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An Informative Guide on Various Programs on Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Jul 16, 2008
Over the years, several programs for drug and alcohol addiction treatment have evolved. These treatment programs have various methods of working and they follow different principles. Even their purposes are different, because each of them target people with a different degree of addiction and different expectations from the addiction treatment program. However, it can be said that the different addiction treatment programs used in the US are largely progressive in nature. People can start out with a mild form of treatment, and if that doesn't work for them, they can get themselves enrolled in a higher form of treatment. In this way, it can be said that there is a hierarchy of treatment programs in the US.

You will not find a similar hierarchy of treatment programs in most other countries of the world. There is a specific reason for that. In the US, the definition of addiction treatment is quite different than what it is in other parts of the world. For America, addiction treatment means getting a person completely out of the habit of using the substance of addiction. This is definitely a very difficult feat to achieve. Other parts of the world follow a simpler addiction treatment program. For example, in most parts of Europe, drug and alcohol addiction treatment means simply to manage the addiction to a lower level of dependency so that it is no longer as hazardous to the person's health as it was before the treatment. Quite naturally, US treatment centers for drug and alcohol addiction have a longer and a much more elaborate program to follow.

This explains in part the need for having a hierarchical setup for the treatment program. The other reason is the need of the patient. Not all patients would be at the same level of addiction. Also, they may not be into the same kind of addiction. Depending on all these factors, their requirements for treatment will be different. This calls for different kinds of treatment programs of varying levels of severity, and this is what you will find when you are searching for options on addiction treatment in the US.

Let us see what different programs for addiction treatment exist in the US. This list arranges the treatment programs in an increasing order of their severity.

Outpatient Treatment Program - This is the mildest form of addiction treatment program in the US. This program does not focus much on detox treatment, though in some cases, there could be an outpatient detox provided. The outpatient treatment runs for about nine hours a week in most states, staggered into three or four sessions. The program is mainly designed for people who in mild to moderate stages of addiction and who are physically and mentally fit to undertake the program. Even people who have had a detox treatment can take this program as a method of aftercare.

Day Treatment Program - This is by far the most popular treatment program in most states, since it is a treatment option for moderate degrees of addiction and yet it does not isolate the patient from family. The person has to attend for this program in a treatment center for three to four hours a day, and the rest of the day is free for the patient. The patient can continue job or school, whichever the case may be. The program relies on both outpatient detox and counseling. It is usually a daily program.

Inpatient Treatment Program - As the name suggests, this program is carried out in an inpatient center. Detox is usually a part of this treatment in which the patient is made to abstain from the substance which makes the withdrawal effects make their appearance. Then the patient is provided a series of medication that helps them to overcome the withdrawal. Even after the detox treatment is completed, the patient continues to live in the treatment center to get counseled and for maintenance therapies. Some inpatient treatment centers in the US will just complete the detox treatment program and then will refer the patient to an outpatient treatment center for further treatment.

Residential Treatment Program - This is the most aggressive form of treatment in most states of America. This is a complete community based program in which everything from detox to aftercare counseling is administered. This treatment program is usually used for patients who are into highly severe forms of addiction. The program can go on for a year or more.

Hence, the programs in most American states are arranged according to the severity of the treatment they handle. It enables people to find out where they fit in and thus select an appropriate program for their needs.
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