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American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Types of Addiction Treatment Programs and Rehab Centers

Types of Therapies Used in Addiction Treatment Programs for Substance Abuse Recovery

There are so many different types of addiction treatment programs, therapies, and interventions aimed at treating substance abuse and co-occurring mental health conditions. Some treatment modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, are more traditional, while others, such as yoga, are complementary or alternative. This page provides a comprehensive list of various interventions.

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Aftercare: A plan that is collaboratively developed by each patient and staff to increase the likelihood of success after formal treatment has ended. It is individualized to the needs of the patient, and can include outpatient treatment, self-help meetings, private therapy, vocational oriented services, or sober living, to name a few. This should be periodically reassessed and adjusted as needed.

Al-Anon: This is a 12-step program that helps family and friends recover from the effects of a loved one’s addiction by providing support and guidance.

Animal-assisted therapy: A type of therapy that involves exposure to and care of animals within a larger addiction treatment program. Studies have shown that animals can play a role in improving mental health. Having a pet has been found to improve the recovery process by promoting empathy, allowing a person to connect with others, and strengthening a sense of empowerment. An animal can also serve as a close friend or member of the family. Animal-assisted therapy can reduce isolation and depression, which also helps people achieve long-term sobriety.


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Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT): This is a type of addiction therapy type that has been shown to be highly effective at helping to manage addiction through an understanding of how thoughts influence emotions and behavior, and by working to change the underlying thoughts contributing to the maintenance of addiction.

”Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM): Some facilities are beginning to utilize complementary and alternative medicine approaches as part of the treatment process, such as acupuncture, yoga, nutrition, animal-assisted therapy, biofeedback, massage, and exercise, in order to help reduce cravings, manage stress, provide additional benefits to treatment and facilitate the recovery process.

Contingency management (CM): This is an effective type of addiction treatment, incorporating rewards or incentives for maintaining sobriety or other positive behaviors, while withholding rewards or providing consequences for undesirable behaviors.

Co-occurring disorders: When an individual struggling with addiction is also diagnosed with another mental health disorder, it is referred to as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.


Detoxification (detox): A structured detoxification period entails a duration of time wherein patients going through the withdrawal process are monitored and treated with medications to manage the symptoms of such withdrawal, and can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis. It is important to note that detoxification services are not a substitute for treatment, and should be followed up with additional treatment services.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): This is a type of addiction treatment that began as a treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder, promoting the acceptance of difficult thoughts, emotions, and behaviors; focusing on validation; and finding a balance between acceptance and change in order to reduce unhealthy behaviors, increase motivation to change, focus on the strengths of the individual, and apply what has been learned in therapy to real-life situations.

Dual diagnosis: See “Co-occurring disorders.”


Eye movement desensitization & reprocessing (EMDR): This therapeutic technique is generally used to lessen the emotional impact of trauma by replacing traumatic memories with positive or less distressing thoughts and reactions.

Equine therapy: A type of alternative addiction treatment that involves the use of horses in substance use treatment to improve outcomes and encourage individuals to remain in treatment. Activities with horses involves a more physical and less verbal activity that can promote a change in focus, help develop a positive identity, and create feelings of usefulness as well as break from the usual expected treatment methods.


Family systems theory: This type of addiction treatment recognizes that addiction has an impact on the entire family, and works with individuals as part of a family system to resolve issues using treatment methods that are short-term, focused on finding a solution to the problem, and require active interaction between the individual in treatment and the family system.

Family therapy: A set of therapeutic approaches that attempt to use the family’s strengths and resources to help them live without drugs or alcohol. It also seeks to reduce the harm of addiction on both the substance abuser and his or her family.


Group therapy: Treatment provided in a group can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, including being cost effective and providing positive peer support and feedback for managing triggers and staying sober. Most inpatient and outpatient facilities as well as some private therapists utilize group therapy in addition to individual therapy sessions.

Group Therapy


Harm reduction model: Substance use disorders are associated with many harmful behaviors, such as risky sexual behavior, contracting blood-borne illness through sharing needles, driving under the influence, and consuming excessive amounts of substances. Harm reduction techniques focus on reducing risky behaviors and the dangers these can have to the individual, and can include needle exchange programs, slowly reducing the amount of substances consumed, providing condoms, and working to develop safer alternatives to driving after using a substance, rather than focusing exclusively on abstinence, as in most rehabs.


Individual therapy: A therapeutic process with the absence of distortions caused by substance use which often begins with identifying problems you’d like to address and goals you may have, as well as methods and interventions that can assist in this process that can aid and enhance your recovery.

Inpatient addiction treatment: Requires you to live at the treatment facility. Inpatient treatment is the preferred option for those looking to get away from their current temptations and focus completely on treatment and reaching sobriety with no distractions. The around-the-clock care at an inpatient rehab center may provide a more immersive treatment experience. Also called “residential addiction treatment.”

