Menu Close

Drug Rehab Levels of Care Explained

Medical detox. Inpatient rehab. Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Drug and alcohol counseling. You’re poring over websites in your search for a treatment center. All the options available are overwhelming, though. What does each of these things mean? With almost 15,000 treatment centers in the United States, there are many to pick from. Not knowing what separates the treatment options may put you off from seeking treatment. This only catapults the cycle of addiction and alcoholism further forward. Explanations of treatment centers are often described with difficult medical terms. You don’t have time for this if you’re looking for treatment immediately. You need something that’s simple to understand. Simple does not mean it lacks information, though. You’ll learn everything you need to know about detox, inpatient rehab, PHP, outpatient, and drug and alcohol counseling. The intensity of your struggle with alcoholism or addiction will determine the type of care you need. Perhaps your dependence is severe. You may need medical detox to help you manage your initial withdrawal symptoms. Maybe you’re busy with work and aren’t able to enroll in full-time treatment. In that case, an intensive outpatient program would be beneficial instead. Regardless of where you are in life, there is a type of treatment for you. You can get sober through treatment, whether you’re a busy mom of five or a student trying to get through school. If you make the decision to get the help you need and commit to it, you can find a new way of life. Take the first step in your journey to recovery by reading this post to learn more about treatment.

Medical Detox

You will likely experience some type of withdrawal symptoms when you first get sober. The more severe your addiction or alcoholism, the greater the impact of these withdrawals. If this is the case with you, you may need the help of medical detox. Detox takes place in a hospital or residential setting over the course of 1 to 10 days. Doctors, nurses, and addiction counselors help you through the first few days of sobriety. This includes withdrawal management. Some detoxes offer only supervision while others, called medical detox, help with medication. The medication-assisted medical detox helps manage withdrawals with approved drugs. Some of these drugs help shorten the length of the detox. Others keep nausea, hallucinations, and seizures at bay. Detox and withdrawal will not be a fun process, especially with serious substance dependence. Yet if you want to get sober, the process is necessary. The point of medical detox is to make the first few days as smooth as possible. When used, it will help you transition into the next step of your recovery. Some medical detoxes are part of a larger treatment facility. These treatment centers usually transfer you from detox into inpatient rehab. Other centers use PHP or outpatient programs such as IOP. These centers keep the continuum of care under one roof to simplify the process. In certain cases, you may only need medical detox to separate you from drugs and alcohol. Once you are through the withdrawals, you may find a 12 step program or other alternatives. Whatever serves to keep you sober for the long-term is the best option for you.

