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Residential Treatment Services

Residential treatment is an integral part of the continuum of care in addiction treatment. People with high-level medical and psychological needs can get 24-7 support in this level of care, ensuring their safety around the clock.

It’s also a highly intensive part of your treatment program where you will dive into the underlying causes of your addiction, including potential mental health diseases such as depressive disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder.

In residential treatment, you may lay the groundwork for the rest of your treatment program and your recovery as a whole. Not everyone who goes through addiction treatment will need residential treatment services, but those who do will greatly benefit from the medical and psychotherapeutic support you experience at this level of care.

Learn more about residential treatment services and who they are designed to help in the overall continuum of care.

What Is Residential Treatment?

Residential treatment falls under the category of inpatient treatment, and it represents a high level of care in addiction treatment. In residential treatment, you’ll have access to 24-hour treatment services. If you have high-level medical needs, you may stay in a hospital setting with around-the-clock medical monitoring.

If you can live more independently, you might live in an on-campus apartment setting with access to 24-hour clinical care. You may go through a residential treatment program if you’ve recently completed medical detox, and you’re moving on to a lower level of care. You may also go through residential services if you didn’t need detox, but you still have significant medical needs that require access to 24-hour monitoring.

In residential treatment, your treatment plan will be tailored to your specific needs. Though you may still be receiving medical treatment, you will start addressing the underlying issues that may be contributing to your substance use disorder. Your treatment plan may include therapies for mental health, social, financial, and even legal problems. Depending on your needs, you might go through one or more of the following therapy options:

One-on-one sessions with your therapist are the bedrock of your treatment plan. Your therapist will help you to formulate your treatment plan and reassess it each week as progress. Your therapist will also help you process the therapies you go through.

Getting together with peers who are struggling with some of the same things you are can be instrumental in your recovery. Plus, group therapy helps you to build up social skills and form meaningful connections. Making connections is an important part of long-term recovery.

Family therapy is an important part of treatment for many people. Addiction is often called a family disease because of how it affects the whole family. Family problems are often at the root of addiction. Involving family members in therapy can help them to learn how to avoid enabling behaviors, and it shows you how your addiction has affected other people.

You will likely go through some form of behavioral therapy during your treatment program. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common options for addiction treatment. It helps you identify triggers, develop positive coping mechanisms, and create relapse prevention strategies.

Who Benefits from Residential Treatment?

Residential treatment is reserved for people with high-level needs, particularly physical and mental health needs. Severe substance use disorders can affect multiple aspects of your life, including your physical health. Infectious diseases, diseases as a result of poor hygiene, and experiencing violent crimes are all associated with substance use disorders. These medical issues should be a top priority in treatment.

They may be treated in medical detox, but once you complete this phase, you can move on to residential treatment and continue to receive medical care. Addiction is also closely tied to mental health disorders like depression, trauma, and anxiety disorders. In some cases, these issues can be severe, requiring 24-7 monitoring.

Residential treatment can benefit people who have needs that are directly related to dependence and addiction. Some drugs, like alcohol and other depressants, can cause post-acute withdrawal symptoms a few weeks after your initial symptoms subside.

In some cases, seizures and other serious complications can happen after detox, which need to be treated by professionals.

In the first few weeks after detox, you may continue to have powerful cravings and other psychological symptoms. Having 24-7 support not only helps keep you safe from any medical complications that may arise, but it also helps you to avoid relapse before you can live independently without using.

How Long Is Long-Term Residential Treatment?

Addiction treatment is a long-term process. It takes time to overcome chemical dependency, address underlying issues, and develop a relapse prevention plan that can help you maintain your sobriety in the long-term.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), complete addiction treatment should last a minimum of 90 days. Shorter treatment may be less effective than a full three months. After treatment, you should continue to pursue your recovery through community resources like 12-step programs.

However, 90 days of treatment doesn’t mean you will spend all of it in residential treatment. The time you spend in treatment will depend on your personal needs. You may spend anything between a few weeks to a few months in residential care. If you progress to the point where you’re ready to live on your own, you may move to an outpatient program. If you aren’t ready to progress, you may spend more time in inpatient care. 


American Psychiatric Association. (2017, January). What Is Addiction? Retrieved from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). 12-Step Facilitation Therapy (Alcohol, Stimulants, Opiates). Retrieved from

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 7: Duration of treatment. Retrieved from

Weiss, R., Ph.D. (2015, September 30). The Opposite of Addiction is Connection. Retrieved from

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