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP): This is a more rigorous form of outpatient therapy in which participants attend longer group sessions than in traditional outpatient treatment, allowing for a more intensive treatment program similar to those found in an inpatient setting.

Intervention: If an individual is reluctant to seek help or get treatment for a substance use disorder or behavioral addiction, one option is to hold an intervention. This is a carefully staged meeting between a licensed interventionist, supportive family and friends, and the individual in need of help, and encourages individuals to speak about the ways in which their loved one’s addiction has affected their lives, allowing them to share love and concern to try to persuade the individual into treatment.


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Matrix model: This is an effective addiction treatment used to treat addictions to stimulants, such as cocaine and methamphetamine; and it incorporates education, relapse prevention, individual counseling, group therapy, family therapy, drug testing, and participation in self-help groups to promote long-term sobriety.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): Many facilities and treatment providers incorporate medication into the treatment process to facilitate withdrawal, prevent relapse, manage cravings, and treat any underlying psychiatric issues if applicable. It is most frequently used for treating addictions to opioids, benzodiazepines, and/or alcohol.

”Medically Assisted Treatment

Motivational interviewing (MI): This type of addiction treatment addresses an individual’s motivation to change, and adopts a non-confrontational style to engage patients in treatment, utilizing strategies such as reflection, rolling with resistance, and helping clients identify pros and cons of both continued addiction and attending treatment to get sober.


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Office-based opioid treatment (OBOT): This involves receiving medication-assisted therapy in an office setting where a licensed doctor provides buprenorphine or buprenorphine/naloxone on an outpatient basis, rather than having to attend a detox or inpatient treatment facility to withdraw safely from opioids and prevent relapse.

Outpatient addiction treatmentGenerally entails some amount of daily treatment at a clinic or facility and allow you to return to your home or other living arrangement during non-treatment hours.


Partial hospitalization program (PHP): This is a relatively intensive type of outpatient treatment that allows patients to return home while continuing to have access to hospital services and undergoing structured group and individual therapy sessions similar to what would be provided in an inpatient setting.


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Rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT): REBT focuses on the connection between thoughts, emotions, and behavior. It emphasizes on thoughts, judgments, decisions, and actions using treatment methods including education, suggestion, persuasion, and homework to develop a rational belief system to substitute for a flawed, addiction-focused belief system.

Rehabilitation (rehab): The treatment of addiction to psychoactive substances such as prescription drugs, alcohol, and illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine and amphetamines. People might also enter into an addiction rehab program to treat behavioral or “process” addictions such as gambling addiction or sex addiction. The overall purpose of addiction rehab programs is to make it possible for a person to give up compulsive substance abuse and the destructive behaviors that accompany the addiction and to restore the person to an optimum level of self-sufficient function.

Residential addiction treatment: See “Inpatient addiction treatment.”


Substance abuse (SA) counseling: SA counseling involves a variety of treatment methods that have been shown to be effective in treating substance use disorders, often involving a combination of specific aspects of addiction rehab therapy such as CBT, CM, MI, REBT, as well as education on how to prevent relapse. This type of counseling is often delivered in both group and individual treatment settings to help participants learn how to manage cravings and stay sober long term.

Substance Abuse Counseling

SMART Recovery: A support group that focuses on scientifically validated therapeutic techniques, incorporating aspects of MI and REBT, as well as social support to help empower individuals to overcome all types of addiction.


Teen addiction treatmentAn addiction treatment program that provides a comprehensive approach to teen substance abuse that considers each addicted teen as unique in his or her recovery needs as well as the unique needs and situations of teenagers who use or abuse drugs or alcohol in general.

Twelve-step program/principles/treatment: Incorporates the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other 12-step support groups into treatment, focusing on spiritual principles such as acceptance, surrender, and active involvement in 12-step meetings. The treatment involves attending meetings regularly, working the 12 steps, and building a sober support network, while also providing incentives for sustained sobriety, such as chips or key tags to celebrate recovery milestones. Individuals who participate in 12-step programs while receiving formal treatment, and continue to participate after completion of treatment, are more likely to maintain long-term sobriety.


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Vocational/pre-vocational training: Since addictions often affect an individual’s ability to focus on school or work, vocational or pre-vocational training programs can positively impact sobriety by helping individuals develop and refine vocational skills, and assist them in finding meaningful work to support their new, healthy, drug-free lifestyle.


Withdrawal: Substance use disorders can often involve physical dependence on the substance of choice, and when use is stopped, the individual can experience symptoms of withdrawal, based on the substance or substances used, the length of time the addiction spans, the average dose and frequency of use, and the individual’s physical and psychological makeup. Some substances can create a life-threatening withdrawal syndrome, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, while other substances, such as opioids, cocaine, or methamphetamine, can create a painful or uncomfortable withdrawal syndrome that can necessitate detoxification services before starting formal treatment. Also see “Detoxification” and “Medication-assisted treatment.”

”Drug Withdrawal


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Youth addiction treatment: See “Teen addiction treatment.”


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