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The Best Types Of Addiction Treatment Modalities

Addiction treatment texts from wooden blocks

Published: August 11, 2023

Addiction is a broad category. A person may be addicted to a substance, like drugs or alcohol, or they may be addicted to a behavior, like internet usage or sex.

The best approach to treating addiction should include a combination of treatment services to care for your physical and behavioral health — a whole-person recovery support plan.

Here, you can learn about addiction treatment, as well as:

  • Types of addiction
  • How addiction is treated
  • Alternative treatments
  • Length of treatments
  • Rehab options

What Are The Most Common Types Of Addiction Treatments?

There are many ways to treat addiction, and what works best will be determined by you and your healthcare provider.

Some of the most common types of addiction treatment include:

  • Detox programs – These focus on helping your body to rid itself of a substance in a safer way.
  • Inpatient/residential programs – Living onsite means you can be monitored by treatment providers around the clock.
  • Outpatient programs and services – Outpatient allows you to receive treatment while living at home, which can also be a less-expensive option.
  • Aftercare/continuing care programs – Programs that provide support once you’re sober to help prevent relapse.
  • Support groups – A space for people who have gone through similar experiences to talk about the challenges of their disease.

What Types Of Addictions Can Be Treated?

All types of addiction are treatable, but treatment services will vary based on what you’re addicted to, how deep that addiction goes, where you’re located, and what your insurance covers.

Substance Addictions

This type of addiction usually refers to drug use, including illicit, prescription, and over-the-counter drugs, as well as inhalants, stimulants, hallucinogens, tobacco, and vaping.

Alcohol Addictions

Any kind of alcohol that you consume on a regular schedule can be considered an alcohol addiction.

The more common types are beer, wine, and liquor, but addicts have been known to utilize other liquids like mouthwash and cough syrup for the alcohol content.

Behavioral Addictions

Behavioral addictions can include things like food but also non-tangible things like the internet, video games, other types of gaming, pornography, sex, television, gambling, and compulsive criminal behavior.

Adults and adolescents spend a lot of time online, and this is another form of behavioral addiction.

Types Of Substance Abuse Treatment Programs

When it comes to treating substance abuse, there are several treatment program types available. You will most likely need to go through a few of these during your recovery.

Detox Programs

Detox programs help your body to come off whatever substance you’re addicted to and reduce withdrawal symptoms like fluctuating blood pressure and heart rate as well as cravings.

Types of detox programs can include:

  • At-home detox/self-detox – The most dangerous option on this list, DIY detox usually involves quitting cold turkey, which is a sure way to ramp up those withdrawal symptoms and create significant health concerns.
  • Medical detox/medically supervised detox – Normally done in or involving a hospital setup. Usually includes medical professionals who monitor vitals and symptoms while administering appropriate medications.
  • Social detox – Treatment monitored by non-medical professionals. Medication may be administered to help with withdrawal symptoms, but it’s also possible that it won’t be.
  • Digital/social media detox – Involves taking an extended break from all non-work digital activity, such as doom scrolling on social media, watching porn, playing online games, etc.
  • Inpatient detox – Usually takes place in a hospital or other medical treatment facility with care administered and monitored by healthcare providers 24/7.
  • Outpatient detox – Similar to inpatient detox in that treatment providers direct the program and oversee vitals and medications with one difference — you return home each evening after treatment.

Inpatient Rehab Programs

Inpatient rehab programs can vary in length, but they all have the same goal — to help you or your loved one in your recovery journey.

Depending on your needs, you may spend time in short-term (30 or fewer days) or long-term (60-90 days) rehab.

If you require further in-house care at a medical facility, you may get into a residential program, which can include work therapy and long-term hospital stays, or stays that last six months, a year, or even longer.

Outpatient Programs & Services

The main difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab programs is where you sleep at night.

For inpatient, you’ll be spending the night at the hospital or treatment facility. For outpatient, you return to your own residence each evening.

