Addiction is a chronic mental illness that plagues tens of millions in the United States alone. In fact, according to the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, there are estimated to be 21 million Americans struggling with substance abuse problems in the country right now. Of those 21 million, unfortunately, only roughly 10 percent will actually receive the addiction treatment they so desperately need.
When it comes to effective, lasting addiction recovery, multiple studies have determined that people who get professional treatment for their addiction recovery are more likely to stay in recovery for extended periods than people attempting to recover on their own.
Roughly 62 percent of people who went the professional route in treating their addictions remained in recovery three years after treatment, compared to the 43 percent of those who did not seek out professional support in their addiction recovery. In addition, of those who hit three years of recovery, 57 percent of them were still substance-free 16 years later.
And those are just the positive effects of treatment in general, of which there are several levels and styles to choose from, such as outpatient treatment, residential treatment, partial hospitalization/day treatment, and more. A person suffering from severe, long-term addiction, for instance, would likely require the more personalized and extensive care in a stable and removed environment that a residential program provides.
There are many reasons that someone struggling with substance abuse might choose a residential treatment program over other programs. We’ll walk you through what you can expect from a residential treatment program and how best to determine if residential care is right for you.
How Are Residential Treatment Programs Different From Other Drug Treatment Programs?
The difference between residential treatment and most other treatment types is that you are living in an on-site, amenity-provided facility for at least thirty days. This provides 24/7 access to clinical and medical professionals and structured activities throughout the day such as individual and group therapy, educational classes, and more. Residential treatment programs are much more intensive and individualized than outpatient ones, where you can continue living at home as you go through rehab.
Residential treatment is often confused with inpatient treatment, and although there are similarities, the two are not interchangeable. Inpatient treatment is usually much shorter than a residential program might be, and, because of this, is more focused on immediate, intensive medical care in a more clinical setting. Residential facilities, due to the lengthier duration of their programs, will often have more “homey” amenities, as well as a more comprehensive treatment plan that’s meant to help heal both the body and the mind.
Some of the biggest benefits of residential treatment are also what sets it apart from other treatment programs, including:
- 24-hour access to professional medical and mental health care
- Removal of daily distractions, stressors, and responsibilities to better focus on recovery
- Creating and enforcing a structured daily schedule
- Specific community-driven environment
When attending a residential treatment facility, the primary focus is placed on creating an environment of recovery. Since the early stages of sobriety and recovery are arguably the most challenging, creating and residing in such an environment helps addicts and alcoholics put more emphasis on solidifying this crucial foundation in recovery.
What Can I Expect From a Residential Treatment Program?
The length of stay at residential treatment centers can vary depending on the severity of the addiction, but the minimum is 30 days. Some patients may not require more than that, while others might remain in residential treatment for as long as six months to a year.
Every addict is different, so it’s difficult, if not impossible, to predict just how long an individual will need to remain in a residential treatment facility. Based on the initial assessment of their condition, both physically and mentally, the facility staff will determine the severity of their addiction disorder and make the decision. Another factor directly correlated with the length of stay during residential treatment for substance abuse is how well the client is progressing through his or her program.
Residential care typically begins with a five-to-seven-day medical detoxification, supervised by medical professionals who will ensure that you detox safely and be able to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal. Detox is a challenging process and can, in some cases, be extremely dangerous, even life-threatening, to attempt without professional monitoring and support. A person is more likely to remain in recovery if their withdrawal symptoms can be managed and kept under control, which is best accomplished with the continuous access to medical experts available as part of residential care.
During the medical detox, the patient will be given a variety of detox prescription medications intended to ease the severity of their withdrawal symptoms. Through careful monitoring and regular dispensing of these medications by specialized physicians, the client is walked through the detox process as painlessly and as safely as possible.
Since a patient is more likely to return to using drugs and or alcohol, also known as relapse, during the initial withdrawal phase of recovery, undergoing a professional medical detox gives clients in early recovery a greater likelihood of avoiding relapse. Many addicts and alcoholics return to their substance of choice as a result of painful or uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. By alleviating symptoms altogether, it gives the recovering addict or alcoholic an opportunity to focus more solely on the end goal: long-term recovery.
After the initial detox, you will be admitted to the residential facility, where you will be surrounded by people going through a similar transition and sharing the same experiences, fostering a sense of community and support. Depending on what you are looking for in a community environment or support group, you may opt for a general center or a more specific one, such as one that is women-only or LGBTQ-focused. It’s important to select a residential treatment facility that fits your specific needs.
Because you will be interacting with them on a close and lengthy basis, the entire community, from the treatment staff and medical professionals to your fellow patients, are the key factors in play over the course of your time in treatment, impacting your attitudes, viewpoints, understanding, and behaviors associated with drug use.
Free of temptations and distractions, a regular day in residential care is highly structured and will include a mix of typical treatment plan components, including:
- Medically-supported maintenance care
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family counseling
- Couples counseling
- Psychologically-focused therapy
By undergoing a variety of therapies, recovering addicts and alcoholics can get to the root of their addiction. Since the act of using drugs and/or alcohol is merely a symptom of addiction, finding the underlying cause is crucial in order to prevent relapse.
Residential treatment gives addicts and alcoholics long-term access to intensive therapies in a safe environment. Since therapy can take a toll on an individual mentally and even physically, giving recovering addicts and alcoholics a safe space to undergo this intensive therapy also is one of the many benefits presented by residential treatment for substance abuse.
Patients will also engage in activities outside the purview of other kinds of treatment programs, including:
- Life-skills classes
- The opportunity to practice these new skills while still in the safety of treatment
- Holistic therapies like yoga and meditation
- Small responsibilities such as laundry or other chores
The idea behind residential treatment is to give addicts and alcoholics the tools they need to be successful in life beyond the residential treatment facility. During active addiction, many addicts and alcoholics find themselves unable to correctly care for themselves in a healthy way.
Simple tasks like cleaning their houses or maintaining a normal sleep schedule can be foreign ideations to recovering addicts. Residential treatment centers give these recovering people an opportunity to learn how to live a healthy life in recovery without the added stress of obligations such as work or family.
Once you have completed your residential treatment program, you may be recommended into a sober-living home, which can help smooth the transition back into the “real world,” especially if you have just finished a long-term stay in residential care. Otherwise, you are encouraged to join peer counseling groups or 12-Step programs to maintain a network of support and minimize the chances of relapse as you return to your regular life.
Is Residential Treatment Right for Me?
While we have established that there are many reasons why someone would benefit more from residential drug treatment as opposed to a less intensive program, the “best candidate” for this specific treatment program is usually someone who:
- Has not responded well or at all to previous treatments
- Has complex diagnostic issues or a “dual diagnosis” such as addiction occurring alongside anxiety
- Lacks the ideal environment for supporting a successful treatment
- Requires an intensive, highly-structured treatment plan
- May be stable but still has a decompensation risk that requires closer monitoring than outpatient care can provide
If one or more of these apply to you, then the personal, comprehensive, round-the-clock nature of a residential treatment plan might be your most effective option for a successful recovery that can continue long after you have left the program.
What are the Next Steps?
If you still have questions, are struggling with substance abuse, or need help considering options for residential treatment programs for you or your loved ones, Delphi Behavioral Health Group is here to help. Just call 844-999-5777 or contact us online to start taking the first steps on your journey to recovery.