Professional treatment for substance abuse and addiction is essential to a strong, effective recovery. But many individuals have a number of questions that need to be answered before they even begin seeking treatment. Read our FAQ, and if you still have questions.

Table of Contents

What Is Addiction Treatment?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, professional treatment for addiction, also known as rehab, is meant to help individuals put an end to their “drug seeking and use” and to help them avoid the potential for relapse. Patients learn a number of skills in rehab as well as receive treatments that will help minimize their chances of relapse. Treatment also helps individuals

  • Mend broken relationships
  • Function better in work and school
  • Avoid legal problems and stop criminal activity
  • Learn to recognize dangerous beliefs and attitudes and change them
  • Improve their psychological and physical state

What Is Addiction Treatment Like?

There are two different types of rehab programs: inpatient and outpatient. An individual usually chooses one based on the severity of their condition, although both might be appropriate at different times in one’s recovery.

  • Inpatient or residential programs provide 24-hour care to patients in a controlled environment. This is usually beneficial to those with more severe addictions or additional issues.
  • Outpatient rehab provides many of the same treatment options that inpatient care does, but patients are able to return home after their sessions.

Rehab for addiction is usually highly structured with treatments occurring at the same times every day. Patients may be admitted either voluntarily or involuntarily and decide with their doctor which treatment options will best benefit their situation.

Which Is Better: Inpatient or Outpatient Care?

Both programs are effective for different individuals at different times in their lives. For example, a patient may decide to attend inpatient treatment, and once the program is over, move on to an outpatient facility as aftercare. But depending on your situation, one may be more effective than the other.

  • According to the medical journal Psychiatric Quarterly, individuals with “high psychiatric severity” usually fare better in inpatient care. This includes people suffering from co-occurring mental disorders, like depression, anxiety disorders, or schizophrenia, in addition to their addictions.
  • People without a strong social support system also often require inpatient care in order to safely recover. In this case, the doctors, nurses, therapists, and other patients in the facility become the individual’s support system.
  • Those who are suffering from severe addictions in addition to any other issues may choose inpatient care, simply because it provides 24-hour surveillance and a controlled environment in which the individual can heal.

If any of these factors apply to you, inpatient treatment may be the best choice, although it is important to look at the entire picture of your recovery when choosing a treatment option.

How Long Does Addiction Treatment Take?

According to the NIDA, “Generally, for residential or outpatient treatment, participation for less than 90 days is of limited effectiveness, and treatment lasting significantly longer is recommended for maintaining positive outcomes.”

  • Some rehab programs only last for 30 or 60 days and do not last the full 90 days recommended by research. However, this does not mean that they will be ineffective.
  • Every individual needs their own, personalized treatment plan. However, those who attend rehab for a longer period of time usually experience better outcomes.
  • One long treatment program isn’t always the most effective option either. As stated by the NIDA, many individuals need to attend multiple rehab and other types of treatment programs over the long-term in order to create the most effective recovery possible.

What Happens After Rehab?

After rehab ends, most patients are able to find an aftercare program with the help of their doctor that suits their specific needs. There are many different types of aftercare options available to individuals in recovery from substance use disorders, including

  • Booster sessions: According to the NIDA Archives, these sessions “provide a reminder to the patient of his or her commitment to recovery” by allowing visits to the rehab center after the person’s treatment program ends.
  • Sober living houses: These facilities allow residents to come and go for work, attend meetings or outpatient care, and pay rent while staying in a drug- and alcohol-free space.
  • Support groups: 12-step groups like Narcotics Anonymous or non-12-step groups like SMART Recovery allow members to practice social support and help one another through recovery.

Will Rehab Cure Me?

Unfortunately, rehab is not considered a cure for addiction. According to the NIDA, addiction is a chronic disease, like diabetes, heart disease, or asthma, and this means that it usually cannot be fully cured. However, it can be managed with the help of treatment programs and other options for recovery.

If I Relapse, Does that Mean My Treatment Failed?

No. Many people believe this, but it is important to understand the nature of addiction and why so many people relapse even after attending treatment. Because addiction is a chronically relapsing disease, it is difficult for most individuals––even those who haven’t used in a long time––to avoid relapse. Sometimes, this does occur, but it doesn’t mean your treatment has failed.

  • If you do relapse back to substance abuse after or during your addiction treatment, make sure you tell someone immediately.
  • Consider why you returned to your substance abuse: was there a specific trigger that made you want to use?
  • If you are not currently in treatment, you may want to consider returning to a rehab program or another type of option (such as a support group). This can help you get back on track with your recovery.

How Much Does Rehab Cost?

Rehab can cost as little as $10 a day, in the case of some methadone maintenance clinics, or as much as $80 to $100,000 a month. There is a wide range of costs when it comes to rehab centers for recovery, and according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 4 percent of all substance abuse treatment programs in the country even provide completely free care to their patients.

You can normally find a rehab program with a cost that suits your budget, but it is also important to consider the cost of continued substance abuse vs. the cost of treatment. In most cases, those who continue to use drugs may think it is cheaper than recovery and professional care, but issues like legal battles, losing one’s job, and homelessness are all common among addicts, not to mention the consistent need to obtain and use more drugs. In the long run, rehab is the cheaper option as well as the healthier one.

Can I Use My Insurance to Attend Rehab?

In many cases, yes. As stated by SAMHSA, prevention and treatment for mental disorders, including addiction, is now considered an essential health benefit, which means any insurance plan sold through the Health Care Marketplace must at least partly cover it. It is still important, though, when you find a rehab center that you prefer to inquire whether or not they will accept your specific insurance.

What Is Private Rehab?

Private rehab takes the privacy of its patients seriously and makes this its utmost priority. This can be an especially beneficial option for those who want to attend treatment but are afraid of the stigma addiction can place on their lives.

What Is Luxury Rehab?

Luxury rehab is a more costly option for treatment that usually also provides additional amenities and options to patients, such as hotel-like accommodations, gourmet food, spas, etc. Those who do not have the funds necessary to attend luxury rehab need not worry that these facilities provide better care, though. All the essential treatment options, including behavioral therapies and medications, are provided at almost every type of rehab center, no matter what the cost.

How Can I Help My Loved One Recover from Substance Abuse?

The best way to help your loved one is to encourage them to attend professional rehab. According to the NIDA, having friends and family members involved in one’s recovery can help strengthen and extend the benefits gained through treatment. In addition, your support will be essential to their strong recovery, so make sure to let them know you’ll be by their side every step of the way.

How Can I Find Safe, Reliable Care?

The best way to find a treatment option that will be effective for you is to consider all of your needs, even those that may not directly affect your addiction. Once you know what you will require from your rehab program, you are ready to search for the best option for your particular situation.