An Overview of Addiction Treatment

20 Jul, 2023
an overview of addiction treatment

When a person has addiction issues, they may be afraid of what is involved in the recovery process. That is why Sober Life would like to offer this overview of addiction treatment.

What Is Addiction?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes addiction as a “chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences.” NIDA also adds that “It is considered a brain disorder because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control.”

When a person realizes they have an addiction issue, it can be a very upsetting moment. It can be even more upsetting when the person is not the first one to understand the depth of their problem. However, whether the realization about their addiction comes from themselves or their loved ones, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

What Is the Purpose of Treatment?

When we look at an overview of addiction treatment, we need to first look at the reason for seeking a recovery program. A person enters treatment to gain control over their sobriety. Treatment programs provide people with a safe space to be themselves and explore their problems while finding appropriate solutions.

It is important to remember that people are never cured of addiction. They simply get it under control. This is a very important distinction as a person’s goals must be manageable and achievable.

When we discuss achievability, it is often associated with set amounts of time. However, treatment offers a floating timeline. This means that because no two people have the same issues, no timeline can be applied to every case. Individuals may be in treatment for weeks or even months. Depending on their particular journey, treatment may even evolve over the course of years.

What Is a Typical Treatment Journey?

If we consider how treatment works, it is best to consider what a full treatment journey may look like from beginning to end. Keep in mind that in an overview of addiction treatment, the “end” simply means entering the post-recovery world.


The first step on the road to recovery is detox. This may be the most dreaded aspect for people who are nervous about entering treatment. However, detox is often the most necessary step for people who cannot shake their personal addictions.

Detox involves taking a person with substance issues and putting them in a “cold turkey” situation. They are denied the addictive substances and must endure the withdrawal symptoms. It may sound like a cruel practice, but modern techniques have changed the entire process.

For people going through detox, treatment centers often provide one-on-one care for as long as the person requires. This could be anywhere from a few days to a week. People with severe withdrawal symptoms may also be given medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to ease some of the side effects.

Inpatient Treatment

Once a person has completed the detox process, they will often feel raw and vulnerable. Inpatient programs exist as the first line of defense for people attempting to recover from addiction. In an inpatient program, a person will be provided with a safe space for healing. During this vulnerable time, they will be surrounded by caring staff members and will be involved in a variety of helpful therapies.

Treatment programs revolve around a wide range of therapies. This includes individual, group, and non-traditional therapies. When combined, these create a well-rounded program where people are given opportunities to interact with staff and others like themselves. People may find the process difficult, but the combination of social interaction and self-reflection can put people on the right path.

Outpatient Treatment

While considering this overview of addiction treatment, we cannot neglect to discuss outpatient programs. People frequently transition into an outpatient program directly from an inpatient treatment program. Others may even begin at this stage of treatment. Whether someone can start with outpatient care depends on their level of addiction and ability to commit to a program.

Outpatient treatment often exists as a step-down bridge for people coming out of an inpatient program. A person may not be ready to fully reintegrate into society and need extra encouragement and continued therapy. The difference is that they are no longer in a closed facility but can return home at the end of the day. This freedom, mixed with intensive daily programming, allows people to take the lessons of the day and begin to apply them to their reintegrated life.

Outpatient programs offer many of the same therapies found in an inpatient program. This includes individual therapy, group therapy, and non-traditional therapies. Outpatient programs, much like inpatient, may not have a set end date. They exist to help people transition into a more self-guided sober lifestyle.


The post-recovery phase is essentially the rest of a person’s life. Post-recover is a time of maintaining gains, checking in with one’s self and others, and constant self-reflection. During this time there is a possibility of relapse but also the support of community and community-based support groups.

Does Everyone Start From the Beginning?

Not everyone starts at the beginning of the recovery flow chart. Some people may be able to stop using substances without detox but require the assistance of an outpatient program to learn true sobriety. Also, as previously stated, some people do not need as much time to utilize these programs. It is not about time, it is about learning.

Sober Life is aware of the various situations that send people to its program. It is Sober Life’s hope that this overview of addiction treatment helps people who are attempting to make sense of this process. The goal of the Sober Life program is to ensure that regardless of the reason, each client is assisted in the way that best suits them. The journey may be long and it may be difficult, but long-term sobriety is achievable.

Navigating the Journey of Addiction Treatment: A Guide for Those Dating a Recovering Addict

Embarking on the path to recovery from addiction is a profound journey, and at Sober Life, we aim to demystify this process. Addiction, characterized by compulsive drug seeking despite adverse consequences, requires prompt treatment once acknowledged. Treatment is not a cure; it’s about regaining control. The typical journey involves detox, inpatient treatment, outpatient programs, and the lifelong commitment of post-recovery. Understanding the nuances of this process is crucial for those dating a recovering addict. Learn more about supporting your partner through this journey. Sober Life is ready to guide you through the entire process, from detox to outpatient programs.

Addiction treatment requires action. If you are dating a recovering addict, you can learn more about how to live with and support your partner here.

For those who are concerned about entering treatment, Sober Life is prepared to have a helpful conversation. We will explain to you and/or your loved ones just how the program works, what can be expected, and what will be expected of you. From detox to outpatient programs, the entire process can be laid out in front of you. It is important for people to not only acknowledge their issues but be prepared to accept their responsibility for the recovery process. At Sober Life, we are dedicated to each client and that means answering any questions they may have. For more information, call us today at (619) 542-9542.

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