If your environment and treatment plan allows it, staying at home while continuing to receive care may be the option that works best for you.

Outpatient programs and services may include:

  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) – Though you return home each day, these programs may be long hours and require a lot of work from you.
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) – These programs may require you to spend some of the rehab staying in a treatment facility but may also allow you to participate in other parts of the program while living at home.
  • General outpatient programs – A more general program is usually a step down from an IOP. It means that you will live at home while returning for treatment, but you may not be required to be at the treatment facility every day or for as many hours.
  • Other outpatient services – Mental health services like counseling, individual therapy, and behavioral therapy can be provided on an outpatient basis once you’ve met other treatment requirements.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Sometimes when you’re addicted to a substance, especially if you’ve been addicted for a longer time or have been taking a substance in higher doses, your body will need extra help to adjust to life without that substance.

That’s where medication-assisted treatment (MAT) steps in. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine what medication will be most beneficial in treating your addiction.

You may take it for a short time to help your body with withdrawal symptoms, or you may need to take it for a long time, depending on your level of addiction.

Some of the most prescribed medications for treating addiction include:

  • Acamprosate
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buprenorphine
  • Bupropion
  • Carbamazepine
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Clonidine
  • Diazepam
  • Disulfiram
  • Gabapentin
  • Hormone therapy
  • Lofexidine
  • Lorazepam
  • Methadone
  • Naloxone
  • Naltrexone
  • Nicotine replacement
  • Oxazepam
  • Phenobarbital
  • Suboxone
  • Valproate
  • Varenicline

MAT is not currently FDA-approved for all types of substance addictions. For those that are approved, it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to figure out an appropriate prescription plan.

These addictions have MAT options:

  • Alcohol
  • Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB)
  • Heroin
  • Prescription opioids
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Tobacco/nicotine
  • Vaping

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

A dual diagnosis is a common diagnosis that encompasses substance use disorders (SUD) and mental health conditions affecting one person.

The important thing is to have all your health issues identified so they can all be treated.

Dual diagnosis treatment addresses substance use, the underlying mental health condition, and anything else that may have contributed to your substance abuse.

Aftercare & Continuing Care

Once you’ve completed the first segment of your recovery plan, whether it’s an inpatient or outpatient program, you’ll move into the next step.

This step-down method means a transition from the initial contact and first segment of treatment into a focus on maintaining your sobriety and reducing the chance of relapse.

Depending on the severity of your addiction and the plan you’ve created with your healthcare provider, you may continue treatment through any combination of outpatient rehab, support groups like a 12-step program, and individual counseling or therapy.

Your living situation plan may include staying in a halfway house, transitional house, or sober living community. These are all designed to help you receive recovery support in an environment that leads to long-term sobriety.

Support Groups & 12-Step Programs

Support groups provide a space for you to work through challenges with others who have been through similar situations. SMART Recovery is one option. There are also several 12-step programs and self-help groups designed for a variety of addictions.

Some examples of 12-step programs include:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)­­­­
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Heroin Anonymous (HA)
  • Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
  • Marijuana Anonymous (MA)
  • Gamblers Anonymous (GA)
  • Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA)
  • Recoveries Anonymous (RA)
  • Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (S.L.A.A.)

Types Of Addiction Therapy

Addiction therapy helps you deal with the reasons and experiences that may have led to your addiction. You learn how to cope in ways that don’t involve getting back into previous behaviors and habits.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy addresses the behaviors and environmental factors that may have contributed to your addiction.

Types of behavioral therapy include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Contingency Management
  • reSET/reSET-O

Matrix Model Therapy

Matrix Model Therapy is a multi-pronged approach that combines CBT, urine and breath testing, education for addicts and family members, individual therapy, support groups, and social influences to treat stimulant addiction.

The significance of this is that, instead of separating each factor into its own step, the Matrix Model combines them and administers treatment over 16 weeks on an outpatient basis.

