Navigating Choices: Types of Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Learn more about the types of treatment for substance use disorder. This comprehensive article describes key features of treatment programs.

Table of Contents

What Types of Treatment for Substance Use Disorder are Available?

The decision to go to treatment can take courage. Every day, people with substance use disorders and their families choose to move toward freedom and health.

Once a person decides they need treatment, they face more decisions. Many different types of treatment for substance use disorder are available. This is a good thing because individualized treatments are often more effective.

Still, the many different types of treatment for substance use disorder can feel overwhelming. It can be hard to navigate the various types of treatment.

Learning About Treatment

It’s essential to have a firm understanding of available substance use disorder treatment options. A better understanding helps people make good decisions about their treatment.

This article discusses the types of treatment for substance use disorder. We will share many of the common programs and treatments used by clinicians.

This article uses a balanced perspective on treatment options. We will share both the benefits and limitations of each option. Finally, we’ll discuss bespoke options for personalized, high-level care.

How Do Clinicians Determine the Best Type of Treatment?

Every person with a substance use disorder is different. Finding the best treatment requires a personalized approach. Healthcare professionals need to consider the person’s unique circumstances and goals. 


Here’s how they assess the best types of treatment for substance use disorder:

Comprehensive Assessment

Clinicians begin by conducting a thorough assessment. This process helps them to gain a deep understanding of the patient. Assessment often includes learning about the patient’s history and conducting tests.

Patient History

Healthcare professionals ask the patient about themselves. This helps them decide the best types of treatment for substance use disorder. 


They may ask about the following aspects of the person’s history:

  • Substance use history
  • Physical and mental health
  • Social support system
  • Any co-occurring conditions


Tests help healthcare professionals better understand the person and their substance use disorder. Assessments may include:

  • Interviews
  • Questionnaires
  • Medical evaluations
  • Psychological assessments

Clinicians learn about the person’s specific challenges. They also identify the underlying factors of their substance use disorder.

Collaborative Goal Setting

Through collaborative discussions, clinicians learn their patient’s treatment goals and aspirations. These discussions also help them identify areas of improvement.

The process takes into account the individual’s unique values and preferences. Achievable and meaningful goals are vital. They empower the individual to take ownership of their recovery journey. Plus, goals foster a sense of motivation and purpose.

Treatment Modality Matching

Once clinicians know more about the patient, they can recommend appropriate treatments. They determine the most suitable types of treatment for substance use disorder.

They consider patient factors, such as:

  • Substance use disorder severity
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Level of social support
  • Readiness for change

Tailored Treatment Plan

Clinicians then develop a personalized treatment plan. This approach addresses the person’s specific goals. The plan may outline specific therapies and services. It might combine several types of treatment for substance use disorder.

Regular Assessment and Adjustments

Throughout treatment, clinicians continue to check the patient’s progress. They adjust the treatment plan if needed. They track the person’s response to treatment and adjust interventions as needed.

They also provide ongoing support. Regular check-ins and evaluation of treatment outcomes are also necessary. This ensures the plan remains aligned with the patient’s evolving needs.

Common Types of Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Below is an overview of the types of treatment for substance use disorder. We also consider the range of interventions and support for each.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Inpatient rehabilitation is also known as residential treatment. This option provides a structured and immersive experience. 


Individuals stay at a treatment facility for a designated period. Typically, this could range from a few weeks to several months.1

Inpatient programs include:

  • Intensive therapy
  • Medical supervision
  • Detoxification if needed
  • A supportive community environment

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient programs allow individuals to receive treatment while living at home. They enable patients to maintain their daily responsibilities. It is one of the most flexible types of treatment for substance use disorder.

These programs offer the following features:

  • Flexibility in scheduling therapy sessions
  • Group counseling
  • Educational programs

Outpatient treatment may vary in intensity. It could range from regular weekly sessions to many sessions per week.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment combines FDA-approved medications with behavioral therapy. It is common for people with opioid or alcohol use disorder. This treatment requires support services to address patients’ complex needs.

