you may need to move back and forth between options if you struggle in lower levels of care.

People may also seek individual therapy with a counselor trained in addiction. The therapist meets with the person one-on-one and discovers some of the causes for the addiction and teaches healthier ways to manage life difficulties. Again, remember, it is common to rotate options and it may be that a therapist would be a good resource to help a person find and follow through on the best treatment option.

Sober Living Homes

Lastly, sober living environments (SLE) are often an important step to maintaining recovery, though they are not seen as “treatment” per se. A sober living environment is a location where a person in recovery could live with structure and accountability. They range in requirements, but typically include mandatory meetings and periodic drug/alcohol testing with a resident manager living on the premises who mentors and holds the person accountable for behavior that may lead to relapse. SLEs are often used to transition from intensive treatment to living back at home. Because the pressure of family life, work, and other responsibilities may sometimes create barriers to returning home, staying connected with a community and a daily routine through an SLE is often a helpful stepping stone toward independent living. These are often reasonably priced, costing a similar amount to renting a room. Individuals in SLEs may live with one or multiple roommates in the home, all people in different stages of recovery.

12-Step Support Groups

We believe that participation in 12-step support groups is vital to recovery in all phases. These groups are readily available regardless of where you live. Attendance may vary depending on stability but consistent participation has been proven to be most effective (multiple meetings a week). There is no cost associated with meetings and they are facilitated by recovering addicts/alcoholics. They tend to follow the 12-step model and use community support, telling your story, serving others, and holding each other accountable as the main method of treatment.

Now that you have an idea of the most common treatment options, you have a good understanding of what factors to consider as you seek treatment. You will want to consider finances, insurance, time availability, whether or not you can take a leave from work or family commitments, and the level of your addiction and the level of your commitment to recovery. This information is intended to empower you in the decision-making process, but trained staff are also waiting to help you decide the best option for you and your loved one. Don’t hesitate to connect with us as you take the next step.

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