Types of Treatment

The road to recovery is different for everyone and there are many different treatment options.
Learning which ones will provide the best support for you is the first step toward recovery.

Treatment Programs (where you'll go)

One of the first questions people ask is whether they should:

  1. Go away for treatment:  Live full time at a facility while getting treatment.
  2. Stay at home for treatment:  Go to a facility a few hours a week for treatment while living at home.

Start by talking to a doctor or therapist who is trained in addiction treatment. They’ll assess your symptoms and recommend treatment and services that meet your unique needs. If you're not ready or able to talk to a doctor, you can assess your needs by using Shatterproof Treatment Atlas


There are four main types of treatment programs

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)



Go away for treatment


Stay at home for treatment

24/7 hospital care for a few days or weeks Stay at a facility for a few weeks or months 9+ hours of care a week at a clinic or hospital 1 to 8 hours of care a week at a clinic
For people who need 24-hour care for their mental or physical health and safety in addition to their drug or alcohol use. Most are connected to a hospital or clinic. People receive therapy and medication for opioid use disorder, alcohol user disorder, mental health conditions, or behavioral issues while living at the facility full-time. People spend several days a week in 1:1 counseling and group sessions that last several hours each visit. These programs coordinate care more intensively than standard outpatient programs People meet with a licensed therapist in an office setting to work on meeting goals for recovery, learning new coping skills, and addressing underlying issues.


Your treatment should match the severity of your condition and other factors like your potential for withdrawal, physical and mental health, readiness to change, risk of relapse, and environment. 

Many people start at a more intense level of treatment and step down as they start to feel better. Costs are different for each program. Find out how to pay for treatment.

Treatment Services (the care you'll receive)

Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Cleveland Clinic

Treatment should address the needs of the whole person to be successful. Addiction is often connected to other conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar, PTSD, or chronic pain. Addressing these while you're in treatment helps with long-term recovery and decreases your risk of relapse. 

The three main types of services you'll get during treatment include:

  1. Detox (also called "withdrawal management")
  2. Cognitive and behavioral therapies
  3. Medication for addiction treatment



Detox is supervised withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. When you stop taking substances, they leave your body, which can be very uncomfortable — or even fatal — without assistance. A doctor can help by using medication in a controlled setting to ease withdrawal symptoms.

Detox is the first step in treatment, and it's available in both inpatient and outpatient programs. 


icon-behavioral-careCognitive and behavioral therapies

Certain therapies can help someone recognize and accept their substance use disorder, increase their motivation to stick with treatment, and manage stressful situations that might trigger a relapse. 

  • Individual counseling
    One-on-one counseling explores personal problems that someone may not be comfortable discussing in a group setting.

  • Group counseling
    Usually consists of six to ten people with one or two counselors facilitating a discussion about their struggles, experiences, and problems.

  • Family counseling
    When one member of a family is affected by addiction, everyone is affected. Family therapy can help the family as a whole heal from the trauma of addiction, and guide each family member through positive changes.

In addition to therapy, some programs offer education about addiction: how it works, why some people are more susceptible, and the stages of a relapse. The more you know, the better prepared you are during recovery.


icon-medicationMedication for addiction treatment

Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Medications can modify your brain chemistry to help treat Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). They can also relieve cravings and withdrawal symptoms. They work best when they’re part of a larger treatment plan.


     What it's for     How it works    How you take it
OUD Blocks the effects of opioids to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms
Daily tablet or weekly/monthly injection
OUD Buprenorphine tricks the brain into thinking it's getting opioids & naloxone blocks the activation of opioid receptors
Film or tablet once a day under the tongue
Methadone OUD Reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms and is long-lasting
Liquid or pill once a day
(Vivitrol, Revia)


Fully block the effects of opioids and reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms
Monthly injection or pill once a day
AUD Reduces cravings for alcohol
Pill three times a day 
AUD Causes unpleasant effects when even small amounts of alcohol are consumed
Pill once a day



Remember: Never start any medication without speaking to your doctor first.



Follow-up support is recommended after someone finishes a more formal treatment program. Because addiction is a chronic disease, life-long support is needed. Aftercare helps people continue to build upon what they learn in treatment as they navigate life in recovery. 

Support Groups

Many in recovery say that one of the most pivotal things about treatment and support groups is learning they are not alone. In support groups, people meet to share their experiences, listen to others, and provide comfort to one another as each person navigates their own path to recovery. 

  • 12-Step Programs
    These free support groups are for people recovering from addiction. In addition Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, there are many specialized groups for Cocaine, Meth, Heroin, and more.

    12-step meetings are peer-led, and people in the meeting take turns sharing (though sharing is not required). The 12-step approach focuses on a “higher power,” which can be God or a concept determined by each person. Many meetings are group-specific (women only, men only, LGBTQ+ only). Some are "closed" which means that only those who are recovering can attend, while others are "open" to friends and family.

  • SMART Recovery
    These are support meetings that don't have a spiritual approach to recovery. Find a SMART Recovery meeting >>

Sober Living Home

This is simply a place for those who are transitioning out of addiction treatment to live while they reestablish positive habits and abstain from using substances.

Woman in a support circle

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