Treatment for substance misuse includes a variety of options, such as medications, therapy, rehabilitation programs, and more.
The right treatment for substance misuse is unique to each person. It depends on the substance or substances you are using and how long you’ve been using them.
Alcohol, tobacco, and opioids are among the drugs most frequently misused. Misuse can be mild, or it can be severe and become an addiction.
In the United States, 46.3 million people have a substance use disorder (SUD). Treatment at specialty facilities isn’t common. For example, 40.7 million people ages 12 or older with a substance use disorder in 2021 hadn’t received treatment at a specialty facility, and 96.8 of them felt they didn’t need this type of treatment.
The success of drug misuse treatment often relies on finding the right treatments and support systems. In this article, we’ll learn more about substance misuse treatment and where to begin if you’re interested in finding help for yourself or for a loved one.
Detoxification, also called detox, is the medically managed process of removing a substance from your body. It’s most commonly used in people who have moderate to severe substance misuse.
It can also be used for several types of substance use disorders, including alcohol and opioid misuse.
During detox, you’ll stop using the substance completely, or you’ll taper use gradually. Most people will experience symptoms of withdrawal because of this.
Withdrawal can be uncomfortable. It can also be life threatening. That’s why detoxification is almost always done with medical supervision.
Once you’re stabilized, you may transition to an inpatient treatment facility.
Like detoxification, inpatient treatment is done in a controlled environment, such as a hospital-affiliated clinic. It allows healthcare professionals to closely supervise recovery and offer around-the-clock treatment. It also helps you avoid the stress and triggers of everyday life until you’re able to appropriately cope and respond.
People undergoing outpatient treatment can live at home. They may be able to work, too. But treatment is still intensive and may last several hours a day. Some people may begin with outpatient treatment. Others may “graduate” to it after more intensive treatment is completed.
Medication can be a vital part of substance misuse treatment. But it’s important to know not everyone is a candidate for it, and not every type of substance misuse has an approved medication treatment option.
Some medications for substance use treatment include:
- Opioid use disorder: Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are used to treat opioid misuse. But fewer than half of private treatment programs offer these medications.
- Tobacco use disorder: Nicotine replacement therapy offers patches you can wear on the skin. You can also use sprays, gums, and lozenges. Some people looking to quit smoking may also have success with antidepressants such as bupropion.
Therapy is almost always part of any substance misuse treatment plan. Research shows that a combination of behavioral treatment and medications can lead to higher success rates for some substance use disorders.
Therapy helps you to understand the “why” of substance misuse and addiction. It helps you recognize the behaviors and triggers that may have led you to drug misuse. Finding out why substance misuse happens — and how to stop if it happens again — can go a long way to preventing future issues.
Several types of therapy can be used for this type of treatment. They include:
- cognitive behavioral therapy
- motivational interviewing
- 12-step programs (such as Alcoholics Anonymous)
- family therapy
You’re not alone
Thousands of people just like you are working through addiction recovery every day. Healthline’s Recover Diaries series highlights their road to recovery:
- Recovery Diaries: Rachel, Age 32, 2 Years Sober
- Recovery Diaries: Nick, Age 36, 4 Years Sober
- Recovery Diaries: Matt, Age 40, 2 Years Sober
- Recovery Diaries: Catherine, Age 39, 4 Years Sober
If you ever need someone to talk with, you can call 1-800-662-HELP(4357) to reach Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA’s) hotline, or in the United States, you can call 988 to reach the Crisis Lifeline.
The cost of getting treatment for substance misuse can vary widely. Not all health insurance providers offer comprehensive coverage for mental health or substance misuse treatments.
Also, the severity of someone’s addiction, the substance in question, the length of treatment, and the treatment method used can all affect the final cost of treatment.
Costs associated with drug addiction treatments
Current statistics note that the average cost for drug rehabilitation per person is $13,475. The minimum for a detoxification program is roughly $1,750. Meanwhile, a 3-month outpatient program averages $5,000 in the United States. An inpatient program starts at $6,000 per month.
Costs associated with alcohol addiction treatments
Recent statistics show that intensive outpatient alcohol addiction treatments can range from $500 to $650 per day at private care facilities. With an average of $575 per day, this could cost $17,250 for a month-long program. By contrast, a partial hospitalization program averages $400 per day, or $12,000 for a 30-day period.
Does free substance misuse treatment exist?
Free treatment solutions do exist, as well as grants to assist in paying for private treatment centers.
- FreeRehabCenters.org, in conjunction with SAMHSA and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (from the National Institutes of Health [NIH]), offers a complementary list of free, sliding scale, payment-assisted, and low-income treatment centers.
- FindTreatment.gov is a government site operated by SAMHSA that allows you to search treatment centers by zip code and provides resources for free and reduced-cost treatment.
- There are also several free, or low cost, options for online therapy.
A great place to start when seeking addiction support is with a primary healthcare professional. They’ll be able to recommend any local options for recovery centers or support groups. You should note that any information you tell them about your substance use is bound by strict confidentiality laws.
If you’re insured, check with the directory of your insurance company to confirm which services are covered and whether the support is inpatient or outpatient. They may also be able to give you estimates on costs.
You can also visit FindTreatment.gov from SAMHSA, which lets you search for treatment centers by zip code. This service also provides access to resources for state or federal-managed treatment as well as free or reduced-cost treatment centers.
How to help a loved one find help with substance use or abuse
Seeing someone you love live with addiction can be difficult to experience. The first step is to get educated about addiction and how everyone is impacted by it. Getting mental health support for not just your loved ones, but yourself as well, can aid in encouraging recovery and preparing a person to seek help.
When that person is ready to seek treatment, help them look for specialized support for their addiction that can also provide comprehensive assistance with tackling contributing co-issues. Importantly, avoid becoming an enabler or creating unrealistic expectations, which can make a difficult situation worse.
Most importantly, approach your loved one with compassion (rather than judgment) for what they’re going through, and listen to their needs. It may be helpful to treat them as you would anyone dealing with a long-term illness. In recovery, they may need support keeping up with chores or making nutritious meals.
Addiction is a multifaceted disorder that can touch all aspects of a person’s life and also impact loved ones. Seeking treatment is critical for recovery and maintaining sobriety.
While treatment methods may differ depending on the severity of an individual’s addiction, costs, and even contributing factors, taking the step to seek help is important and shouldn’t be discounted.
There are many resources out there to support you, but FindTreatment.gov is a great place to start.