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Addiction treatment is not a one-size-fits-all plan. There are many factors to consider: location, type of program, financing and insurance, personal beliefs, religious affiliations, etc. Figuring out the right treatment program format is a critical part of finding the right facility for you or your loved one.

What are the Principles of Addiction Treatment?

Doctor's stethoscope and patient's medical informationAlthough different program styles take different approaches, the end goal is the same for all – lasting sobriety and a healthy, happy life. A man suffering from addiction needs to leave treatment with a full understanding of how addiction works, how it affects his life and why abstinence and staying sober is necessary.

What differentiates these programs is the steps to get to that point of understanding.The medical community has established principles that all effective treatment options follow,(1)

  • Addiction is a chronic disease, but a treatable one
  • Effective treatment focuses on the whole man by dealing with more than just his drug or alcohol abuse
  • Staying in treatment for an adequate time is essential
  • Counseling is a part of the treatment plan
  • Medication may be necessary for some patients
  • A treatment plan must be continually assessed and modified
  • Medically assisted detox is the first treatment step
  • Involuntary treatment can still be effective
  • Lapses do occur during treatment, so drug testing is necessary
  • Infectious disease is part of the drug lifestyle and should be a consideration during treatment

The Difference between an Outpatient or Residential Treatment Centers

One of the first decisions to be made is whether your loved one requires residential treatment or outpatient treatment.

Residential treatment means that your loved one will live in an addiction treatment center for a period of time with 24-hour monitoring and assessment, usually for at least 30 days. For some men, this is essential. Nevertheless, residential treatment is not practical for everyone, typically because of financial concerns or family obligations.

Your doctor or addiction treatment center will help you determine which level of treatment your loved one needs. They'll ask the following questions:

  • Does your insurance provider cover residential treatment? Outpatient care is less expensive and may be all your provider covers.
  • Does your loved one have the resources to attend outpatient sessions?For example, is there transportation available?
  • What type of support system is available? Support is important for both, but more so for the addict in an outpatient program that needs monitoring.
  • What is the severity of the addiction? A heroin abuser will need medical care, so residential treatment would be the best option. Someone with a less severe addiction may be able to effectively recover in an outpatient setting.

Individualized Counseling

Two men in living room talkingIt's important to find an individualized treatment program that focuses on the life and needs of your loved one specifically. In an individualized counseling scenario, a counselor will look at family relationships, employment status and coping skills. Individualized counseling is often done in conjunction with a group program like the 12-step program and may include a referral to deal with comorbid conditions.

Group Counseling

The treatment programs at Recovery Boot Camp are heavily focused on building community and friendships between clients. Much of this is accomplished through group counseling, which capitalizes on peer support. Men with similar addictions and problems meet to discuss the challenges they face and discuss solutions. Group counseling is a good way to provide support to them as they work to recover and stay sober.

Most addiction treatment plans (including Recovery Boot Camp) use a combination of both individual and group counseling.

12-Step vs. Non 12-Step

The other big choice to make is 12-step program vs. non 12-step program. A non 12-step program focuses more on the individual and providing customized treatment. 12-step relies heavily on a structured format that includes the belief in a higher power. At Recovery Boot Camp, we use Recovery Dynamics, a curriculum that is centered around the principles of the 12-step program.

Finding the right addiction treatment plan is not something you have to do alone. Call Recovery Boot Camp today to learn more about what treatment program is the best option for your loved one, and seek recommendations from his doctor as well if possible.


  1. "DrugFacts: Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction," National Institute on Drug Abuse, September 2009,

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