A Complete Guide to the Different Types of Drug Rehab

Last updated: 24 July 2022

When looking for drug rehab, it is essential to understand the different treatment types and what they offer. The most common drug rehab services are long-term, short-term, inpatient, detox, outpatient, and group meetings. Each can be utilized to treat substance use disorder, but choosing the right one is vital to ensure you receive the level of care required to stay drug-free successfully. On this page, we will explain, in detail, the different types of treatment, the pros and cons of each type of drug rehab, and what is recommended depending on your situation.

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Long-Term Drug Rehab

When looking for long-term drug rehab, knowing the type of treatment you or your loved one would be entering is good. Long-term rehabilitation provides the most effective treatment because patients remain in the program longer than one month.

However, it can be challenging to know what long-term facility to select. Every program provides something different or has a different standard of care from the other facility. The help you make an informed decision, we explain what long-term rehab means, the pros and cons of this treatment approach, and what is recommended depending on the situation.

Description:

Long-term drug rehab is the most prolonged form of substance use treatment. It almost always requires the patient to live at the facility where they receive care. Residential means a resident is living in a homelike environment.

Time-Frame: 

Two months and upwards of one year or longer, but this is rare.

What is offered: 

  • 24/7 supervision and support. This is not necessarily medical support unless an emergency arises.
  • Full room and board. This includes room, meals, and laundry.
  • Leisure activities. The facility may include a gym, weight room, games, recreation area, or pool.
  • Co-ed, men only, or women only. Generally, this varies depending on the center.
  • Visitation depends on what state of treatment the client is on.
  • On-site detoxification. (Not necessarily medical detox)
  • Counseling methodologies rely on the program. Yet, it may include:
    • Individual or group counseling.
    • Behavioral Therapies
    • 12-Step facilitation
    • Holistic Therapies
    • Experiential Therapies
  • Aftercare support or alumni support upon graduation.

Who should attend:

  • Anyone with a long history of substance use and chronic relapse.
  • Anyone who has unsuccessfully completed outpatient or short-term drug rehab.
  • Anyone who wants to remain in a stable, drug-free, safe environment, away from their current environment.

Pros:

  • Facilities are generally in remote locations away from everything, providing a stable environment.
  • Counseling and therapy are tailored to individual needs because there is time to accomplish this.
  • More therapy methodologies are offered, and facilities tend to have more staff.

Cons:

  • Not always covered by health insurance, and cost can be a barrier.
  • Time commitment means making arrangements for work, family, children, or other responsibilities.
  • Being isolated away from family and friends is challenging.

Evaluation:

It has been our experience that the best results come from long-term drug rehab. More time is spent working directly with the client and their family. In addition, more underlying issues are addressed, and there is more focus on long-term recovery and aftercare support.

Services breakdown for different drug rehabs.

Short-Term Drug Rehab

When looking for short-term drug rehab, understanding the differences between a shorter program and lengthier treatment is critical. Short-term drug rehab is one of the more accessible forms of substance use treatment.

Additionally, there are more in large and small cities throughout a state. Yet, it can be challenging to choose the right one. We will explain short-term drug rehab, the pros and cons, and what is generally recommended based on the situation to make things easier.

Description:

This type of rehabilitation is designed to be a shorter program. Clients generally live at the facility where they are receiving care. Residential means a resident is living in a homelike environment.

Time-Frame:

Two to four weeks, and it does not generally go longer unless the client transfers to lengthier rehabilitation.

What is offered:

  • 24/7 supervision and support, yet may not include on-site medical support.
  • Full room and board, with laundry.
  • General leisure activities, such as weight room or exercise room, games, or entertainment room.
  • Co-ed, men-only, or women-only. The options vary depending on the facility.
  • Visitation is not always an option because it is a short program.
  • Detox is often a separate entity off-site, but this varies depending on the program.
  • Counseling methodologies depend on the program. Yet, it may include:
    • Individual or group counseling.
    • Behavioral Therapies
    • 12-Step facilitation
    • Holistic Therapies
    • Experiential Therapies
  • Aftercare support is limited, but clients are often referred to meetings or outpatient treatment.