Individual Therapy

Meeting one-on-one with a mental health professional gives you an opportunity to focus on your challenges and triggers and develop a plan for how to react moving forward when you would normally default to addiction.

Group Therapy

Usually conducted in a setting with multiple participants and one leader, this approach creates a community around people who are recovering from addiction.

Common ground connects you with people who have either been through what you’re dealing with or are also going through it.

Animal Therapy

Animal therapy can be animal-assisted therapy or pet therapy. Both involve working with an animal handler, an animal, and a mental health professional.

Animal therapy is meant to be used only in conjunction with other forms of therapy. It is not intended as a standalone treatment.

This is not the same as working with an emotional support animal, which has certain legal protections such as being able to accompany you into stores and restaurants.

You might work with a horse, dog, cat, or even bird to help build your confidence and social skills. The animal you work with may be present as a source of comfort to help you talk about and cope with the hard stuff that you need to work through.

The animal may also stay with you in your home for a period of time.

Alternative Therapies

There are a lot of alternative therapies that can help you work through your addiction issues. Many of them work by providing a new focus for you and an outlet for expressing your thoughts and feelings.

Some examples of alternative therapies are:

  • Music therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Experiential therapy
  • Dance/movement therapy
  • Play therapy
  • Drama therapy
  • Wilderness therapy
  • Expressive arts therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Narrative therapy


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) helps you process traumatic experiences. While you think and talk about an upsetting experience, your therapist will create a movement that will draw your eyes from one side to another.

This approach is thought to simulate normal movement that would come if you were walking in the woods while trying to think through a problem.


Biofeedback is a therapeutic treatment that includes a healthcare provider monitoring your vital signs and letting you know how they fluctuate in response to your stress level. Neurofeedback specifically focuses on monitoring brain wave activity.

The basic idea is that by providing feedback on your body’s response to a situation in real-time, a provider is giving you tools to help you recognize and adjust your stress response levels.

Alternative Addiction Treatments

Modern Western medicine has accepted some alternative treatments for addiction, but studies are still being done on the effectiveness of many of these.

While exercise and mindful focus have been proven to help in most situations, the distinctions between types of movement and how much they matter are incomplete.

Yoga And Mindfulness

Yoga is a practice that promotes movement and breathing techniques. When combined with mindfulness, there’s an opportunity to focus inward on how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally without passing judgment.

The movement of yoga can be a gentle stretch, but it can also be a more intense workout. Mindfulness on its own encourages you to focus on your breathing and observe inward and outward to help you achieve a sense of calm.

Tai Chi

As with yoga, tai chi is movement. Traditionally, tai chi movements are slower with an emphasis on controlled movement and breathing as you move your energy and awareness, or chi, through the practice.


Acupuncture uses tiny needles or small electrical pulses to help relieve stress points in the body. A trained professional assesses your needs and determines where best to place each set of needles or pulses.

Though the process can be painful, using breathing techniques can help. You may need multiple sessions during your recovery.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

Also called tapping, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) focus on a specific issue. While thinking about that issue, you or a trained professional tap on a specific area of the body.

Most areas are located on the face, and while the tapping occurs, you also repeat a mantra that acknowledges the issue and states something positive about yourself.


Psychodrama is a collection of expressive techniques that allow an individual to act out past experiences, current feelings, and future situations that may be of concern.

By role-playing and dramatizing these, you’re able to address what happened, how it happened, and how you would like it to be.

What To Expect At Addiction Treatment

Getting started with addiction treatment can be tough enough. It helps to have an idea of what your day might look like during addiction treatment.