Medications might include methadone or buprenorphine. These medications help reduce cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This is one of the most common types of treatment for substance use disorder. It focuses on identifying and modifying unhealthy behaviors.

In this therapy, people work on the following:

  • Developing coping skills
  • Enhancing motivation for change
  • Managing triggers and cravings

Cognitive-behavioral therapy often takes place in individual or group settings. It empowers individuals to make positive changes in their lives.

12-Step Programs

12-Step Programs provide a supportive recovery community of peers. Examples are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

These programs follow a structured set of guiding principles. They emphasize peer support, personal accountability, and spiritual aspects of recovery. Regular meetings allow people to connect with others who understand their experiences.

Holistic Approaches

Holistic treatment approaches address the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. They are a popular choice among the types of treatment for substance use disorder.

Holistic approaches complement traditional therapeutic modalities. They aim to promote general well-being. These approaches may include practices such as:

  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Art therapy
  • Acupuncture

Dual Diagnosis Treatment (DDT)

Dual diagnosis treatment focuses on substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. It addresses the complex interplay between substance use and mental health. Patients receive integrated care. Clinicians treat both substance use and mental health concerns.

Aftercare and Support Programs

Aftercare programs play a crucial role in ongoing recovery. They provide continued support and relapse prevention strategies. 


These programs take place after a person completes their initial treatment. Aftercare is important in all types of treatment for substance use disorder.

Examples of aftercare include:

  • Outpatient counseling
  • Sober living homes
  • Alumni programs
  • Community-based recovery groups

Benefits and Limitations of Various Types of Substance Use Disorder Treatment

When considering the types of treatment for substance use disorder, it’s important to understand them in-depth. Each option has benefits and limitations.

Here are the benefits and limitations of various types of substance use disorder treatment. Later in this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and limitations of medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Inpatient rehabilitation is a structured, intense type of treatment. It can work better for some people or some stages of recovery.


Inpatient rehabilitation offers a structured and supportive environment. Individuals receive round-the-clock care and supervision. It provides a focused and immersive treatment experience.

Inpatient treatment allows for intensive therapy. It also offers detoxification and access to a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals.


Inpatient treatment may need individuals to leave their home environment temporarily. This can impact work, school, and family commitments. It may also cost more than outpatient treatment.

Outpatient Programs

People don’t need to live in a facility for outpatient treatment. This type of treatment may work better for some people.


Outpatient programs offer flexibility. Patients live at home while attending therapy sessions during the day.

They still offer a variety of therapeutic interventions. Outpatient care can include individual counseling, group therapy, and educational programs.

This treatment allows people to maintain their daily lives. They can practice recovery skills in real-life settings.


Outpatient treatment requires stability in the patient’s home environment. It is usually less intense than inpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment does not provide round-the-clock supervision.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment (DDT)

Many people have substance use disorders and mental health conditions simultaneously. This treatment approach addresses both.


Dual diagnosis treatment ensures comprehensive care for individuals with complex needs. It promotes holistic recovery and improved mental health outcomes.


This approach requires specialized expertise and resources. It may involve longer treatment durations. It also requires coordination among different healthcare providers.

Holistic and Alternative Therapies

Holistic and alternative therapies can complement other types of treatment for substance use disorder. These practices include yoga, mindfulness, and more.


This approach promotes general well-being and stress reduction. These therapies are excellent for emotional healing and self-care practices.


Holistic therapies should be used in conjunction with evidence-based treatment. They may not be adequate as standalone interventions.2

Addressing Diverse Needs and Lifestyles: Tailoring Various Types of Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Most treatments recognize that people have diverse needs. Below, we’ll explore how different options cater to these needs.

Flexibility in Treatment Settings

People have unique commitments. Treatment programs try to accommodate diverse lifestyles. They often offer flexibility in treatment settings.

For example, outpatient programs are flexible. People can go to treatment while maintaining their daily routines. People can still attend to work and family responsibilities.

