Treatment options

Types of treatment

Treatment helps people disrupt addiction's powerful effects on the brain and behavior, and regain control of their lives. There are many kinds of treatment; your recovery may include one or more of these.

Detoxification (Detox)

Supervised withdrawal from substance use

A process that helps the body rid itself of substances while the symptoms of withdrawal are treated. Detoxification by itself is not treatment; it is a first step that can prepare a person for treatment. More details about pretreatment and detox.

Interim care

When immediate admission to other care isn’t available

Many facilities have long waitlists, but can still help. Interim care provides daily medication and emergency counseling. This can be a helpful bridge from beginning recovery to admission to a regular outpatient, inpatient, or residential setting.


Treatment at a program site while a patient lives on their own

Outpatient treatment is best for people willing to attend regular appointments and counseling sessions. Since there is no overnight care, it’s important to have a stable living environment, reliable transportation, and supportive family or friends.

Care frequency depends on the program, with some requiring daily attendance and others meeting one to three times per week. Outpatient care usually lasts from about two months to one year.

Hospital inpatient

24/7 care connected to a hospital, lasting days or weeks

These are usually connected to a hospital or clinic, and provide detox and rehabilitative care. People with serious mental or medical concerns, as well as substance use disorders, are the most likely to use inpatient treatment.

Teens and adolescents benefit from the structure of inpatient treatment to fully understand their needs and make a treatment plan.


Live-in care, lasting for one month to one year

A stable setting for long-term phased treatment. Each facility has specific rules and expectations for both residents and their families. Residential care usually lasts from a few months to a year.

They’re best for people without stable living or work situations, and/or who have limited or no family support in treatment. They also help people with very serious disorders who have been unable to get and stay sober or drug free in other treatment.

Transitional housing

A temporary space to stay while transitioning from an intensive treatment setting. Sometimes called a halfway house or sober living facility.

As part of the path to independent living, these facilities support people in recovery with temporary places to live. They may also have support programs around employment and education, or case managers to help residents succeed during and after their stay.

Co-occurring mental health and substance use treatment

Integrated care that addresses substance use and mental illness

Having both a substance use and mental health disorder is called a co-occurring disorder. About half of people who experience one will also experience the other. Addressing both is critical for success in recovery, and integrated treatment programs can help.

Integrated care brings together different areas of expertise to treat the whole person, and ensure that treatment for one factor doesn’t interfere with treatment of others.

Telemedicine (including internet and mobile options)

Care given over the phone or online to support treatment and recovery

Telemedicine can be a tremendous help to people who are unable to regularly get to a treatment facility. While it’s not the first step in treatment, telemedicine can be a key part of a treatment plan, especially for patients living far away from a facility.

(Page published: October 2019)