The moment of understanding the need for treatment is usually just the beginning of a series of decisions on the road to healthy living. There are many aspects to consider before choosing the type of treatment that would work 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. Characteristics to consider are cost, the level of professionals facilitating 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. A detox is a location where a person can safely go through the physical withdrawal symptoms of the substance initially being removed with medical observation and at times, medication to help improve the experience. If a person has already stopped or significantly cut down 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. It is presumed you would move from detox to some other form of treatment. This may be available through a hospital or a private facility and 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 includes the person 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, copings skills groups, relapse prevention groups, educational groups, and many more for often at least 30 days to as much as one year. These programs often limit the person’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 his or her 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 described next and sometimes to a sober living environment, also described later in this article. 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 Intensive Outpatient. In this phase of treatment, individuals normally live in sober living environments separate from the treatment facility and, in some cases, still work or be involved with family, but attend treatment most of the day. It would be common for a person to begin treatment with five days a week, 3 to 6 hours of treatment 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 his or her own.

Outpatient Treatment

A fourth option for treatment, again taking a step farther away from time commitment and intensity, is outpatient treatment. This may include groups or individual therapy sessions that occur more like once or twice a week. The person may still work and live with family and attend sessions based on topic or need to stay connected with treatment. This option is often common for those who do not believe the addiction has a strong enough hold on them to merit residential or intensive outpatient or they have already completed the higher level programs and are using outpatient to maintain 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 as if you or your loved one struggles 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 are often an important step to maintaining recovery, though they are not seen as “treatment” per se. A sober living environment is a location a person in recovery could live with structure and accountability. They range in requirements, but typically include mandatory meetings, periodic drug/alcohol testing, a resident manager living on the premises who mentors and holds the person accountable for behavior that may lead to relapse. SLE’s are often used as a transition from intensive treatment to living back at one’s own home. The pressure of family life, work, and other responsibilities may sometimes create barriers to returning home and staying connected with a community and a daily routine through a SLE is often a helpful stepping stone toward independent living. These are often reasonably priced, costing a similar amount as if you were renting a room and the person 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 are 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 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 commitment to recovery. This information is to empower you in the decision-making process, and yet 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.