Individualized Treatment Plans

Treatment providers develop individualized treatment plans. These plans take into account the whole individual, including cultural considerations. Tailored plans enhance treatment effectiveness.

Customized Therapy Approaches

Treatment options may offer a range of therapy approaches. This ensures they cater to the diverse challenges of patients.

Here are a few of the common approaches:

  • Individual therapy: Individual therapy provides one-on-one counseling and examines underlying issues.
  • Group therapy: Group therapy fosters a sense of community among peers and is the most prevalent treatment modality.3
  • Family therapy: Family counseling involves the whole family and addresses familial dynamics.

Culturally Competent Care

All types of treatment for substance use disorder should provide culturally competent care. A culturally sensitive approach acknowledges cultural values and practices.

Clinicians consider how cultural values and practices affect people with substance use disorders. This ensures that treatment is respectful and inclusive.

LGBTQ+ Affirmative Treatment

LGBTQ+ individuals may have concerns about their sexual orientation, gender identity, or experiences. Treatment providers should address these issues with sensitivity.

They must foster a supportive environment. This may involve inclusive policies and specialized support groups in treatment programs. It should happen in all types of treatment for substance use disorder.

Access to Specialized Programs

Specialized programs address the specific needs of certain populations. For example, programs may be tailored to certain age groups or genders.

Specialized treatment programs may include:

  • Programs for Adolescents: Programs for adolescents may incorporate elements to meet their developmental needs. They may include educational components, peer support, and family involvement.
  • Gender-Specific Programs: People choose gender-specific programs for various reasons. Gender-specific programs may also encourage addressing gender-specific issues.

Trauma-Informed Care

Many people with substance use disorders have experienced trauma in their lives. Treatment providers are trained to be sensitive to trauma-related issues. They offer trauma-specific therapies and interventions.

Trauma-informed care recognizes the impact of trauma. It then creates a safe and supportive environment. This promotes healing and recovery.

Integrated Care

Substance use disorder treatment addresses other mental health conditions. Integrated care models combine substance use treatment with mental health services. This ensures a comprehensive approach.

Most types of treatment for substance use disorder use this diverse approach. This process ensures that people can access responsive care.

Accessibility and Inclusion

Treatment facilities strive to be accessible and inclusive to everyone. This includes accommodations for people with disabilities, including mobility impairments. It also includes language accessibility for non-English speakers.

Providers also need gender-inclusive policies and staff. People of all gender identities should feel respected. Accessibility is necessary for all types of treatment for substance use disorder.

What Factors Influence the Choice Between Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?

Various factors influence the decision between inpatient and outpatient types of treatment for substance use disorder. These factors can impact the effectiveness and suitability of the treatment approach. 


Here are some key points to consider:

Substance Use Disorder Severity

Inpatient treatment is often best for people with severe addiction. It is also best for those who have experienced relapses. This treatment provides a highly structured environment with round-the-clock care.

Outpatient treatment may be more suitable for people with less severe addiction. It may also work best for people with a robust support system. Patients must be able to manage their recovery while living at home.

Medical and Psychiatric Needs

Some people have complex medical conditions or co-occurring mental health disorders. They may need closer medical supervision and intensive care. Inpatient treatment can provide medical support, detoxification, and psychiatric care.

Outpatient treatment is suitable for people with stable medical conditions. These can be effectively managed in an outpatient setting.

Safety Concerns

Some individuals’ living environments do not support recovery. They may be at risk for relapse. Inpatient treatment is necessary to provide a safe and controlled environment.

Outpatient treatment requires a supportive and stable living environment. The patient should have a place to avoid triggers and access support systems.

Level of Support

Inpatient treatment offers constant support and supervision. This can benefit people who need intensive guidance during the early stages of recovery.

Patients need a good support system to attend outpatient treatment. Patients should also be able to engage in self-care outside of treatment hours.

Personal and Professional Obligations

Personal and professional roles can affect the choice of the best types of treatment for substance use disorder. Inpatient treatment, for example, requires individuals to put other obligations on hold. It involves residing at a treatment facility for a specific duration.

