Many different professionals provide treatment for substance use disorders. In most treatment programs, the main caregivers are specially trained, certified, or licensed as substance abuse treatment counselors. Many of these counselors are in recovery themselves. Patients entering treatment are oftentimes placed with a team of caregivers. Team members may include social workers, counselors, doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, or other professionals who will be able to help the patient lead a healthier lifestyle and find freedom from addiction.
Medically Supervised Withdrawal
Medically supervised withdrawal (detoxification or detox) uses medication to help people withdraw from drugs. People who have been taking large amounts of opioids (like heroin, OxyContin7, or codeine) may need these medically supervised withdrawal services. Medically supervised withdrawal can take place on a regular medical ward of a hospital, in a specialized inpatient detox unit, or on an outpatient basis with close medical supervision. Detox may take several days to a week or more.
Residential Treatment Programs
Residential programs provide a living environment with treatment services. Several kinds of residential treatment exist, and these programs last from one month to a year or more. Residential programs often have different phases of treatment, with different expectations and activities during each phase.
Residential programs are best for people who do not have stable living arrangements, stable jobs, and/or consistent family support. Residential treatment may help people with very serious substance use disorders who have been unable to get and stay drug-free in other treatment environments.
Partial Hospitalization or Day Treatment
Partial hospitalization or day treatment programs also may be provided in hospitals or stand-alone clinics. In these programs, the person attends treatment for 4 to 8 hours per day but lives at home. These programs usually last for at least 3 months and work best for people who have a stable, supportive home environment.
Outpatient and intensive outpatient programs provide treatment at a program site, but the person lives elsewhere (usually at home). Outpatient treatment can take place at health clinics, community mental health clinics, counselors’ offices, hospital clinics, local health department offices, or residential programs with outpatient clinics. Many meet in the evenings and on weekends, so participants can go to school or work. Outpatient treatment programs have different requirements for attendance. Some programs require daily attendance; others meet one to three times per week.
Outpatient Opioid Treatment
One type of outpatient program includes opioid treatment programs, sometimes known as methadone or buprenorphine clinics. These clinics offer medication-assisted outpatient treatment for people who are dependent on opioid drugs. They use a medication, such as methadone or buprenorphine, to help a person not use illicit opioids. These programs also provide counseling and other services along with the medication.
Although treatment programs differ, most programs include many or all of the following elements:
- Medical Care
- A Treatment Plan
- Group and Individual Counseling
- Individual Assignments
- Education About Substance Abuse Disorders
- Life Skills Training
- Testing for Alcohol or Drug Use
- Relapse Prevention Training
- Orientation to Self-Help Groups
- Treatment for Mental Disorders
- Family Education and Counseling Services
- Follow-up Care
No Judgment: Opioid Help is Here.
The Council on Substance Abuse-NCADD (COSA-NCADD) offers recovery support services to individuals with opioid use disorders and their families. Together with peers in recovery, treatment providers, and other community organizations, we strive to offer hope while meeting the specialized needs of those seeking help.
If you or someone you know needs help with opioid use disorders, please call 1-877-HELP-4AL now. The helpline provides confidential assistance for those who need help themselves and guidance for those seeking help for loved ones. When you call, you’ll be greeted by a friendly, compassionate peer-support specialist who has personal experience in recovery from a mental health or substance abuse issue. They are here to help you and will never judge you or your circumstances.