Benefits of Long-Term Substance Abuse Treatment

Overcoming a chronic illness like addiction is not as simple as “getting clean” after a period of successful medical detox. Detox is only the first stage of addiction treatment; it’s important in managing immediate symptoms of withdrawal and paves the way for effective long-term treatment.1

Recovery from addiction is possible, but it means both ending the body’s dependence on the drug as well as supporting the motivation to change in order for a person to build the skills and develop the coping mechanisms to resist drug use.1,2

The disease of addiction is complex, and there isn’t a cookie-cutter approach to treatment. Treatment setting and services must meet an individual’s needs.1 This might mean changing the person’s surroundings, social structure, or living situation. Entering a residential treatment program is often a way to jumpstart the changes that an individual needs to make to achieve recovery, but for others, a sober-living environment with outpatient treatment is the best option.

Effective Substance Abuse Treatment

In their Principles of Effective Treatment, the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that remaining in a treatment program for at least 90 days dramatically improves long-term lifestyle changes and abstinence from substances because behaviors have time to change.

Although extended treatment may be ideal, the reality is that reduced insurance coverage for treating substance use disorders means it just isn’t feasible for everyone to get long-term treatment in a residential or inpatient facility.2,3

Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical, however, and there are many levels of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction—some much more costly than others.2,3 Adequate duration and adequate level of treatment has to be in balance with a person’s treatment need as well as the cost of treatment.3

Although an individual may at first require close supervision in an inpatient rehabilitation or residential treatment program where they’re monitored 24 hours a day and receive daily sessions of individual therapy, they may be able to step down from that high—and costly—level of treatment and into a less costly outpatient treatment option which has them in a sober-living facility receiving only three sessions of therapy and one group session a week.2,3

What’s critical is that the individual develops strategies and coping skills for them to self-manage, and this takes time. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the U.S. Surgeon General, patients with serious substance use disorders are recommended to stay engaged for at least 1 year in the treatment process, but that may involve participation in three to four different programs or levels of intensity.3

This step-down approach to treatment doesn’t end with discharge from an inpatient or outpatient program. Traditionally considered “aftercare,” research over the past decade has shown that community mutual-help and faith-based support groups (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc.) actually extend the framework of treatment, effectively reinforcing the behavioral changes that begin in the formal treatment setting.4,5

Flexibility in Long-Term Treatment

Good questions to ask prospective programs when considering treatment for a substance use disorder are below. (We’ve also included the answers from Greenhouse below.)

  • What licenses and certifications does the program have from state agencies and other organizations?
    Greenhouse’s treatment accreditations and industry achievements can be found here.
  • Which types of addiction does the program focus on (e.g., alcohol use disorder, long-term heroin addiction, etc.)?
    Greenhouse provides addiction treatment for most major drugs of abuse, as well for co-occurring disorders, such as depression.
  • Is detox included in 24-hour treatment?
    At Greenhouse, you’ll receive 24/7 medical supervision as you detox from drugs in a comfortable, safe environment.
  • What is the average length of stay at the program?
    Program stays will vary from program to program and person to person. An average length of stay is usually around 30 days, though they can be longer or shorter. At Greenhouse, we offer a 90-day promiseto those who complete treatment with us for at least 90 consecutive days.
  • How much does residential treatment cost?
    Treatment cost will vary based on your insurance and other factors.
  • Will insurance cover part or all of the stay?
    If you have insurance, you may be covered for some or all of your stay at a treatment center. We offer a quick and easy way to verify your insurance benefits today. Complete the benefits verification form now. 
  • Does the program offer scholarships or other payment options?
    Some programs will offer sliding scales where they adjust the cost based on your income and ability to pay. Others may offer loans and/or financing. Speak to prospective programs about the payment options they offer. Our Admissions Navigators can discuss ways to make treatment more affordable when you call 972-846-8705.
  • How intensive is therapy?
    Greenhouse offers many different types of therapy. Most often, you will be in a group format; however, you may also participate in one-on-one counseling.
  • Is there a waitlist?
    To check if space is available at Greenhouse Treatment Center, call us now. If space is not available, we have other treatment centers around the country.
  • Can family and friends visit during the course of treatment, and what do visiting times look like?
    Families are encouraged to visit their loved ones during treatment at Greenhouse. For information on specific visit times, see our treatment guide for families.
  • Are alternative therapies such as yoga, art, or music therapy available as part of treatment?
    Program offerings will vary widely by program, level of care, and facility. Greenhouse Treatment Center offers numerous alternative and recreational therapies on a rotating basis. View ourtherapy types to see which types are offered at Greenhouse.
  • What outpatient and follow-up care is provided after discharge, including referrals to other programs?
    Greenhouse offers several forms of outpatient treatment for residents to step down into once they complete their stay at Greenhouse. One option includes our sober living facility, Resolutions Arlington.
  • Do case managers or therapists help the individual develop a discharge plan?
    Drug rehab centers should help you plan for your recovery after you leave their program. At Greenhouse, this so-called “aftercare” planning—which should be thought of as self-management of treatment—is begun on day one. We start making your plan for what you’ll do after you leave rehab right after you arrive and help you to make adjustments as necessary.

References

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of Effective Treatment.
  2. Miller, S. C., Fiellin, D. A., Rosenthal, R. N., & Saitz, R. (2019). The ASAM Principles of Addiction Medicine, Sixth Edition. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.
  4. Kelly, J. F., & Yeterian, J. D. (2011). The role of mutual-help groups in extending the framework of treatment. Alcohol Research & Health, 33(4), 350–355.
  5. Bergman, B. G., Hoeppner, B. B., Nelson, L. M., Slaymaker, V., & Kelly, J. F. (2015). The effects of continuing care on emerging adult outcomes following residential addiction treatment. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 153, 207–214.
About The Contributor
Ryan Kelley, NREMT
Medical Editor, American Addiction Centers
Ryan Kelley is a nationally registered Emergency Medical Technician and the former managing editor of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS). During his time at JEMS, Ryan developed Mobile Integrated Healthcare in Action, a series... Read More
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