Levels of Care
Addiction treatment can be divided into levels of care depending on how acute and severe the addiction is. Treatment is aimed at a step-down approach, meaning that the highest level of care is used to treat the most acute and severe addiction, and from there, treatment is less intense.
The first and highest level care is known as detoxification. The primary goal of detox is to allow patients who are addicted to a substance or alcohol to withdrawal in a safe and controlled environment until the substance is completely absent from the body. Patients are in a secure location with personnel 24/7. Usually, the detox process is approximately 72 hours, and patients may need to be slowly weaned off the substance in order to minimize withdrawal effects. Depending on the specific substance of abuse, patients may be given a low-dose maintenance drug to ease the side effects. For an opioid addiction, naltrexone or Suboxone may be given whereas for alcohol withdrawal, a slower taper of a benzodiazepine such as lorazepam may be administered. Once the substance of abuse is out of the body, patients can then go through other types of therapy where they can learn life tools to curb cravings and dangerous behaviors. Although this process may be a lifelong journey, detox is the first step in the overall therapy approach for an individual battling with substance abuse.
Residential treatment (RTC)
Residential treatment is the next level of care offered and is recommended for individuals who cannot live on their own due to their addiction or mental health diagnosis. This level care is an intense level of care because it requires 24-hour monitoring while providing a multitude of therapies in a safe environment. There are designated houses for this program and patients are placed with others who are in the same treatment program. This type of treatment not only houses the individual but provides them with meals, therapy, outings and 24/7 crisis intervention.