Addiction Treatment

Leigh Morgan
Leigh Morgan
Last updated:
Erin L. George, MFT
Erin L. George, MFT
Medical editor

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What Is Addiction Treatment?

Addiction treatment refers to the services provided to individuals working to overcome a dependence on certain behaviors or substances. In behavioral addictions, an individual becomes dependent on the feeling produced by a certain action. (1) Substance-related addictions involve dependence on alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs. 


Throughout the United States, addiction treatment centers offer a wide range of services to help clients through their recoveries. Not all treatment strategies work for every individual, so rehab centers may offer the following types of care:

  • Inpatient treatment
  • Residential treatment
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Medical detox

Inpatient and residential treatment centers offer many of the same services, but inpatient care involves 24/7 monitoring. (2) Residential rehab gives clients the opportunity to socialize or spend time alone. Outpatient facilities provide support for clients who don't need the structure of inpatient or residential rehab. It's also for clients who can't participate in full-time treatment due to work or family situations. Medical detox centers provide 24/7 supervision for clients in active withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. (3)

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Addiction is considered a family disease because it affects every member of the family. (4) Therefore, addiction treatment centers typically offer family therapy and other services to help clients learn to communicate effectively with others. (5) Participants also may have a chance to improve their conflict-resolution skills, work through trauma, or address family issues.

Finding an Addiction Treatment Center

Before seeking addiction treatment, an individual should see their primary doctor for screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT). This helps determine the severity of a substance use disorder and identify the best treatment approach for the patient's individual circumstances. (6) 

Visiting a primary care physician or other medical professional is also appropriate for an individual with a behavioral addiction. Healthcare providers have access to several screening tools to help determine the severity of an addiction and identify appropriate treatment options. (7)

The next step is to compile a list of facilities that meet the individual's needs. Someone with a substance or behavioral addiction may need to find a rehab center near their home or in-network with their insurance provider, for example.

Before making a final decision, an individual seeking treatment should contact each facility and ask the following questions:

  • Do you offer medical detox?
  • Does your program offer family therapy to help clients strengthen their relationships with loved ones?
  • How long has your facility been open?
  • Do you have physicians available 24/7?
  • Does your facility treat people with other mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety?
  • Are you in-network with my insurance plan?
  • How much do you charge?

Pornography Addiction Treatment

Pornography addiction is characterized by a compulsive desire to view pornographic material to the point that the individual may miss work, skip school, or fail to follow through on social obligations. (8)  Professional treatment helps people with this type of addiction better control their impulses.

Two of the most common forms of treatment include psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Psychodynamic therapy helps people explore the root causes of their suffering. (9) During each session, a trained therapist directs the client to reflect on their behavior and try to identify why they're unable to control their emotions. The therapist also helps the client examine negative relationship patterns and understand how they're contributing to an addiction or other emotional problem.

CBT is based on the idea that negative thought patterns and behaviors contribute to the development of psychological disorders. (10) The main purpose of CBT is to help people with pornography addiction and other mental health problems change the way they think. A trained therapist facilitates each session, helping the individual recognize their harmful thought patterns, improve their coping skills, and become more confident in themselves.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Available treatments for alcohol addiction include behavioral treatments, medications, and support groups. (11) Behavioral treatments aim to help people with alcohol use disorders change their behavior with regular counseling sessions. During each session, an experienced counselor helps the client set goals, improve their self-esteem, and develop better coping skills. (12) Addressing emotional problems may help the individual reduce their alcohol consumption or stop drinking altogether.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has approved three medications for the treatment of alcohol dependence: disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone. Disulfiram prevents the body from breaking down alcohol, causing nausea and other unpleasant side effects. Taking the medication may help some people avoid drinking alcohol. Acamprosate is intended for people who have been drinking alcohol for a long time. (13) It helps the brain work normally after long-term exposure to the effects of alcohol. Naltrexone blocks the pleasant effects of drinking alcohol, making it less likely that someone taking the medication will continue to drink. (14)

Taking medication in combination with other supports may be helpful. Support groups meet regularly, giving people with alcohol addictions the opportunity to share their stories and learn from others. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one of the most well-known examples of a support group for individuals with alcohol use disorders, but secular programs, such as SMART Recovery, are also available.

