Drug Addiction Treatment Facilities

Drug addiction is a complicated disorder that can impact an individual’s ability to function in almost every aspect of their life (social, professional, and personal life).1 It is a chronic disease characterized by compelling drug use and lack of control, in spite of possible detrimental consequences. Fortunately, drug addiction is a treatable disorder.

Research has led to the development of evidence-based methods that help struggling individuals stop using drugs and continue productive lives. Specialized treatment facilities have adopted these methods to provide tailored care to patients, including counseling, behavioral therapies, medication, and other support needed for individuals with substance use disorders.1

Why Go to a Drug Treatment Facility

Drug addiction is a complex disorder, and quitting tends to take much more than strong will or good intentions.2 Most drugs affect the brain’s reward circuit, inducing euphoric feeling and loading the brain with chemical messenger dopamine. A reward system that works correctly motivates a person to replicate the habits required to succeed, such as eating and spending time with friends and family.

In the reward circuit, spikes of dopamine induce the reinforcement of gratifying yet risky habits such as drug use, causing people to replicate the activity again and again.3 Drug treatment facilities employ research-based methods to counteract these disruptive effects of addiction on the brain and behaviors of the drug user, enabling them to regain control and maintain sobriety.4

Since drug addiction is such a complex and persistent disorder that has a powerful impact on the brain, treatment can also be very complex, involving many different components that target these effects. This is why it is important to attend treatment at a trusted facility where a combination of therapeutic and pharmacological interventions, professional care for drug abuse and addiction are applied in a safe, controlled environment. Once considered to be drug treatment clinics, these facilities are actually specialized treatment centers that offer care carefully tailored to the needs of the patients, that may include individual therapy, family or couples therapy, holistic therapy, medication management, and more.1

What Treatment Facilities Are Available to People With Drug Addiction

It is important to select an appropriate drug treatment center that will eventually improve patients’ overall health and well-being and help them overcome their addiction. The choice of facility and the exact kind of treatment the patient will receive will depend on their particular needs and life circumstances. A number of professionals, including counselors, doctors, therapists, psychologists, nurses, and social workers, may provide drug abuse and addiction care in medical offices and mental health centers along with specific drug treatment facilities.

drug addiction treatment clinic

Levels of Care & Amenities

The level of medical staff and the intensity of care offered will vary depending on the facility and the patient receiving treatment. The levels of care exist on a continuum, ranging from early intervention services, outpatient care and partial hospitalization to long-term intensive inpatient treatment.5

However, it is also important to mention that specific methods and treatment options may depend on a given facility. For instance, certain facilities offer specialized care for individuals with mental health conditions co-occurring with their drug addiction. These dual diagnosis treatment options have proven to be highly beneficial to patients, providing comprehensive care that targets all areas of the problem and challenges harmful beliefs and behaviors.6

Some drug treatment facilities also incorporate holistic treatment approaches into more conventional therapies, offering both psychological and physical benefits to their patients through meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and massage therapy. Additionally, some treatment centers may offer a wide range of unique amenities that may aid in recovery, from equestrian therapies to spa-like environments. Facilities may also differ in the payment options they offer, although a large majority accept both private and state-funded insurance and payments.

Types of Drug Treatment Facilities

Patients can undergo treatment at some of the following settings:5

  • A long-term inpatient treatment facility
    • Provides care and medical staff supervision 24/7 in a controlled environment. These facilities are often the best option for individuals with long-term and/or severe substance use. The duration of the program may vary from weeks to months depending on the patient’s unique needs.
    • One of the best known residential treatment models is the therapeutic community (TC). This model entails expected stays of between 6 and 12 months. TCs concentrate on resocializing the person and use the entire population of the facility, including other residents and employees as active components of care.7
    • Substance abuse treatment at this type of facility is highly structured. It may involve interventions intended to help residents analyze unhealthy values, self-conceptions, and negative patterns of behavior. It also helps them adopt different, more harmonious, and positive ways of communicating with others.
  • A short-term inpatient treatment facility
    • Offers comprehensive and intensive yet relatively short care that may combine medical treatment with an adjusted 12-step program.
    • Following their stay in a short-term inpatient facility, it is crucial for individuals to stay engaged in outpatient counseling and/or aftercare programs to minimize the risk of relapse.
  • An outpatient drug treatment facility:
    • Usually offers many of the same types of treatments and therapies as inpatient facilities, but allows the patient to live at home during recovery, which makes it a less disruptive option.
    • Outpatient treatment is typically less costly than residential or inpatient therapy. It may be more appropriate for employed individuals or patients who have significant support networks.
    • Outpatient facilities may employ methods such as group therapy, individual counseling, and different types of treatment. Outpatient facilities may offer intensive and/or regular treatment.

After leaving a residential environment, individuals are often advised to continue attending outpatient treatment facilities.8 As the first step in a larger aftercare plan, this may allow them to continue their follow-up care and helps minimize the incidence of relapse once a patient leaves a residential facility.

Some outpatient facilities, such as those that employ intensive day care, can be similar in terms of services and efficacy to residential facilities.5 However, it is important to note that this depends on each patient’s needs. Additionally, how long a patient should attend treatment at a facility is also based on an individual case.

Struggles Patients Face When Entering a Drug Treatment Facility

Individuals considering seeking help at a facility for both alcoholism and drug addiction may get discouraged by a number of challenges they face. While this depends on each patient, some of the setbacks may include the following:9

  • Stigma: This refers to the stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes of the public.10 The effects of social stigma may be serious, including decreased number of patients in treatment, reduced self-esteem, guilt and concealment of symptoms, and lower aid-seeking behavior.
  • Financial obstacles: One of the significant factors that affect access to health services is having health insurance in the private or public sector.11 People without medical coverage face greater obstacles to treatment and postpone seeking treatment.
  • Lack of support: It is always important to have support when starting treatment at any type of facility, whether it’s a drug treatment center or an outpatient clinic.12 However, drug addiction can have a negative effect on the friends and families of users. In this case, drug rehab treatment facilities can offer counseling services to friends and family of those in recovery.

Encouraging Treatment at Specialized Facilities

Individuals struggling with drug addiction can be encouraged to enter adequate treatment with the help of professionals, as well as their families and friends.

Since successful results also rely on the stay of a person in treatment long enough to experience its full benefits, professionals apply approaches that encourage individuals to continue visiting a treatment facility.13 Professionals and clinicians may develop a constructive, therapeutic partnership with their patients within a treatment program.

The health professional should ensure that a therapy plan is established in consultation with the person receiving care. The plan should also be implemented to meet the unique needs of patients and that the goals of treatment are fully communicated. Medical, psychological, and social services should also be available.

The end of dysfunctional partnerships may also be encouraged in patients in drug treatment facilities. Unhealthy relationships may contribute to the misuse of drugs. Patients are encouraged, on the other hand, to seek help from individuals who may assist them on their journey to recovery. Family, friends, and even other recovery patients may be included in these positive relationships.

Unsure where to start? Take Our Substance Abuse Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. This evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are designed to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Please be aware that this evaluation is not a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.