These are some of the treatment options and a general overview of what each involves:

  • Detox programs – Removing a substance from your body can take up to several days. During detox, you may be taking a medication that mimics the effects of the substance to which you were addicted to in order to wean you off the substance. Depending on your addiction and its severity, this can be done as an inpatient or outpatient.
  • Inpatient/residential programs – During inpatient treatment, you will have treatment during the day and often free time in the evening with access to recreation and facility outings. Visitations may occur weekly or monthly, and you will have a highly structured schedule for each day to help foster recovery.
  • Outpatient programs and services – Some outpatient programs can be intense, requiring longer therapy sessions and many appointments throughout the day. While you return home to sleep, you may spend more time at the treatment center than you do at home. For step-down programs, you’ll spend fewer hours and days actively being treated.
  • Aftercare/continuing care programs – Aftercare varies depending on the type. For counseling, you may attend a session once per week, and the same with group therapy. For a sober living home, you’ll live at the home while in early recovery and likely attend outpatient treatment as well, hold a job, and fulfill other recovery requirements.
  • Support groups – Regular meetings with other recovering addicts have been shown to improve recovery rates and reduce relapse. Support groups encourage you to speak openly about your addiction and to listen to and support others when they do the same. It helps to build bonds with others and create a supportive community.

Benefits Of Addiction Treatment

Receiving treatment for your addiction has a number of benefits for you and your loved ones. Research shows that roughly 75% of people who have had an addiction are in some stage of recovery.

Many go on with their lives, continue their recovery, and build a new normal that’s a lot healthier.

These are a few of the top benefits:

  • Improved quality of life
  • Better health
  • Deeper connections in relationships
  • Stability of housing, finances, and employment

Cost Of Addiction Treatment

The total cost of addiction treatment will depend on your program, your insurance, the severity of your addiction and other factors.

Factors that may affect the cost of addiction treatment:

  • State of residence
  • Treatment facility
  • Insurance coverage
  • Treatment plan
  • Level of addiction
  • Overall health

Are There Any Drawbacks To Addiction Treatment?

Unfortunately, getting help does require some sacrifices from you and your loved ones.

You may need to deal with drawbacks like:

  • Cost of rehab
  • Leaving significant others, children, pets, friends at home while you’re in rehab
  • Missing work
  • Losing your job

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks for a serious health condition that impacts your ability to do your job. During that time, your job is supposed to be protected and waiting for your return to work.

The good news is that the benefits of seeking treatment far outweigh the costs.

As you work through recovery, you can reconnect with loved ones and build better relationships all around with the tools you’ve obtained through treatment.

How To Find Top Addiction Treatment Centers Near You

When you’re ready to take the next steps in seeking treatment for your addiction, it’s important to find a treatment center nearby that can meet your needs. If you’re struggling to locate an appropriate place, we can help.

Reach out through our helpline today or visit our website to locate top treatment centers in your area.

Addiction Treatment FAQs

What treatment is best for addiction?

There are several treatments for addiction, and the one that works for someone else may not work for you.

That’s why it’s important to work with healthcare providers who know your specific situation and figure out which treatments will apply and work well for your specific addiction.

How is substance abuse and mental illness treated?

It depends on what substance is being abused and what mental illness diagnosis is given. Substance abuse can sometimes require medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as part of detox and recovery.

Both substance abuse and mental illness can be helped with counseling, therapy, and support groups through dual diagnosis treatment, a form of care designed to treat substance abuse and mental health conditions at the same time.

Can treatment cure addiction?

No. There is no cure for addiction. It’s a chronic disease, which means treatment will last the rest of your life.

As with other chronic diseases, the focus should be on maintaining a good quality of life while ensuring that you’re taking care of your health.

Is detox addiction treatment?

No. While it starts you on the road to sobriety by removing or helping your body remove all traces of whatever substance you’re addicted to, it does not treat the underlying issues that led to your addiction.

How long do you need to be in addiction treatment?

The length of your treatment stages will vary based on what you’re addicted to, how long you’ve been addicted, how often and how much you use, your overall health, and what type of environment you’re in.

Recovery from addiction lasts a lifetime. With careful attention, you may be able to move into treatment that is less intense as part of a step-down approach.

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