Who should attend:

  • Anyone with a relatively short history of addiction, recreational drug use, or chronic binge substance use
  • Anyone who can no longer rely on meetings or outpatient treatment
  • Anyone who cannot commit to long-term drug rehab because of work or family responsibilities.

Pros:

  • Most health insurance covers short-term drug rehab.
  • Less time commitment is required.
  • More facility options to select from.

Cons:

  • Fewer counseling methodologies are provided.
  • Shorter treatment does not necessarily mean more success.
  • Therapy approaches are crammed into a shorter time frame.

Evaluation:

In our experience, short-term drug rehab is the first option for most addicts. Yet, it can often be the wrong choice for someone with a long history of substance use. However, some rehabilitation is better than none, and short-term drug rehab programs are often more accessible. 

Inpatient Drug Rehab

When searching for inpatient drug rehab, it is essential to distinguish between inpatient and residential. This treatment approach is especially beneficial for clients with medical conditions. However, knowing if this is the best option can be difficult. To help with this, we go over what inpatient drug rehab is and how it differs from residential drug rehab. In addition, we will explore the pros and cons and what is recommended depending on the situation.

Description:

Clients reside in a clinical or hospital setting. Inpatient programs offer 24/7 medical support and supervision, with some behavioral therapy. Yet, terminology changes from state to state. This differs from residential treatment because the environment is usually a hospital setting and less homey. Inpatient also tends to be a lot shorter than a residential program.

Time-Frame:

One to two weeks, but generally shorter, depending on underlying medical conditions and withdrawal

What is Offered:

  • 24/7 medical support within a hospital setting.
  • Withdrawal management or detox.
  • Access to behavioral counseling services.
  • Referral to short-term or long-term drug rehab programs.

Who should attend:

  • Someone who needs constant supervision to prevent drug use.
  • Anyone who requires medical support during detox and rehabilitation.
  • Anyone who needs medical detox or a specific form of withdrawal management.

Pros:

  • Constant medical support and care.
  • Hospital setting to manage any medical emergency.

Cons:

  • It does not provide long-term care
  • It does not offer extensive behavioral counseling or therapy

Evaluation:

In our experience, inpatient drug rehab centers remain a good option for anyone requiring constant medical care or supervision. In addition, it offers a transition to long-term or short-term drug rehab once a client has been stabilized.

Detox

When searching for a detoxification program, it is crucial to understand what it is and the different types of detox. Generally, the first step in rehabilitation is detox, which can involve a clinical standard or a medical process.

However, it can be difficult to know which one is required or how to select the right detox center. To assist you, we will explain the different types of detox, the pros and cons, and what is recommended depending on the situation.

Description:

Detox is the first step for most individuals entering drug rehab. It consists of managing withdrawal symptoms and stabilizing a client physically and mentally.

Time-Frame:

Three to seven days or longer, depending on the severity of the withdrawal symptoms.

What is offered:

  • Standard detox without medical intervention—24-hour supervision within a clinical setting.
  • Medical detox with medical intervention. 24-hour medical support and supervision to treat withdrawal symptoms.
  • Room and board, which includes room, meals, and laundry.
  • Access to 12-step meetings or peer support during the stay.

Who should attend:

  • Anyone who is still under the influence of drugs before attending drug rehab.
  • Anyone addicted to opioids, prescription medications, or alcohol requires medical intervention.
  • Anyone who does not have more than two weeks sober before entering drug rehab

Pros:

  • Successfully manages mild to severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Stabilizes a client physically and mentally before treatment
  • Aids in removing the initial toxins from the body

Cons:

  • It does not substitute formal drug rehabilitation.
  • It does not provide counseling or therapy.
  • It is not always an immediate transition into drug rehab after detox.

Evaluation:

In our experience, detox is the first step and a critical part of the rehabilitation process. However, it is important to have short-term or long-term drug rehab arranged after detox unless it is part of one of these options.

Outpatient

When searching for outpatient drug rehab, it is crucial to understand what it is and how it can help. Outpatient treatment is the most commonly accessed form of drug rehab. Yet, it may be tough to know if it is the perfect fit.

