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Levels of Care for Substance Abuse Treatment


A whole continuum of care means that recovery is a process, and each person is on their own journey to lifelong sobriety. Depending on the level of treatment, care might be more or less intensive, and will change over time as each person progresses through each level.

What are the levels of care for treatment of substance abuse disorders?

Levels of care generally refer to the intensity of services required to diagnose and treat a condition. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has established five levels within the continuum of care for substance abuse treatment:

The numbers at each level indicate the increased intensity of services provided.

  • 0.5 – Prevention/Early Intervention Services
  • 1 – Outpatient Services
  • 2 – Intensive Outpatient Services / Partial Hospitalization Services
  • 3 – Residential/Inpatient Services
  • 4 – Medically Managed Intensive Inpatient Services

Medical Detox

Addiction is a disease, and long-term substance use can lead to a chemical dependency. When the body becomes dependent on a substance, its removal can cause adverse physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms. Medical detoxification provides a safe environment for withdrawal from drugs or alcohol under medical supervision. When necessary, a person receives medication to relieve some symptoms associated with detox. This can make the withdrawal process more effective and safer than if one tried to detox on their own.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment centers, also called rehabilitation centers or rehabs, provide live-in recovery programs. The treatment program’s clinical team develops an individualized plan tailored to a patient’s needs. The treatment plan includes 24/7 medical supervision, individual and group therapies, and education to help a person better understand their challenges and underlying issues that fuel addictive behavior. Rehabs are highly structured, offering a strict routine so a resident knows what to expect each day while receiving clinical and therapeutic support.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

PHP provides the most intensive treatment services within an outpatient setting. It involves daily participation in a variety of evidence-based therapies, individual and group sessions, and holistic therapies. A PHP provides a person with comprehensive mental health services and addiction medicine management. Depending on the treatment plan, individuals attend the program five days a week, and they’re allowed to return home at the end of the day. 

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

An IOP provides a highly structured program that treats substance use disorders for individuals who don’t require medical detox or 24-hour supervision. People participating in IOPs are able to maintain responsibilities at home, school, or work since they can return home at the end of each day. IOPs offer a higher level of care than standard outpatient programs but a lower level than inpatient rehab. Depending on the treatment plan, IOPs generally require participants to attend the treatment center for a few hours each day, 3 to 5 days a week. Individual and group therapies are provided to help the recovering addict develop new coping strategies to prevent relapse.

Extended Care / Aftercare

After the rehabilitation process is complete, a person can receive continued support for their drug or alcohol addiction recovery in the form of extended care treatment. These services range from 60 days to 2 years and utilize a combination of both therapeutic and sobriety programs. This level gives a person more privileges as they transition back to the “real world.” Recovering addicts are given tools and support as they move toward independent living.

What are the different types of treatment plans for substance abuse?

Creating a treatment plan is the most individualized part of the rehabilitative process and provides a roadmap to recovery. It’s carefully designed for each person’s unique situation and should evolve as needs change.

Depending on the complexity of the addiction, here are the key components included in most types of treatment plans:

  • Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Individualized Treatment Goals
  • Medical Detoxification
  • Therapeutic Intervention
  • Pharmacological Treatment
  • Support Services
  • Relapse Prevention
  • Aftercare and Ongoing Monitoring

What is the most common treatment for substance abuse?

There are many different types of effective treatments for drug and alcohol abuse. Most often, a combination of therapies is used to treat the physiological and psychological symptoms of addiction.

The most common treatments include:

  • Individual, Group & Family Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Contingency Management 
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy 
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
  • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy 
  • Seeking Safety & Other Trauma-Focused Therapies
  • 12-Step Meetings

Full Continuum of Care with Into Action Recovery

At Into Action Recovery, we provide the full continuum of care for those struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorder. If you or a loved one needs help overcoming addiction, we’re here to get you started on your journey to life-long sobriety and recovery. 

Call us today at 844-303-3969 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our programs.

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