Outpatient treatment is more flexible. It allows individuals to continue their daily activities during treatment.

Financial Considerations

Financial factors can also impact the choice between types of treatment for substance use disorder. They may include insurance coverage and personal budget.

Inpatient treatment tends to be more expensive. Outpatient treatment may be more affordable for individuals with limited resources.

Treatment Recommendations

Healthcare professionals help decide the best types of treatment for substance use disorder. Their expertise should guide the decision-making process.

Healthcare professionals recommend inpatient or outpatient treatment. They do this based on a person’s unique situation, history, and needs. Still, the treatment decision should be made in collaboration with the patient.

Benefits and Limitations of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a part of many people’s treatment for substance use disorder. It combines medication with counseling and behavioral therapies.4

The Benefits of MAT

Medication-assisted treatment can be a very effective treatment approach. Some potential MAT benefits include:

  • Reduces Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms: Medications help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. By reducing these distressing symptoms, patients can focus on their recovery.
  • Improves Treatment Retention: Medication-assisted treatment improves treatment retention rates. With medications, patients may be more motivated to stay in treatment. This increases their chances of achieving successful outcomes.
  • Prevents Relapse: This treatment approach significantly reduces the risk of relapse. It blocks the effects of substances or reduces their pleasurable effects.
  • Enhances Safety: Medication-assisted treatment provides a safer approach to detoxification. It does this by reducing the risks linked to sudden withdrawal. Medications help stabilize the individual’s condition. It also reduces the potential for severe withdrawal symptoms. This may include seizures or respiratory distress.
  • Addresses Co-occurring Mental Health Conditions: Medication-assisted treatment can treat disorders that co-occur with mental health conditions. By managing both conditions, patients do better. This approach offers a higher likelihood of sustained recovery.

Limitations of MAT

Medication-assisted treatment is not for everyone. It’s important to consider its potential drawbacks.

Dependency on Medications

This treatment approach involves the use of medications. Some people may view this as substituting one dependency for another. This is a known stigma associated with MAT.5

Medications in MAT are safe and prescribed with care. Concerns may still arise about long-term medication use.

Access and Affordability

Access to MAT can be a limitation for some individuals. This is particularly true in regions with limited healthcare resources. Cost and insurance coverage can also be barriers to accessing medications.

Medication Side Effects

Like all medications, those used in MAT can have side effects. These side effects may depend on the medication and the individual’s response.

Common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Constipation
  • Mild discomfort

These side effects are generally manageable. The benefits of treatment often outweigh them.

Treatment Adherence

This treatment approach requires strict adherence to the prescribed medication regimen. Non-compliance or misuse of medications can compromise the treatment.

Individual Variability

Not all medications in MAT work equally well for everyone. Different individuals may respond differently to medications. Finding the best medication and dosage may need some trial and error. Individual variability in response can impact treatment outcomes.

Despite these limitations, MAT has proved significant efficacy as an evidence-based approach. It is a popular option among the types of treatment for substance use disorder.

How Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Support the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is among the most popular types of treatment for substance use disorder. Behavioral therapies are effective in treating mental health conditions. This includes substance use disorders.6

Addressing Maladaptive Thoughts and Beliefs

Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on modifying maladaptive thoughts related to substance use. It enables people to identify distorted thinking patterns. It helps develop healthier, more rational thoughts.

This therapy challenges and reframes negative beliefs. People gain a more realistic perspective on their substance use. This also leads to understanding the consequences of abuse.

Learning Coping Skills

Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches people practical coping skills to manage triggers and high-risk situations. This is important for all types of treatment for substance use disorder.

People learn the following strategies:

  • Resisting urges
  • Managing stress
  • Developing healthier ways to cope with life’s challenges

These skills empower people to navigate difficulties without turning to substances.

Developing Relapse Prevention Strategies

This therapy emphasizes relapse prevention by identifying triggers and high-risk situations. Therapists work with patients to develop personalized relapse prevention plans.