Additionally, it can be challenging to select the correct one. To assist you, we explain what outpatient drug rehab is, its pros and cons, and what is recommended depending on the situation.

Description:

Clients attend a facility daily for a specified number of hours. They do not reside at the location. The client is also responsible for maintaining their sobriety.

Time Frame:

Two weeks to one year; outpatient drug rehab has limitless opportunities for treatment duration.

What is offered:

  • A stable, drug-free, safe location to attend daily for therapy.
  • Various therapy methodologies:
    • Behavioral Counseling
    • 12-Step Facilitation
    • Holistic Therapies
    • Experiential Therapies
    • Group or individual counseling
  • Access to extensive recovery support resources and aftercare.
  • Access to 12-step meetings
  • Random drug testing to ensure sobriety

Who should attend:

  • Anyone who cannot commit to residential drug rehab.
  • Anyone who cannot avoid work or family responsibilities.
  • Anyone who does not have a long history of addiction and chronic relapse.
  • Recreational or casual drug users.
  • Binge drug and alcohol users.

Pros:

  • Affordable and accessible care.
  • Allows clients to maintain work and family life.
  • Excellent aftercare support.

Cons:

  • The client must be sober before attending treatment.
  • Detox is not necessarily part of treatment.
  • The client is responsible for their sobriety during treatment.

Evaluation:

In our experience, outpatient drug rehab has proven to be a successful form of aftercare support. However, it is not the best choice for an individual with a long history of substance abuse. In addition, it has been our experience that individuals who have been through drug rehab more than once do not benefit from outpatient care unless they use it as aftercare support.

Group Meetings

When searching for peer support groups such as 12-step meetings, AA Meetings, NA Meetings, or any form of individual support or family support, it is good to know what they are and how they help.

These meetings provide ongoing sober support and help those in recovery. Yet, knowing what type of meeting to select can be challenging. To help, we go over the difference in meetings, the pros and cons, and what is recommended depending on the situation.

Description:

Meetings are a group where recovering addicts come together with a facilitator. The purpose is to provide support and guidance, generally using the 12-step methodology. They are usually anonymous.

Time-Frame:

For as long as needed. It is not unusual for individuals to remain connected to meetings for years.

What is offered:

  • Group support with other sober like-minded individuals.
  • Access to numerous meeting locations.
  • Meetings for all substances and support for family members.
  • Twelve-step facilitation.

Who should attend:

  • Anyone who wants to stop using drugs or alcohol.
  • Anyone in recovery which benefits from 12-step methods and group support.
  • Any family member of an addict who requires group support and understanding.

Pros:

  • Meetings are free, and anyone can attend.
  • Meetings are available in almost every town or city.
  • Anyone can attend, and a person does not need a referral.

Cons:

  • The twelve-step methodology does not work well for everyone.
  • Meetings do not always substitute going to drug rehab.

Evaluation:

Meetings remain among the most successful and well-recognized forms of recovery support. In our experience, they have proven the best option for individuals and families who need sober connections after completing drug rehab.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Marcel Gemme, DATS

Marcel Gemme, DATS

Author

on July 24, 2022

More Information

Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.

Michael Leach, CCMA

Michael Leach, CCMA

Medically Reviewed

on July 24, 2022

More Information

Michael Leach is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, who has over 5 years of experience working in the field of addiction. He spent his career working under the board-certified Addictionologist Dr. Rohit Adi. His experience includes working with families during their loved one’s stay in treatment, helping those with substance abuse issues find treatment, and teaching life skills to patients in a recovery atmosphere. Though he has worked in many different areas of rehabilitation, the majority of his time was spent working one on one with patients who were actively withdrawing from drugs. Withdrawal and the fear of going through it is one biggest reason why an addict continues to use and can be the most difficult part of the rehabilitation process. His experience in the withdrawal atmosphere has taught him that regardless of what approach a person takes to get off drugs, there are always mental and emotional obstacles that need to be overcome. He believes having someone there to help a person through these obstacles can make all the difference during the withdrawal process.