Traditionally, studies on addiction recovery have classified treatment types into several distinct categories. However as recovery methods develop and improve, the distinctions between the categories have become less clear…
Traditionally, studies on addiction recovery have classified treatment types into several distinct categories. However as recovery methods develop and improve, the distinctions between the categories have become less clear. Most rehabilitation programs begin with a detoxification process, followed by a medically assisted withdrawal period in a supervised clinical setting. From there, the methods used vary greatly, although one absolute distinction that can be made between treatment options: whether the patient stays in the treatment facility – known as residential treatment – or stays at home and essentially continues with their everyday activities.
Generally, residential programs are considered more effective than programs that do not remove the addict from their typical environment, as it makes it easier to break the cycle of substance abuse. When considering a residential treatment program, however, there are still many options to look at – including whether a long-term or short-term treatment is the best choice.
Long-term residential treatment
Long-term residential treatment lasts between six and 12 months, during which the individual enrolled in the program is provided with 24-hour care in a non-hospital setting.
The most common type of long-term residential treatment is the therapeutic community treatment model. This model focuses on the reintegration of the addicted individual into society. This method of treatment uses the programs entire community – staff, other patients, and the social interactions – as elements of treatment. In this view, addiction is viewed through a social and psychological lens, wherein the individual’s social and psychological deficits are the focus of treatment. The therapeutic community mode of treatment can be confrontational, as all exercises are centered on the re-examination of the resident’s damaging ideological stances, self-concepts, and destructive behavioural patterns. The treatment also looks at ways to establish and reinforce new, positive social tendencies. This type of treatment can be adapted in order to serve individuals with comorbid disorders, homeless individuals, and individuals with special needs.
Short-term residential treatment
Short-term residential treatment provides intensive care for a brief period of time and is often based off the 12-step approach. Typically, short-term residential treatment consists of three-to-six weeks in a hospital-based inpatient treatment stage, followed by an extended outpatient stage characterized by therapy and participation in a self-help group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Because the time in residence is short, it is extremely important that the patient remains actively engaged in the outpatient portion of treatment or participates in an aftercare program in order to reduce the risk of relapse.