Understanding Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a chronic, complex, and treatable medical condition, yet many people who need help don’t get it.1,2 According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 41.1 million people age 12 and older needed substance use treatment in the previous year, but only 6.5% (2.7 million) received substance use treatment at a special facility.3

Treatment can help those who need substance use treatment stop the compulsive use of drugs.2 This article will discuss how addiction treatment works, the different types of treatment available, and how to get help if you or a loved one has lost control of their drug or alcohol use.

About Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment can help stop compulsive drug use and substance-seeking behaviors.2 There are a variety of evidence-based treatment approaches, and the specific type of treatment (or combination of treatments) will vary based on a person’s individual needs, as well as the types of drugs they use.2

The goals of addiction treatment are to stop people from using drugs and help them return to being productive, functioning members of their families, workplaces, and society.2

Although rehab programs vary, effective treatment programs incorporate many components and include a combination of evidence-based treatment approaches, such as behavioral therapy and medication, as well as other services.2

How Does Addiction Treatment Work?

Patient in behavioral therapy and individual counseling for drug and alcohol addictionAddiction treatment works by addressing substance abuse, as well as any associated medical, social, career, legal, or mental health issues.2

Behavioral therapies are the most commonly used form of drug or alcohol addiction treatment, and typically offered through individual, group, or family counseling.2

Behavioral therapies vary greatly in their focus and can help participants work on their motivation to change, offer incentives for remaining substance-free, learn the skills needed to avoid drugs and alcohol, and develop better interpersonal relationships.2

In addition to behavioral therapy and counseling, medications can also be a critical component of treatment for many people, depending on the specific substance(s) they have been using.2

Addiction treatment is customized to meet the individual needs of each patient. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, and the most effective treatment plans are personalized to address a person’s individual treatment goals.2

A patient’s needs may change throughout the course of treatment, and treatment plans are continually assessed and adjusted, as necessary.2 This can include modifying treatment intensity, medications, services, and more.

Is Addiction Treatment Effective?

Yes, treatment can help people manage addiction. Research indicates that most people who enter and stay in treatment quit using substances, decrease criminal activity, and improve aspects of occupational, social, and psychological functioning.2

The various therapeutic interventions used in addiction treatment are the result of research and scientific studies showing they can help reduce the negative effects of addiction on a person’s brain and behavior.2,4

For example, studies have shown that medications for opioid use disorder can help curb cravings for opioids, ease opioid withdrawal symptoms, and protect against relapse.2,4

Research on behavioral therapy has shown that people who respond to stress by using substances can be taught alternative healthier ways of managing stress and ultimately reduce substance use.4

Types of Addiction Treatment

As mentioned above, there are different components and types of addiction treatment. The appropriate placement depends on a person’s individual needs.

Participants typically receive a comprehensive assessment from a medical provider and discuss treatment options before they enter treatment.5

The levels of care include:

  • Medical detox, which is often the first step in the recovery process. It can help people safely and comfortably rid their bodies of drugs and alcohol and prepare them for further treatment. Withdrawal symptoms are monitored and medically managed through the use of medications, supervision, and support.5,6
  • Inpatient or residential rehab, which involves around-the-clock care and support. It is the most intensive form of drug and alcohol treatment, and can be beneficial for many people, including those with severe addictions and co-occurring mental health disorders. Patients live onsite and participate in a variety of therapies and treatments.6
  • Partial hospitalization is a highly structured type of outpatient treatment involving 20 or more hours of programming per week. Partial hospitalization programs (or PHPs) allow participants to live at home and travel to a treatment facility on a set schedule. They may be used as a step-down from inpatient rehab or as an entry point to treatment for people who require more intensive care but are unable to commit to an inpatient stay.7
  • Intensive outpatient (IOP) is a less intense and structured form of outpatient treatment than partial hospitalization, which typically involves 9 or more hours of programming per week and allows patients to live at home.7
  • Standard outpatient treatment programs require less time than IOPs or PHPs, generally involving fewer than 9 hours of programming per week.6,7

It’s important to note that recovery is an ongoing process.2 This is why treatment teams work with patients on creating a relapse prevention plan that can be implemented once rehab is complete.

Getting Help for Addiction

There are many ways to get help for addiction, including substance abuse hotlines and other resources dedicated to helping a loved one with addiction, finding treatment programs, and getting admitted.

It’s not always easy to spot the signs someone needs help for addiction, and if you have a family member or loved one who’s struggling, you might not know what to do next.

At River Oaks Treatment Center, we provide quality, evidence-based drug and alcohol addiction treatment, and offer multiple levels of care. When you or your loved one is ready, we’ll be standing by to help.

For more information about our inpatient rehab near Tampa, rehab payment options, rehab insurance coverage, or to start the admissions process, contact us at . One of our caring admissions navigators will discuss your specific needs, options, and important next steps.

You can also verify your benefits right away by using our simple and secure .

Helpful Links:

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.

You aren't alone. You deserve to get help.
River Oaks is located in Riverview, Florida, which is easily accessible from Tampa.
Take your next step toward recovery:
✔ learn more about our addiction treatment programs.
✔ see how popular insurance providers such as Aetna or Carelon offer coverage for rehab.
view photos of our facility.