These plans may include:

  • Creating a support network
  • Establishing healthy routines
  • Setting goals
  • Utilizing coping skills to maintain sobriety

Addressing Co-occurring Mental Health Issues

Cognitive-behavioral therapy effectively treats other conditions alongside substance use disorders. It can target both substance use and underlying mental health issues.

Promoting Long-Term Behavior Change

This therapy aims to create lasting behavioral changes. It helps in developing healthy habits, thought patterns, and coping strategies. 


Through practice and reinforcement of new behaviors, patients can achieve sustainable changes. This can support long-term recovery and well-being.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is often integrated into comprehensive treatment programs. It can complement other types of treatment for substance use disorder, like MAT.

Exploring Alternative and Complementary Treatment Approaches for Substance Use Disorders

Evidence-based treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and support groups. They play vital roles in all types of treatment for substance use disorder.

Alternative and complementary approaches can also work for some people. These approaches and traditional treatment methods may enhance general recovery outcomes. Here are a few examples of alternative and complementary treatment approaches.

Mindfulness-Based Practices

Mindfulness-based practices have gained recognition in the field of addiction treatment. They include mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).

These practices cultivate present-moment awareness and non-judgmental acceptance. They help people develop greater self-awareness and emotional regulation.

Mindfulness techniques may be part of therapy sessions or practiced individually. It works best when combined with other types of treatment for substance use disorder.

Art Therapy

Art therapy offers a creative and expressive outlet for individuals in recovery. People engage in art-making processes, such as painting or drawing. It supports self-expression, emotional processing, and exploring underlying issues related to substance use.

Art therapy can be particularly good for people who struggle with verbal communication. It’s also helpful for people with difficulty accessing and articulating their emotions.

Music Therapy

Music therapy utilizes music-based interventions. This may include playing instruments, songwriting, and listening to music. 


This practice supports emotional expression and stress reduction. Music can promote self-reflection and encourage communication.

Music therapy may be integrated into individual or group sessions. This provides a creative outlet for patients in other types of treatment for substance use disorder.

Adventure Therapy

Adventure therapy involves engaging in outdoor activities. This may include hiking, rock climbing, or wilderness expeditions. Adventure therapy promotes self-discovery and resilience.

People improve their problem-solving skills and self-confidence. They also build a sense of teamwork. Adventure therapy can be particularly effective in developing coping skills.

Yoga and Mind-Body Practices

Yoga combines physical postures, breathwork, and mindfulness. It promotes holistic well-being. Yoga and mind-body practices can help individuals manage stress and improve self-regulation. They also help enhance body awareness and cultivate a sense of balance.

Note that alternative treatments work best with other types of treatment for substance use disorder. These treatments should be under the guidance of qualified professionals.

Finding Support at J. Flowers Health Institute

At J. Flowers Health Institute, we provide high-quality, personalized care for our patients. Our approach combines a supportive atmosphere with high-end bespoke hospitality. This is to ensure your experience is comfortable and supportive.

Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation

Our experienced team will conduct a thorough assessment. This is to gain a deep understanding of your unique needs. Our assessment helps us develop a plan tailored to you.

Customized Treatment Programs

We offer a range of evidence-based treatment programs. These are designed to address substance use disorders comprehensively. 


Our programs strive to meet you where you are on your journey to recovery. We are here to help with many types of treatment for substance use disorder.

Multidisciplinary Approach

Our dedicated team consists of professionals from various disciplines. They work together to provide holistic care.

Bespoke Services

We are committed to providing a high-end bespoke experience. This means that our patients receive tailored support throughout their treatment. We strive to create a comfortable and nurturing environment.

Ongoing Support

We know that recovery is a lifelong journey. We continue to offer ongoing support and resources. This is to help patients navigate the challenges of maintaining sobriety.

Contact Us Today

At J. Flowers Health Institute, we are dedicated to your well-being. We strive to deliver the best types of treatment for substance use disorder. Our approach ensures that we treat patients with the utmost care and compassion.

Contact us today to begin your journey toward a healthier and happier life. Contact us via our website or call (713) 715-1618.