There are a variety of evidence-based approaches for treating a substance use disorder, including behavioral therapies and medications.

The specific treatment plan should be determined by a doctor and will vary depending on the patient’s individual needs, the types of substances they use, any co-occurring health conditions, and the severity of their illness.

Types of treatment include:

    • Hospital/Residential Programs

    • Partial Hospitalization Programs

    • Intensive Outpatient Programs

    • Outpatient Programs

    • Detoxification (this should always be followed by ongoing treatment)

    • Opioid Treatment Programs

    • Office-Based Opioid Treatment

    • Individual Counseling

Because they work on different aspects of SUDs, the combination of behavioral therapies (and counseling) and medications generally appear to be more effective than either approach used alone.

Substance use disorders can range from mild to severe and, like other illnesses, they can worsen over time. As the disease progresses, overall health tends to worsen and risk of death increases, which is why the earlier a person is treated, the better.  Doctors determine the severity level of an SUD to help develop the best treatment plan. The higher the level of severity, the more intensive treatment is needed. Patients with severe substance use disorders are likely to need ongoing treatment using a chronic care model for several years.

As the patient progresses through treatment, they transition to lower levels of care. Progress should be continually monitored so that the level of treatment can be adapted as needed. Research has shown that the longer a patient receives treatment, the better their chance of sustaining recovery. Ongoing monitoring and wrap-around recovery services ensure that a patient can be re-engaged with treatment should symptoms return.