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Residential Treatment for Substance Use

Table of Contents

Treatment Overview

In residential treatment, you live in an alcohol-free and drug-free setting while recovering from substance use disorder. How long you stay varies. You may stay for a number of months or more.

Residential treatment may be a good option if you have a long history of alcohol or drug use or crime, have a bad home situation, or don't have social support.

Most residential treatment programs involve the 12-step program used by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). You'll have group therapy, counseling, and medical care, and you will learn about addiction. Some programs also offer job or career training. A small number of programs allow parents to bring their children.

Group therapy provides support and feedback from others who have struggled with substance use.

Some residential programs use a therapeutic community (TC) model. These programs allow you to be more accountable, responsible, and active in your community as your treatment progresses. This helps you stay committed to quitting.

At first, you may have limited contact with your family and others. This helps you adjust to your therapy. It also helps you make major life changes so you can quit drugs and alcohol.

Over time, you may go back to work during the day. You'll return to your program for evening sessions and to sleep each night.

Credits for Residential Treatment for Substance Use

Current as of: August 2, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Peter Monti PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health


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