Patients undergoing Long – Term Residential Treatment receives medical care 24 hours a day, usually in a non-hospital setting.
The best known long – term residential treatment is therapeutic community (TC) although residential treatments may also employ other models such as cognitive – behavioral therapy.
TCs focus on the reintegration of the inpidual into the community with the other residents and the staff acting as the “community”. Addiction is viewed in relation to the inpidual’s social and psychological deficiencies and the treatment is centered on developing personal responsibility, accountability and socially productive lives. Treatment is highly structured and can even be confrontational at times. It includes activities that help patients examine their damaging beliefs, addictive tendencies, and detrimental patterns of behavior and adopt new, harmonious and productive ways of socializing with others.
Many TCs are quite comprehensive and can even include employment training and other services on site. Compared with patients in other forms of treatment, patients in TC have more severe addiction problems, with other problems such as mental health issues and criminal involvement also present. Research shows that TC can be modified to suit inpiduals with special needs such as adolescents, women, those with mental health disorders and those in the criminal justice system.
Short – term residential treatment programs provide intensive but relatively brief based on a 12 – step treatment approach. These programs were originally designed to treat alcohol problems but during the cocaine epidemic of the 1980’s, these were modified to address drug addiction problems. The original programs last 3 to 6 weeks, usually starting in a hospital setting followed by an outpatient therapy and involvement in a self – help group. However, the reduction of health care coverage for substance abuse has led to a shorter duration and a drop in the number of programs.
Outpatient treatments cost less than inpatient or residential treatments and are better suited to patients who are working or who have extensive social supports. Low – intensity programs designed for drug users who have not reached the point of addiction include admonition and drug education. Other outpatient programs, such as intensive day treatment, can be comparable to residential programs in services and effectiveness depending on the inpidual’s characteristics and needs. Most often, group counseling is emphasized. Some outpatients programs also treat patients who have medical or mental health issues in addition to their addiction.