Learn / Exploring Recovery and Treatment Options: Your Guide to Mental Health and Addiction Support

Exploring Recovery and Treatment Options: Your Guide to Mental Health and Addiction Support

Grace Ogren
 March 29th, 2024|   Clinically Reviewed by 
Dr. Malasri Chaudhery-Malgeri, Ph.D.

Key Points

  • Once you commit to recovery, you can begin the process of finding treatment.
  • Many levels of care and therapies can meet your unique needs.
  • We cover the various types of treatments and therapies in this guide.

It’s a powerful decision to seek treatment for addiction and mental health conditions. Once you commit to recovery, you can begin the process of finding treatment that fits your needs. This can be much simpler than you might expect with the myriad of resources and treatment services available. 

This guide explores the various treatment options for addiction and mental health recovery, so you can identify what will work best for you and your recovery needs.

Understanding Treatment Options and Levels of Care

Your condition, its severity, and other factors typically determine your level of care. Consult with your doctor to see which level they recommend based on your unique situation. Treatment options include:

  1. Inpatient detox with the necessary medical support to manage withdrawal symptoms and make detox a more comfortable and safe experience. You’ll have 24/7 monitoring and support in a live-in environment.
  2. Residential treatment for intensive addiction and mental health treatment focused on your psychological needs and providing a safe, structured environment. Here, you live on-site and engage in full-time therapy to heal underlying factors.
  3. Day treatment offers 30+ hours of weekly therapy, and you’ll typically live at home with evenings available for work or family time.
  4. Intensive outpatient programs provide 20+ hours of weekly therapy in morning, afternoon, or evening sessions to accommodate work and personal needs.
  5. General outpatient includes 1-2 weekly therapy sessions to keep you connected to peers and professional support.
  6. Sober living provides peer housing to keep you connected with daily structure, routines, and accountability.
  7. Virtual treatment offers an all-online recovery experience, using secure online platforms to join meetings and speak with treatment providers in a location convenient to you.

Residential treatment, which usually lasts 28-90 days, provides more intensive care and a monitored living environment that’s substance-free and supportive. Outpatient offers less intensive care when you and your care team decide you feel comfortable living at home and having more independence. Some people progress through each level, starting with detox and ending with sober living. Others may only attend day treatment; your path depends on your unique needs.

When considering treatment, you can also get an idea of where you want to go—if you want to stay close to home, travel to another state (like a southern state in the winter), or go abroad for a completely new experience. Going close to home may be more convenient, while out-of-state or international treatment allows you to enjoy a new environment.

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling provide regular support on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. You’ll talk 1:1 with a therapist or in a group setting to investigate your condition(s) and its root causes, develop coping tools, and adjust negative self-talk. Your therapist will use one or more evidence-based therapies, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), or a trauma-focused therapy like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

You can also attend Biblical counseling, marriage counseling, and family counseling to recover from addiction and mental health conditions.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) relieves withdrawal symptoms from opioids and alcohol. It can also prevent relapse by managing cravings1 and causing unpleasant reactions to substances, like Antabuse for alcohol use disorder2. MAT can also refer to psychopharmaceuticals, which are medications for mental health conditions3 like depression, anxiety, and psychotic disorders.

A doctor or psychiatrist prescribes MATs based on your symptoms and preferences. Together, you’ll identify how long you’ll be on the medication, effects you can expect, and any negative side effects to be aware of. They may develop a tapering plan to help you gradually lower your dose until you’re off the medication completely.

Support Groups and Peer Counseling

You can join a wide array of support groups for addiction and mental health recovery. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous are faith-based and follow the 12 Steps to maintain recovery.

Non-12-Step, peer-led groups include Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) peer groups, and spiritual groups. A therapist leads group therapies focused on a specific therapy, such as DBT groups.

Exploring Different Therapeutic Approaches

You have multiple therapies available to meet your unique needs. They’ll have different focuses and techniques, but all aim to improve your well-being and resilience. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT addresses unhelpful thought patterns and thought distortions4, like black-and-white thinking (something’s either all good or all bad) and discouraging self-talk. Your therapist will help you recognize the thoughts and emotions leading to unhealthy coping behaviors, like addiction. Then, you’ll work on changing or adapting these distortions until they become realistic, positive, and/or manageable. For example, you may recognize shame as a driving factor for taking drugs. CBT helps you challenge that shame, find out where it comes from, and recognize you have other ways to cope. 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Similar to CBT, DBT is mindfulness-based and addresses unhelpful thought patterns but with the intent of coping, accepting, and adapting5 rather than challenging the thoughts. It’s renowned for its ability to treat borderline personality disorder, suicidality, and depression, but has wide-spread benefits. DBT can feel more validating and motivating for patients with ingrained thought distortions, encouraging them to navigate them without invalidating their experience and emotions. 

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing uses direct, person-centered motivation6 to encourage beneficial behavior and implement self-sufficient tendencies. It was first developed to treat alcohol use disorder and encouraged clients to “explore and restore ambivalence.” It helps clients recognize issues and how they’re going to cope with them by tapping into their inner values and goals. For example, a patient may recognize they have an issue with explosive anger; they value others and their feelings, and use that value to motivate changes in their behaviors.

Holistic Approaches

Holistic recovery options address each person as a whole, typically using movement or body-based activities to provide mental and physical healing. Examples include yoga, energy therapy, and creative therapies like art therapy and music therapy. These therapies engage mind and body, promoting recovery in the same. When combined with evidence-based therapies, they can be especially effective7

Specialized Programs for Dual Diagnosis

Having a dual diagnosis means you have two or more co-occurring conditions, like a substance use disorder and depression. Many rehabs and other treatment centers offer specialized dual-diagnosis care to treat addiction and its underlying causes. That’s because mental health conditions and addiction, or two mental health conditions, can cause the other8 and become an ongoing cycle. Dual-diagnosis treatment aims to address both conditions at once for a more integrated and personalized recovery experience.

A treatment facility with dual-diagnosis care will often begin treatment with in-depth psychological and physical assessments to diagnose co-occurring conditions and tailor your treatment accordingly. They may also have psychologists and psychiatrists on-staff to offer more informed mental health treatment.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Treatment Program

Once you and your care team narrow down the type of treatment and level of care you need, you can then consider some key logistics to help you make a final decision. Keep the following factors in mind:

  • Location and accessibility. Is it easy to get there? Can you realistically make the commute as often as your treatment plan requires? Consider where you’d like to go for treatment, too—close to home, in another state, or abroad.
  • Cost and insurance coverage. Check to see if the treatment facility you have in mind takes your insurance. If they don’t, or if you don’t have insurance, see if you qualify for a scholarship program or if you can set up a payment plan.
  • Accreditation and licensing. Check to make sure your facility is properly accredited and licensed. They’ll typically include this information prominently on their website, like being accredited by the Joint Commission or CARF, LegitScript certified, and/or licensed in their state to provide treatment.
  • Individualized treatment plans. Will your treatment plan be personalized to your needs? You can confirm this by searching their website or speaking directly with staff to see how they’ll individualize your care.

Start Exploring and Forging Your Path to Recovery Today

Your treatment journey is yours and yours alone. The more you learn about your recovery options, the more confident you can feel starting the journey. Doctors and mental health professionals can also guide you through the process and help you figure out which treatment methods and alternative therapies will suit you best.
To browse a variety of treatment centers, use Recovery.com to see photos, insurance information, and an overview of each center’s treatment options.

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