Inpatient Rehab

Whether you attend medical detox or not, inpatient rehab is a fantastic option. When you are early in sobriety, staying sober alone may prove difficult. Inpatient rehab provides a residential community of people with the same goals. You all walk together on the same path towards sobriety. Staying sober is much easier with a supportive group of people around you. Inpatient rehab usually takes place in a residential facility such as a house. Some use a series of apartments. Whichever physical location they use, in inpatient rehab you will stay with roommates. Certain locations provide individual rooms but most require you to share one. Every inpatient rehab residence has rules you must follow. Visiting hours, curfew, chores, and programs all have their place in inpatient rehab. Not all have the same rules, but each has a common theme. Many addicts and alcoholics disregard discipline while drinking and using. Living within the guidelines established by your treatment center helps to instill it again. Inpatient rehab also includes individual and group counseling. Individual counseling helps you to process your own experience on a one-on-one basis. Group therapy allows you to process your experience with input from others. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, leading to your splitting time between them. If you find group therapy to be difficult, you will usually have individual counseling to balance it out. Same goes for the other way around. Inpatient rehab takes into account what benefits and challenges you as an individual. They will use the combination to push you outside your comfort zone, a place where you will spend a lot of time. Some inpatient rehab facilities integrate 12 step recovery into their programming. Certain facilities hold meetings inside the house for your group. Others take you to meetings outside the facility. Still, others use a combination of both approaches. Regardless of the location, 12 step programs benefited millions before you. If you have an aversion to 12 step recovery, it may be worth a shot. The 12 steps are helpful not only to not drink but in making everyday decisions. The spiritual aspect may be difficult for some but no one will force you to believe in anything specific. There are plenty of benefits to inpatient rehabs using 12 step programs. 12 step provides you with another opportunity to step outside your comfort zone. If you insist on not attending 12 step, though, it will benefit you to find an inpatient rehab that does not use it. You can find out this information when researching facilities by asking them.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Partial Hospitalization Programs are most often referred to by the acronym PHP. This treatment type adopts the same type of intensive day treatment offered in inpatient rehab. The difference between inpatient rehab and PHP, though, is that you can go home at the end of the day in PHP. PHP usually lasts around 5-6 hours a day, as much as inpatient rehab. They use individual and group counseling as well as educational sessions. You can process things on an individual basis with a counselor and then with a group. The educational sessions inform you more about addiction and alcoholism. They cover how your brain functions on drugs and alcohol. They inform you on how your choices impact both your life and your body. Additionally, PHP may also use 12 step programs in their programming. 12 step is an important aspect of the recovery of thousands. Though there are no real statistics on the recovery rates of programs like AA and NA, there are many individual case studies. Dozens of people in the rooms of 12 step programs will tell you how it saved their life. Since it works for so many, treatment programs find it beneficial to use. Some people who attend PHP do so during the day while living in a sober residential facility at night. This is not required but many find it to be helpful. When you live in a sober environment you are more likely to stay sober. It also helps to have people surrounding you who share the same goals. You share a common interest and are more likely to achieve it together.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient programs usually refer to Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP). Oftentimes IOP gets confused with PHP because both take place on an outpatient basis. The biggest difference between the two is the amount of treatment received. In a PHP, you attend 5-6 hours of treatment per day, 5 days per week. In IOP, on the other hand, treatment takes place for 3 hours a day, 3-5 days a week. When work or school occupies your day it may seem you’ll never be able to attend treatment. Outpatient makes this possible. Outpatient programs and IOP are a great option for those with full-time jobs or school. Oftentimes they hold sessions at night for you to attend after work or school, or once the kids are asleep. If you want to get sober, there is always an option available. Outpatient and IOP use much of the same treatment programs like PHP and inpatient rehab. Individual and group therapy are staples, with a heavier emphasis on the group. IOP focuses on processing things with others as opposed to with a single counselor. Educational sessions are also a large part of outpatient programs. Learning coping skills, trigger management, and relapse avoidance are necessary tools for long term recovery. These sessions also inform you of the impact of drugs and alcohol on your body. Though you can see the effects in your everyday life, you may not realize the physical toll they take. Most often, outpatient also encourages the use of outside 12 step meetings. They don’t usually include meetings during treatment but suggest attending outside ones. They can’t dictate what you do outside of treatment, though, so you can choose not to attend. You may find it helpful to have another group of people walking the same path of life. It may be worth it to give it a chance.

Drug and Alcohol Counseling

Drug and alcohol counseling is the least intensive course of treatment. As opposed to detox, inpatient rehab, PHP, and outpatient, drug and alcohol counseling is minimal. You will meet with a certified drug and alcohol counselor or a qualified therapist for an hour or two per week. Drug and alcohol counseling takes place on an individual, one-on-one basis. The counselor you work with will be more concerned with your specific needs. It is helpful for those who need more direct attention. Rather than competing for attention in group therapy, the focus is on only you. This won’t work for those who prefer to hide in the corner during group; you’re the only one talking. You’ll learn to manage your day to day life while sober in drug and alcohol counseling. You’ll learn how and why things trigger you and how to handle them when they arise. Your therapist will help you process the things in life that make recovery difficult. You can work through challenges in life that impact your sobriety. This counseling provides a better aftercare approach once you’ve gone through intensive treatment. Drug and alcohol counseling is helpful after inpatient rehab, PHP, or outpatient. This does not mean you have to go treatment before counseling, though. If you are able to, you can use it on its own without any other treatment.

Selecting a Treatment Facility

Now that you know more about individual types of treatment you can make a more informed decision. Consider where you are at and be honest with yourself about how severe your addiction is. Intake counselors at these locations can help you determine what is best. Consult your insurance company as well to find out which treatment options they cover. Especially with the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, it is now necessary to ensure you are covered. You do not have to struggle through early sobriety alone. There are thousands of people in the same place as you. If you reach out for help, you will find it. Whether you select medical detox, inpatient rehab, PHP, outpatient, or drug and alcohol counseling, there are people there for you.