Drug Addiction Treatment

People who are addicted to prescription medications or illicit substances have many of the same treatment options as people with alcohol use disorders. For example, CBT is a staple of treatment for all types of substance-related addictions, as it helps people change their behavior and adjust the way they think. Changing harmful thought patterns can help someone with a drug addiction improve their coping skills, reducing reliance on their substance of choice.

CBT, psychodynamic therapy, and medications are also helpful for treating co-occurring disorders. An individual has a co-occurring disorder if they have an addiction paired with at least one other mental health condition. (15) For example, someone with a dependence on cocaine may also have major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.

How to Cope With Addiction Treatment

Recovering from an addiction isn't easy, but it's possible with the help of experienced treatment professionals and supportive family members. Anyone starting treatment for the first time will likely benefit from dedicating themselves to learning from others and applying what those in addiction recovery have learned. It's also important to include loved ones in the treatment process as much as possible. Participating in family therapy can help individuals in treatment maintain positive relationships, reducing the risk of relapse later on. (16) An individual with concerns about their recovery should speak with a healthcare provider or a staff member at the addiction treatment center.

How to Help Someone in Addiction Treatment

Since addiction is a systemic family disease, it's important for family members to be involved in the addiction treatment process. If the rehab center offers family therapy, loved ones should attend as many sessions as possible. During these sessions, it's important to listen carefully and respond calmly, even if the person with the addiction is angry. Loved ones can also provide support by offering transportation to treatment activities or helping with child care and household chores while the individual with the addiction gets care.

It can also be helpful for family members to seek individual therapy during their loved one's recovery journey. Support groups for family members for someone struggling with addiction can make the process easier, too.

Welcome to the Addiction Treatment topic center

This topic center will contain information on:

  1. About Treatment.
  2. Detox.
  3. Medication/Pharmacotherapy.
  4. 12-Step & Spiritual Groups.
  5. Secular/Self-Empowerment Groups.
  6. Motivational Interviewing.
  7. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies.
  8. Mindfulness-Based Therapies.
  9. Community, Family, and Sociocultural Approaches.
  10. Alternative Therapies.
  11. Other Therapies.

If you have come to this topic area, you might be considering addiction treatment. There are numerous options available. It is our hope that these articles will provide you with insight into the different types of treatments used for addiction.

For quick reference, you might consider the following options:

If you need immediate medical attention, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 911 immediately or a suicide hotline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255.

In this topic center, you will find information on all different types of treatment approaches. All approaches have unique elements and are better suited for some individuals based on needs or preferences. For example, medication/pharmacological approaches focus on treating chemical abnormalities in the brain, while 12-Step groups help individuals turn themselves over to a “higher power.”

There are inpatient facilities and outpatient facilities, and different types of therapy within these facilities: individual, group, and/or family approaches. Moreover, there are several different styles and theoretical orientations that are offered in the treatment of addiction. For example, cognitive-behavioral approaches focus on treating dysfunctional thoughts, beliefs, and conditioned behaviors; motivational interviewing is a nonconfrontational way of developing strong internal motivation to change; mindfulness-based therapies focus on becoming more aware of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a nonjudgmental, accepting way; and family/community approaches highlight the importance of relationships in recovery.

Use the side bar to navigate through these articles.

As always, consult a medical professional if you have serious concerns about the addictive behavior of yourself or someone you know.

If you’d like to know whether your insurance may cover the full or partial cost of substance abuse rehabilitation programs at one of American Addiction Centers’ various rehab centers across the states, simply fill in your information in the form below.

Additional Resources

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