Typically, when we discuss treatment for addiction we talk about 'rehab' or 'detox'. While these are fundamental parts of the addiction treatment journey, there are many types of addiction treatment, some with their own approaches and others that fall under the umbrella term of 'rehab'.

What types of addiction treatment are there?

Addiction treatment includes a range of options available to help people overcome various types of substance use disorders. Addiction treatment options include individual and group therapy, intensive outpatient addiction programs, inpatient rehab, and in some cases, medication to reduce cravings or withdrawals and cravings.

It can also involve non-evidence-based treatments support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, holistic therapies, and relapse prevention.

Inpatient rehab

Inpatient or residential rehab involves receiving a combination of treatment approaches in a dedicated setting away from home. These are often distinguished by either a hospital setting (inpatient rehab) or a retreat/more relaxed setting (residential rehab). There are also luxury inpatient rehabs that offer greater amenities, picturesque settings, and a higher level of care and service. 

Read here to learn more about inpatient rehab and what to expect.

outpatient rehab

Outpatient rehab or outpatient treatment programs involve addiction treatment that takes place in a dedicated setting that the patient attends around their existing schedule. They may return home each day and different types of outpatient treatment will require more or less time spent away from home.

Outpatient treatment centers offer the same evidence-based treatments as inpatient care, such as talking therapy, medically assisted detox, and aftercare but require more dedication from the patient as they are not as removed from temptation as with residential programs. Read here to learn more about outpatient care.


Detox is a crucial part of all substance use disorder treatment and is often the first step required before full treatment begins. detox requires a certain amount of time for all substances to be removed fully from the body. This often includes medical supervision and medication in order to avoid uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms. 

The detox period is different for all substances and may require more or less attention depending on what drugs have been abused. Read here for more information on withdrawal and the detox process.

Support groups

Support groups are an alternative form of treatment that can be used to achieve sobriety in place of traditional addiction treatment or as a way of maintaining sobriety. 

Support groups use different modalities for treatment, with the 12-Step Program started by Alcoholics Anonymous being the most infamous. There are also support groups for partners and families of addicts (Nar-anon) and those that focus on specific addictions as well as those that approach addiction on a broader level (SMART Recovery)

Read here to learn more about the different types of support groups and how they function. 

Medication assisted treatment (MAT)

For addictions that involve uncomfortable or harmful withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings, such as opioid and alcohol addictions, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be required. 

MAT involves patients receiving various drugs in order to ease the pain of withdrawal and/or to manage cravings by replacing the effect of the addictive substance or nullifying its effects. Read here to learn more about medication-assisted treatment.

Talking therpay

Talking therapy covers a wide range of therapies that incorporate different techniques. For addiction treatment, behavioral talking therapies are the most widely used as they are able to identify the root cause of addiction, realize the emotional connection to actions around substances, and develop tools and coping mechanisms to deal with temptation and risky behavior. 

The most widely used talking therapies in addiction treatment are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), group therapy, and motivational interviewing. Read here to learn more about therapy for addiction.

Holistic therpay

Holistic therapies have a strong focus on well-being and peace, both in mind and body. Common forms of holistic therapy include acupuncture, yoga, equine therapy, meditation, and art therapy. Some holistic therapies also incorporate dietary supplements, food recommendations, and natural herbs and supplements.

Relapse prevention

Almost all forms of addiction treatment programs will incorporate some form of aftercare and relapse prevention plan. There are four main principles of relapse prevention, each with there own importance.[1] 

  1. Relapse is a gradual process with distinct stages that each person reaches and handles differently
  2. Recovery is a process of personal growth with milestones that hold the potential to go backward as well as forward
  3. The tools of relapse prevention are a combination of talking behavioral and/or cognitive therapy and mind/body relaxation
  4. Relapse has the same basic principles that apply to everyone which the recovering addict can focus on in order to avoid it.