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What are the Different Types of Drug Addiction Programs?

By Amanda Barnhart
Updated May 17, 2024
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Drug addiction programs come in many forms to provide individuals with a substance abuse problem the best chance at recovery. What works for one person may have adverse effects on another, since there are so many reasons for — and types of — addiction. Some people go through several different types of programs before finding one suited to their individual needs. Most programs focus on counseling, behavior modification therapy, physical treatment, or some combination of these.

Some people are able to stop using drugs or alcohol on their own, but those who have a serious addiction problem often need the assistance of drug addiction programs to get clean. Outpatient programs and support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous® (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous® (A.A.®), can help many addicts cope with their feelings and refrain from using. NA and A.A.® use a specific 12-step program to help addicts address the physical, mental, and spiritual factors that relate to their problems, and general health and well-being.

These support groups typically use a type of buddy system in which a new participant is matched with someone who has been sober for a longer length of time. Getting support from a peer, who has struggled with addiction himself or herself, often helps an addict stay positive about his or her sobriety. This is because the addict can see that another person has gone through a very similar situation.

Counselors and therapists who specialize in substance abuse often offer personalized drug addiction programs to individuals who are unable to attend support groups, or who are unwilling to participate in them because of embarrassment or other personal issues. Alcohol and drug abuse counselors often focus on underlying issues and conditions that may be partially responsible for a person’s drug abuse, such as unresolved relationship issues or depression. Therapy can help an addict learn coping skills to stay sober during stressful situations when he or she may be more tempted to use.

Sober living houses are available in some communities for addicts who do not have a safe, drug-free environment to live in while they battle their addictions. These homes allow addicts to live together in a supportive environment where they can help encourage each other to refrain from drugs and alcohol. These houses may be sponsored by a local government agency, counseling service, or substance abuse treatment center, and they usually have strict rules that residents must abide by in order to reside there.

Inpatient drug addiction programs are helpful for many people who have tried other methods of substance abuse treatment without long-term success. Such residential treatment can also be better suited to people who are addicted to a substance that has severe and potentially dangerous side effects when detoxing, such as heroin. Inpatient treatment centers may allow patients to stay for several weeks or several months, depending on the facility’s policies and the individual’s addiction. These places usually have doctors, nurses, and other medical staff available to prescribe medications and oversee the physical and mental health of patients. They also commonly use individual and group therapy to help addicts address all of the factors involved in their addiction problem.

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