“It always seems impossible until it is done.”

– Nelson Mandela

Kinds of Treatments Available

There are many kinds of effective treatments and services for people with Substance Use Disorder, including:

  1. Individual and group counseling
  2. Inpatient and residential treatment
  3. Intensive outpatient treatment
  4. Partial hospital programs
  5. Case or care management
  6. Medication
  7. Recovery support services
  8. 12-Step fellowship
  9. Peer supports.1

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

– Robert Collier

Individual and Group Counseling

Therapeutic counseling can be provided individually or in groups. Individual counseling often focuses on helping to reduce or stop substance use, skill building, adherence to a recovery plan, and social, family, and professional/educational outcomes. Group counseling is often used in addition to individual counseling to provide social reinforcement during recovery.1

Inpatient and Residential Treatment

Treatment can be provided in an inpatient or a residential setting. This happens within substance use disorder treatment facilities, facilities with a broader behavioral health focus, or by specialized units within hospitals. Longer-term residential treatment has lengths of stay that can be as long as six to twelve months. These programs focus on helping individuals change their behaviors in a highly structured setting. Shorter-term residential treatment is much more common, and typically has a focus on detoxification as well as providing initial intensive treatment, and preparation for a return to a community-based setting.1

“If we are facing the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.”

– Zen Proverb

Intensive Outpatient Treatment and Partial Hospital Programs

An alternative to inpatient or residential treatment is partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment. These programs have clients attend very intensive and regular treatment sessions multiple times a week early in their treatment for an initial period. After completing partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment, these individuals often then step down into regular outpatient treatment which meets less frequently and for fewer hours per week to help sustain recovery.1

Case or Care Management

Case or care management includes patient education, coordination of all services being provided, and practicing self-management techniques. Case management focuses on individual episodes requiring care, while care management focuses on the patient and his or her whole history of episodes.2

“If you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime.”

– Benjamin Alire Saenz

Medication

Using medication to treat substance use disorders is often referred to as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). In this model, medication is used in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies. Medications can reduce the cravings and other symptoms associated with withdrawal from a substance by occupying receptors in the brain associated with using that drug to block the rewarding sensation that comes with using a substance, or induce negative feelings when a substance is taken.1

Recovery Support Services

Recovery support services are non-clinical services that are used with treatment to support individuals in their recovery goals. Recovery support may include:

  1. Transportation to and from treatment and recovery-oriented activities
  2. Employment or educational supports
  3. Specialized living situations
  4. Peer-to-peer services, mentoring, coaching
  5. Spiritual and faith-based support
  6. Parenting education
  7. Self-help and support groups
  8. Outreach and engagement
  9. Staffing drop-in centers, clubhouses, respite/crisis services
  10. Education about strategies to promote wellness and recovery.1

“Whether you think you can or can’t, either way, you’re right.”

– Henry Ford

12-Step Workshop

Peers play a powerful role as a part of mutual-support groups. These groups, including Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-step programs, provide peer support for ending or reducing substance use.  Mutual-support groups are often intentionally incorporated into treatment plans and can provide a ready community for individuals who are trying to change their lifestyles to get away from alcohol and other drugs.1

Peer Supports

Peers are individuals in recovery who can use their own experiences to help others working towards recovery. Peer supports are a critical component of the substance use disorder treatment system. Many people who work in the treatment system as counselors or case managers are in recovery and peers are central to many recovery support efforts.1

“The best way out is always through.”

– Robert Frost

 

1 “Treatments for Substance Abuse Disorders,” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2018.
2 “Care Management vs. Case Management,” SALS Systems Health, 2018.

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